Beginner Cat Photo Skills

Shutter Speed Transformation Cat Portrait

Do you sometimes download your photographs and find a surprise or two? Photographs taken on the same day look completely different. What happened? Before you beat yourself up for getting something ‘wrong’, check your photo’s settings.

Settings Make a Big Difference

Like everyone who loves to capture great photos of their pet, I want to explore my limits, and increase my skills. I spend a lot of time adjusting settings like Sport mode, close-ups, and semi automatic settings like Av (A) and Tv (shutter priority) so see the difference these make.

I can show you how one setting change transformed a black cat at my local cat cafe. I know you will love seeing a black cat selfie joining the Kitties Blue so check this guy out.

A Shutter Speed Transformation

This is Saxon, a handsome black cat from Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Cafe in Petone, New Zealand. He is sleek and shiny, and when he appears turns heads in the cafe.

Photographing a black cat  can be a challenge but provide interesting pictures.

Camera settings: ISO 3200 50mm lens F2.8 Shutter speed 1/25

Saxon looks almost brown in this first photograph, so I set out to discover why it is so different from the photograph below.

In this second picture Saxon looks more like a real black cat. His fur is dark, his eyes are bright and I only lightened the exposure slightly.

Shutter speed transformation. Photographing a black cat can be a challenge but provide interesting pictures.

Camera Settings: ISO 3200 50mm lens F1.8 Shutter speed 1/250

What is the Difference?

If you look at the shutter speed for both photographs, you will see this:

  • ISO 3200 50mm lens F2.8 Shutter speed 1/25 (slow shutter speed)
  • ISO 3200 50mm lens F1.8 Shutter speed 1/250 (faster shutter speed)

The shutter speed on the photograph that shows Saxon’s fur as dark and sharp is fast – 1/250th of a second. A real shutter speed transformation. The speed is a lot faster than in the first picture. This is only 1/25th of a second. There is only the smallest F-stop adjustment.

If you struggle at understanding shutter speed this short definition from Expert Photography explains it really well without going into too much technical detail:

Shutter speed is how fast or slow the film or sensor captures light. A longer (slower) shutter speed allows the lens to record more light over a longer period of time. A shorter (faster) shutter speed records available light in a split second. The shutter speed shows as fractions of a second.

Never Give Up On a Picture

Oh, and no, I didn’t give up on the first photograph, I am still exploring its potential. Here is Saxon in a cool adjusted black and white!

Even with a quick change in Affinity Photo and no other adjustments he is so cute!

Have you been surprised by a photo you took? Let me know in the comments!

15 thoughts on “Shutter Speed Transformation Cat Portrait”

  1. Beautiful portraits ! We prefer a fast shutter speed for action shots too, as long as there is enough light. Purrs

    Reply
  2. I shall have to see if I can adjust the shutter speed on my own (semi auto) Canon point&shoot camera. Hubby knows all about that kind of thing, and he has access to the DSLR from his office…but I am not allowed to use it, not being an employee where he works, MOL!

    Loved seeing how you changed things with that adjustment! I often get bad images due to the lighting…or rather the lack of natural light.

    Pipo might be black, while actually he is more very dark brown in his face…

    Saxon is very handsome!

    Reply
  3. I shall have to see if I can adjust the shutter speed on my own (semi auto) Canon point & shoot camera. Hubby knows all about that kind of thing, and he has access to the DSLR from his office…but I am not allowed to use it, not being an employee where he works, MOL!

    Loved seeing how you changed things with that adjustment! I often get bad images due to the lighting…or rather the lack of natural light.

    Saxon is very handsome!

    Reply
  4. Those were all terrific and thanks for the tutorial, it makes lots of sense. That kitty is on handsome dude.

    Reply
  5. Great selfie, and great examples of what adjusting camera settings can do for a photo. Nowadays, there’s so much post-processing that goes on in the photography world, it’s hard to determine how good the original photo was.

    Reply
    • You are right Raven. So much happens afterwards – but there are plenty of things you can’t put right afterwards isn’t that right? So getting it right ‘in the camera’ is a big help.

      Reply
  6. I know what I am doing when it comes to photography but I tend to get lazy and let the camera do the work. I often regret that later because fixing an image is never a good as getting it right in the first place.

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  7. Thanks so much for that info. We have been taking many of our photos fast to capture action but many of them are actually non action shots. We will try changing things up. Purrs

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  8. Saxon is so handsome! Thank you for using his photos to illustrate how much difference shutter speed makes, Marjorie.

    Reply
  9. Mom’s not much into B&W but she DOES need to get better with shutter speed settings! Her son who is a total expert at photography used to try to get mom to learn the things she needed to know besides aperture settings, but she didn’t try. Now, I can guarantee she will. Thank you.

    Reply
  10. The faster shutter speed really does bring out the true colour of that handsome boy. I like the black and white too.

    Reply
  11. I think they’re all outstanding! Majorie. What a beautiful face💗😸Pawkisses for a sunshiny day🐾😽💞
    P.s. thanks for the tip. Granny still doesn’t understand her new camera, so these tips sure makes one and another much clearer. Extra Pawkiss for that🐾😽💞

    Reply
  12. Perfect B&W selfie. Great as the two colour images are, the real magic for me comes in the B&W.
    Lots of purrs for the shutter speed magic
    ERin

    Reply

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