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5 Tips for Purr-fect Cat Photos

Cats can be fickle creatures. Here's how to capture better photos of your furry friends
Photo for cat photography tips

Last week, we shared photographer Andrius Burba’s delightful pet photography series “Underlook,” where he captures adorable images of cats and dogs from below. Digital Photo readers seemed to enjoy it with some requesting advice on how to photograph their own pets in cute ways. So, in the below video, Denver-based professional photographer Ken Mostek shares his five tips for better cat photography.

“One of my specialties as a photographer is doing pet photography. I just have so much fun with it,” Mostek says. “And so, I thought while we’re all not ‘stuck’ in our homes, but while we’re all at home because of the virus, and because I have two somewhat willing participants – my cats MaryAnne and Leo – I thought it would be cool to do a video on cat photography.”

He adds that while his five tips are for better cat photography, the advice can also be applied to taking photos of dogs and other pets as well. Here are Mostek’s tips to help you with your cat photography, which he demonstrates in the video at the bottom of this story.

Tip 1: Get on Their Level

“You want to be kind of eye level with them to get a really cool shot,” he says. “As humans, we’re used to being up high from our pets. But being able to get down low will give you some great photos from a different perspective.”

Tip 2: Patience

“You have got to be really patient to be a pet photographer whether it’s dogs or birds. Whatever it is, they’re going to do whatever they want to do. And so, you just have to be patient with it, go with it. Let them do what they do. You have to be mobile, be able to move around.”

Tip 3: Focus on the Eyes

“Cats’ eyes are beautiful and if you really look close at them, it’s amazing. Some cameras now have pet eye autofocus, which is fantastic. If you don’t have that, just remember: the eyes, that’s what you’re shooting for.”

Tip 4: Camera Settings

“You want to shoot at a really high shutter speed, the higher the better. Now, there’s some caveats to that. Different situations – whether the cat is sitting (slower shutter speed) or a dog is running (faster shutter speed) – call for different things. It also depends on your light. If you’re inside the house and you have very good light, it’s going to be hard to get those really fast shutter speeds. Now you can take your shutter speed up and then adjust your ISO really high.”

Bonus Tip: Use Toys or Treats

“Usually with cats you want to use something like a feather to really get their attention, which will open up their eyes and make their ears perk forward. That’s what you’re looking for in a good photo.”

Bonus Tip: Continuous Shooting

“You can use continuous shooting on your camera to fire a whole bunch of photos just with one click of the shutter button. If a dog is running at you, you don’t want to be pressing the button each and every time. You can press it once and fire off a whole bunch of photos to capture what you need.”

Tip 5: Purr-sonality

“You want to capture their personality. Do whatever you can to get them interested and see what’s going on. ”

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