Black pets are a struggle for many to photograph. A black cat can become a black blob or lack definition if you aren’t careful. But, get a splash of sunshine and a black cat together and magic can happen.
Let me show you how so acheve the same kind of results with some quick tips and a #ThrowbackThursday image from 2020, and a reminder that our local Neko Ngeru cat cafe is opening in Lower Hutt soon!
Meet Black Cat Saxon
Saxon and his buddy Oscar were adopted in 2020, and the current crop of hopefuls are auditioning for a place at the cat cafe right now (2023). As you can see Saxon enjoyed all the cat and human company and loved the attention from visitors to the cafe (and being a cat photographer’s model!)
A Black Cat Photograph That Went ‘Right’
Part of this photograph is good fortune, Saxon posed perfectly and I was ready with my camera so seize your chance and take a photo. But, I admit that when I was learning, several years ago, this image was the accumulation of weeks and weeks and WEEKS of practising.
Why did this photograph work? Let me explain:
- The cat was sat still (yes, that makes a difference).
- Saxon posed himself, and I didn’t realise how good the picture came out until it appeared on my computer. The lesson here? Don’t delete anything until you have reviewed your images on a larger screen.
- The focus is on the eye. Pet photographers say this is vitally important.
- There is plenty of natural light. In fact, its sunshine and I was a hairsbreadth away from being overexposed.
- So, I was lucky.
- The picture is sharp. This can be down to shutter speed e.g. mine was 1/125. You may even go faster using 1/250 or 1/320. Or, it can be down to exposure. Here the photo is F.56 the lowest I could go at the time.
Black Cats in Black and White
As I am exploring black and white photography, I decided to use Affinity Photo to transform Saxon’s cat photo into a black and white portrait.
I explore taking black and white photographs in an earlier post for plenty of tips.
In Affinity Photo I am able to adjust the amount of shade and tone in my photograph, check your own software (Photoshop Elements, GIMP), you will find them under ‘Adjustment Layers’. The temperature of the black and white image affects the shade and tone so as you adjust an image of your own, be careful not to overexpose highlights or make shadows into unsightly smudges.
Oh, and who is Saxon’s friend Oscar you say? Here he is: