It’s no good, I am tired of waiting for the pet focused Instagram challenges in the 52 Assignments book! Right now I am skipping ahead to pet lighting for Instagram, or #Pet 1 Lighting (Assignment 43) as it’s called in the book. This I know readers and IG users will be interested in.
Why Pet Lighting for Instagram?
Well for pets at least, there are two separate animal focused Instagram challenges (2 is composition which I will cover next time). The first caught my eye as I have recently been pushing the boundaries of my own skills with my iPhone 12 as it’s about light and lighting.
Top Lighting Tips
- Work with plenty of light for cat photos. Either outside, in a catio or by a window. Make sure the light is not bright and direct sunshine.
- Capture the catchlight that brings your cat to life. Without it Adam Juniper says eyes can be ‘glassy and lifeless’ without it, and I agree. Sometimes you will not get a catchlight but the photo has what you need, like the image of Tibby the kitten above curiously looking outside.
- Make sure your background compliments your cat, that it’s tidy or that you can crop out or blur distracting elements. You can do a lot with modern smartphones using ‘portrait’ mode, or one of the many photo editing apps like Photoshop Camera for the soft focus bokeh effect.
- Use burst to grab a selection of shots so you can pick the best one.
I created a Bokeh post to help you try it yourself.
The author of 52 Assignments – Instagram, Adam Juniper encourages you in #Pet: 1 Lighting to ensure that your cat (or other animal) is engaged and interested to help you capture a really good moment.
A cat looking off into the distance will give you a few shots but capturing that important ‘catchlight‘ brings their look to life. Check out the good light in this gorgeous, if grumpy, cat.
As a bonus on some ‘phones, you can shoot in RAW format which gives you more opportunity to adjust your smartphone photos later.
Modern Smartphones and Light
As an addition to the books advice, I want to add a few reflections on how recent smartphone camera technology has raced ahead of the book with pet lighting for Instagram.
Recent smartphones for both iPhone and Android, are much more capable of using low light than before. As you can see in this sample image of Toulouse from a recent post, the only light is a single lamp lower down in the image.
With my old iphone 6S I would have struggled and probably failed to capture an image like this but, with the newer iPhone 12, I tried and succeeded in an atmospheric shot that looks good.
Hashtag Tips for Pets
The book gives you plenty of helpful hashtags. If you aim for a general audience use: #pet #love #intheeyes
Or you can be more specific and focus on a specific hashtag to reach different cat people: #Siamese #RescueCat #catphotography #tuxedocats #wickedcatwednesday
Filter Recommendations for #Pets: 1
Finally, the filter recommendation is simple as you aim is to clarify your image not add any elborate effects for a simple portrait. Clarendon is the recommend go to filter to try, but, try anything that increases contrast, sharpness and saturation in your photograph.