If you are a cat or kitten foster parent for a rescue organisation of any size you can play an important role, not only in saving precious lives but also in capturing the personalities of your foster cats and kittens for future adopters. All you need is your smartphone and a bit of time to spend with your fosters. Sounds like a good idea? Let’s get started.
A Foster Take Better Photos Than Experts?
Yes, it’s true. You, as a foster, are the person the kittens or cats will be most familiar with. They relax around you and let you share and capture their most candid and joyful moments. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to boost their adoption chances. Although I have only fostered kittens and do not have photographs of foster cats, the advice still applies; genuine loving captures are a foster’s privilege.
The photos you take may be shown on a website or showcased on social media and thanks to you they will steal hearts. These are the moments a prospective cat parent wants to see. Silly expressions, a small paw waving at the camera, kittens tumbling over each other towards you. These are not always going to be perfect but, this does not matter.
Remember. The more photographs of your fosters you take, the better you will get. So, take lots and lots. You can always delete the furry blurs.
Let me show you the kind of photographs I was able to grab of our two fosters Tibby and Jet. I tried both DSLR and Smartphone for photographs and as the foster room has been kept slightly shady due to the summer heat I didn’t manage a single good shot with my DSLR. But, when I grabbed my smartphone I got delightful candid photos that worked because I concentrated on getting the lively kitten in the frame and loving how their characters shone through in each picture.
Check out these pictures of Jet during his first weeks with our family.
Closeups Really Work!
Before you think, “I can’t take photos like these“, let me share a couple of fantastic shots by one of the fosters at Rachel’s Rescues NZ (FB link). This lady is not a professional but managed some super sweet closeup shots with her smartphone. Closeups have an extra bonus, you don’t have to worry about the foster room being too tidy.
These are fantastic and really capture the cheeky joy of kitten-hood. They are great shots showing heaps of kitten purrsonality without any worries about things being sharp, pretty or blurry. This is what you are aiming for, kitten fun and the joy that will capture a kitten sponsor’s, or potential adopter’s heart.
Best Foster Photo Tips
- Firstly, relax! This is not about perfect magazine shots for magazines like Catster, this is about your fabulous kitten or cat foster.
- Try to take photos in natural light if you can. (By a window, or in a catio if you can’t use a garden).
- Remember your smartphone, or lightweight compact camera, has ‘burst‘ mode for a handful of rapid shots. Lightly pressing your finger on the screen often works but check your own camera’s instructions.
- You can change the exposure on many smartphones. Check your model for this option.
- NOTE: Later iPhones now do burst mode differently – check your model.
- Check to see if your smartphone has a ‘portrait’ mode. This gives the soft fuzzy effect around your cat’s face.
- You will take lots of ‘so-so’ photos on the way to the magic photo that shows your foster kitten’s personality. Any photographer who says they don’t take lots of photos to get the magical shot isn’t telling the whole truth.
- Be selective about the photos you keep and delete those you are not happy with to conserve storage space on your smartphone. If you are in any doubt about a photo or the impact of an image you have captured, ask another person. Your doubtful ‘meh‘ cat photo may make them squeee with delight and joy.
Tibby the tabby kitten settling in to her foster home.
The Final Foster Photo Touches
Take lots of photos and you will end up with some kitten pictures that you know capture their personalities perfectly. These ones you can adjust, if necessary, on your smartphone or in your computer photo editing program.
If you are not sure about using photo apps on your smartphone let me suggest a couple of free recommendations.
Free app Snapseed works well and is very versatile. If you want something that waves a small but magical wand over your photo try the Photoshop Camera App. This incorporates a gentle touch of AI into its app which adjusts your photos for focus, sharpness and colour. AI stands for Artificial Intelligence and in this app it is very effective and subtle. It’s so good you might not need to do anything else to the photo.
If you have photo editing software on your computer like Affinity Photo, GIMP or Photoshop Elements, or a free online editor like BeFunky or Lunapic, you can use that the crop out untidy corners, brighten or sharpen shots and maybe enhance a kitten’s face with your dodge and burn tools.
The Foster’s Magic Touch
If I had been visiting a fellow foster to take photos, I am not sure I would have been able to take thesuccessful photos of Jet (black) and Tibby (tabby). Both show the kittens in restful moments, or at least moments of quiet in their usually hectic kitten days.
So, if you are a foster, grab your smartphone and get snapping. Your candid cat photos could get your fosters adopted even faster.
If you lack confidence and need some advice or support for your foster photography: Email Me
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This post is an award winner at the Annual CWA – Cat Writers’ Communications Contest for the year 2022
Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can create impressive cat photographs and fun movies with the camera they carry.
She is a Professional Member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.