Beginner Cat Photo Skills

Take Great Adoption Photos as a Foster

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 potential adopters.

All you need is your smartphone and a bit of time to spend with your fosters. Adoption photography sound like a good idea? You can do it so, 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, so 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.

Photograph Your Foster Kittens
Terrible? Slightly blurry? Yes, but what fun!

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.

Confident foster kitten Jet.
Photograph Your Foster Kittens

Kitten Closeups 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.

Smartphone kitten closeup
Smartphone kitten photo

Best Foster Kitten Photo Tips

  1. Firstly, relax! This is not about perfect magazine shots for magazines like Catster, this is about your fabulous kitten or cat foster.
  2. Try to take photos in natural light if you can. (By a window, or in a catio if you can’t use a garden).
  3. 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.
  4. You can change the exposure on many smartphones. Check your model for this option.
  5. NOTE: Later iPhones now do burst mode differently – check your model.
  6. Check to see if your smartphone has a ‘portrait’ mode. This gives the soft fuzzy effect around your cat’s face.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Tabby kitten looking at a Christms tree
Tabby kitten looking out of a window

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

25 thoughts on “Take Great Adoption Photos as a Foster”

  1. You always have wonderful tips and advice when it comes to pet photography. The photos you included are fantastic.

  2. Great tips and I always feel that candid photos are the best as they show the true personality of the pet which is so important. Love the photos as always

  3. These are great tips for foster parents and any pet parent. My dog, Henry’s foster photos did not do him justice. I scrolled right past him. I couldn’t look past him in person though.

    The kitty photos are absolutely adorable. I especially get inspiration from Jet’s photos. Henry has dark fur and I always struggle to capture him properly without washing him out. I think I need you in my hip pocket to do an ok photo. But you have inspired me to keep trying.

  4. Funny you should mention that about being selective and deleting the photos that are not good ones…I just shared on Facebook how I now have 53, 385 photos on my iCloud stream…and that’s just my digital ones! Ah, such is the life of a photojournalist! But, I really need to organize and clear out the dupes and ! I have found myself taking so many more iPhone photos…of my dogs when they were here and now of my grandkiddos…the phone is so handy. But I do try to grab my SLR as the quality is truly superior. Either way, photos are my life! Always love your posts! Whether someone is a novice or seasoned pro, there is always something to learn from your posts! Pinning to share.

  5. I love your mention about being selective about which photos to keep! I’m so terrible about taking millions of pictures and never sorting through them afterwards to pick out those really “good” ones that showcase their personality! Beautiful pictures as always! <3

  6. Thank you for the great suggestions. It’s nice to know your beautiful photos were taken just with an IPhone and expensive equipment isn’t needed.

  7. These foster babies are so cute! That’s the highlight of having fosters…capturing the memories (and when they get adopted) I can’t wait to get my next foster. You got some great candid photos! They are just precious.

  8. wavez two ewe wee kittenz… !!!! while we due knot haz a “regular” cameraz heer in trout towne; de gurl haz cap sured sum awesum shotz with her EYE phone; N for that… herz thanx full that de foto…. iz now a “saved memoreez ” ♥♥♥

  9. My poor Canon sits mostly idle these days, as I use my (new since November) smartphone camera!

    Those pics of Tibby and Jet are priceless!

    • Smatphone cameras are often just what it takes. The are perfect for candid snapshots that really work!

  10. Excellent photos of the dynamic duo! You really have a way with your skill, Marjorie, and as ever, nicely explained too.

  11. Great tips, Marjorie! I love that you are always so encouraging. The cats at PAWS know us, and pose nicely (usually) since we are there every week. I can see how the trust would be even greater with kitties you are fostering. 🙂


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