Do you struggle sometimes and find your pictures are not working? Do you think ‘it’s all my fault I am not getting better’? Frustrated steam comes out of your ears and the cats run away? Don’t worry, things do get better. You don’t need to rely on anyone else to take great pictures of your cats!
This week’s post is meant to encourage your journey learning cat photography, no matter how far along you are. Especially if things have been going wrong for any reason.
Don’t stress. I think every one of us has been there (even if some wouldn’t admit it). Learning to use your camera is learning skills and balancing a lot of things at the same time. No wonder you can feel stressed.
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Don’t Give Up Your Photo Journey
You are on the inside looking out so you measure yourself against people who you feel take much better photos when you need to look at the good photos you took and look back to when you started and how your skills are building over time.
Let me show you a photograph from August 2019.
This is me. I am making my first attempts at action cat photography. I don’t have a clue but I am keen and ready to throw myself into the creative excitement of taking new (to me) pictures. I don’t even remember the ISO and shutter speeds and can’t find them. (I need to be more organised!)
Skill Building Step by Step
Epic right? Marvellous athletic cats captured as speeding blurs. I bet you can relate to the feeling of frustration and disappointment?
Faced with my artistic blurs I know my ambition got the better of me. I am still learning cat photography, so the solution? Online courses and reading up on fast-moving cats, how to shoot action dogs, and magazines.
Did you know this…..?
There are a lot of dogs in almost every web site post about photographing pets. Most photographers seem to think that is all pet lovers want to photograph only dogs – weird right? Does no-one photograph their bearded dragon, kitten or rat? True!
I have taken one good basic online DSLR course, then a locally based tutored course to learn about manual mode. These have been really helpful at building confidence.
The Next Step With Your Cat Photos
Alongside skill building you are getting to know your actual equipment better. You will find yourself more comfortable with rotating dials, selecting menus and then, wondering about another lens.
You will probably start with a kit lens that came with your DSLR camera. These are great for starting out because your camera manufacturer is not going to sell you rubbish and the kit lens is a great basic tool. I still love mine.
As you take photos and your skills grow, you will discover that you have a preference for different types of photos which need different lenses. Does taking kitty close-ups resonate with you? Or are action shots more exciting? You will find there is a lens that fits your personal preferences, and if you can take great pictures with your lens you will be happy and take even better pictures.
If you want clear sharp portraits of cats then, for the budget-conscious photographer, a 50 mm Prime lens is a great lens to try. For a longer reach with your lens, you might want to check out zoom and telephoto lenses like my 55-250 mm. When you are looking, go with your preferences, ask around, read lens reviews, get opinions to help you form a clearer picture of what you want to take your kind of photographs.
I have two lenses that will keep me going for some time and that sit within my budget. These are the two lenses I have blogged about on my learning cat photography journey:
Practice Makes (Nearly) Perfect
You will find that your skills take time to build but it is happening, bit by bit, shot by shot as you practice.
Since August 2019 I have been taking small steps towards sharper action shots. I am keeping a note of ISO and shutter speed so that when a photograph works I am remembering the settings for next time. The later pictures of Toulouse and Silver were taken with my Canon 55-250 mm lens are a big improvement on my first efforts.
Persistence and practice will hep you achieve your cat (or dog) photo goals. One successful photo is all it takes for you to know you have moved on. Then another and another.
So have you taken your next step yet?
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