Beginner Cat Photo Skills

Five Top Cat Photography Tips To Dazzle Your Friends

Capturing the perfect shot of your cat can be so rewarding, but have you ever thought about taking your cat photography to the next level? By sharpening just a few camera skills, you can capture even more stunning images. Why not give my suggestions a try and see how your cat photography will improve and dazzle your friends?

These cat photography practices will become natural over time. Try them out one by one and have some fun.

Closeup Cat Pictures Stun Your Friends

People stay too far away from their cats when they take photos, get close and get low. Eye level with your pet is immediate and intimate.

Unless you have a confident cat who is comfortable with you and your camera, try a kit lens to zoom or a lens like the Canon 55mm-250mm. You can get in close without intimidating your cat, just keep your lens steady or use a small tripod. Another idea is taking lots of photos until your cat gets used to the shutter noise. This worked for me and now my cats ignore the shutter or, one or two will strike a pose (yes, seriously).

  • TOP TIP Neutral and uncluttered backgrounds help spotlight your cat.
Five Top Cat Photography Tips For Your DSLR
Beth at the Cat Cafe
Sam The Ginger Cat Looks to the Light
Sam the Ginger. A former foster.

Natural Light Loves Your Cat

Indoor and outdoor cats really come alive in what photographers call ‘natural’ light.

The perfect light for taking a cat photo is a bright but cloudy day. These happen a lot more than you think and soften shadows that are harsh and unforgiving in bright mid day sunshine. For great shots choose a location near a window, in a sun room/catio, or out in the garden. These will let your cat fur shine and makes them look so much better.

Autumn Cat Posing for Blog
Toulouse the Tabby out in the autumn fresh air

Continuous Shooting Mode Captures Your Cat

Continuous Shooting Mode [Continuous-servo AF (AF-C) for a Nikon] tracks and focuses on your cat much better than you or I ever could with a rapid burst of shots. To start, press the shutter halfway down to engage the autofocus then, as you follow your cat the camera starts measuring where your cat is and keeps it in focus. A good alternative is ‘sport’ mode the runner icon on your camera dial.

You can concentrate on keeping your cat in the frame which will be enough of a challenge. So, let your camera help you take pictures of a cat!

Excietement and action in this cat photograph taken with a Canon 1300D DSLR
Connor (retired) from Neko Ngeru Cat Cafe, New Zealand

4. Auto Focus Points Get Pin Sharp Photos

On a DSLR (or mirrorless) camera you might aleady have set up what are called focus points. This is a series of dots or marks that allow you to focus on a specific point with your camera.

Your manual will tell you how to change these if you want to but for new camera users and the one I use most, is the central focus point. This allows you to point the central mark at a cat’s eye (or the eye closest to you) and get it in focus. Get the eye sharp and people forgive you a lot.

Focus Dots as seen in a camera viewfinder
Focus Dots seen through a camera lens

5. Learn About Your Shutter Speeds

Finally, a longer cat photography tip but one that will repay extra study when you have time available.

Learning about shutter speeds is a great way to boost your personal photo confidence, and it certainly helped me when I began to take my first cat photos. You can explore what happens when you change the amount of time your camera’s shutter remains open by playing with camera modes like Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority.

Be prepared to make lots of mistakes and discover lots of fun things. Give yourself permission to play and maybe you will surprise yourself with amazing shots. Check the ‘Settings’ of a successful photo and note them down.

Fun ways to remember shutter speeds!

These are the modes most cameras work in:

  • Automatic Mode, P or A – where the shutter speed is caculated for you. This is great for a beginner because you take clear photographs from the start.
  • Aperture Priority Av/A– changes your shutter speed but lets you adjust aperture. I take a lot of my cat photos this way it’s a great first step.
  • Shutter Priority Tv/S – you choose the shutter speed and the camera selects your aperture. I am slowly getting to grips with this – it’s my bugbear and I don’t know why!
  • Manual – you select shutter speed and aperture yourself. Don’t start with this unless you have an experienced photographer buddy who you can refer to for advice. Manual may be the ‘way to go’ for some photographers but none of them have just picked up a new DSLR or mirrorless camera.

TECH TERM: Shutter speed is written in seconds or a fraction of a second. For example, a 1 second shutter speed is typically displayed as a single number with a quote sign or a letter “s” at the end of it, such as 1? or 1s. Whereas a fraction of a second such as 1/250 is typically displayed as 1/250 or simply 250 on most cameras.

Recommended post at Photography Life.

Be Brave. Try Anything.
Keep Your Camera Lens Clean!

Photography Resources for Beginners

Cat Writers Assocation Award Badge

This post is an award winner at the Annual CWA – Cat Writers’ Communications Contest for the year 2022

15 thoughts on “Five Top Cat Photography Tips To Dazzle Your Friends”

  1. totally awesome photos….my iphone has an autofocus on it, but by the time I remember it; or where it’s at TO use……subject “A” { mackerull } has moved on
    to better things !! 😉

  2. Oh, my, sweetness…what wonderful photos of such beautiful kitties! I love the close-ups! A personal fave. You can really see their expression. Just beautiful. I personally loved doing close-up portraits (and action) pics of my FiveSibes! Especially the ones like these where you can see the dimension and emotion in their eyes. <3 Pinning to share with others! Always great pet photo info!

  3. I certainly love close-ups–avoid all the clutter and focus on the beauty. Takes some skill, though. Great job on your examples.

  4. Your photographs and lessons always amaze me, I wish I was as good as you but photographing Layla is difficult sometimes LOL

  5. I absolutely LOVE your photos! You always inspire me. And you’re photos remind me of my kitties I’ve had, lost, and loved so dearly. One of these days, I may finally grasp the concept of taking a decent photo. Perhaps it’s the equipment and not all the operator’s fault? I need to find some time to play around a bit. You know, I really do enjoy your photos. You make me think I can do it too. 😊💖

  6. Ha ha! I love that final quote! So true! Thanks for sharing these quick and easy tips for better photos. I love the closeups. I just want to kiss their little noses!! These are very nice shots.

  7. Well I don’t have a DSLR….or a cat lol. But your pictures are lovely, and you inspired me to try getting some cute close up pictures of my pups today 🙂

  8. Not sure if I am ready for a DSLR as yet, I still don’t even use my Canon SX40 P&S camera to its fullest abilities, LOL!

    Maybe one day hubby might let me use his, but it is not a digital. He has a digital for his work…but of course that won’t help me one bit, LOL!

    Great tips though. Thanks!

  9. Those are amazing photos Marjorie! Thanks for the kind words on the passing of our sweet Dolly, we were lucky to have such a happy soul as a part of our family, we sure miss her joyful spirit. I’m doing okay too, just sore and tired. Thanks for joining our Thankful Thursday Blog Hop!

  10. Awesome tips, Marjorie. You always do such a wonderful job of making things understandable, so thank you!

    Hope you had a great birthday!



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