Monthly Archives: May 2014

Tips and techniques on taking pictures of your pet cat-Part 3

Playtime!
Or, get em while they’re distracted!

Cats looooooove to play with things. A ball of yarn…….mine loves plastic grocery bags (under supervision)…..the little plastic rings that peel off when you open a gallon of juice or milk….a rattly ball…..balled up piece of paper…you name it! This is a great time to get a good picture of your cat doing something besides sleeping. Initiate playtime and grab the camera!

One trick to make snapping pictures easier is to tie a piece of yarn/ribbon on the end of a stick and dangle that over kitty. You can use one hand to aim the camera and the other to tease the kitty! (hint from deemac1)

You can either leave the toy in the shot, or zoom in close to get the wild eyed look (kittens are great at this one). One tip for getting kitties attention is hold aside a toy (squeaky crinkly kinds work well), aim the camera, get ready……make noise with the toy and snap the picture as soon as kitty turns towards you! This will work for a few times, but after a while the kitty will start ignoring you-take em while you can!

Use of yarn on a stick trick:
play card
play by deemac1

Play with me card
Play with me by deemac1

Feathers are fun! Just make sure they aren’t attached to a live bird (gulp….)!

Playing kitten card
Playing kitten by deemac1

Wild eyes in the middle of playtime!
Kitten Postage stamp
Kitten Postage by willowdewisp

Kitten Cards card
Kitten Cards by krystishollyhocks

Cat with computer
Cat and pc mug
Cat and pc by TitiaG

Highly recommended to not let your cat on the keyboard! Certain combinations of keys, when pressed together by furry paws or clumsy hands, will make your life miserable as your computer does things all by itself…….Unplug those keyboards!

Outdoor cats

If you have an outdoor cat or an indoor/outdoor cat, the great outdoors makes for instant backdrops!

An overcast day is usually best for outdoor photographs so you don’t have to battle shadows or sun in anyone’s eyes. Otherwise, early morning or later in the afternoon is next best. Flash pictures of cats always end up looking like…….flash pictures, so try and take your photographs where there is enough ambient light to not use the flash. Flash also gives you the problem of “green eye” which is rather hard to touch up later…..better to avoid using it!

One difficulty you may run into is getting close enough to some kitties outside to get that great photograph-some will see you coming a mile away with your camera! This is when either waiting until close to dinner time or breaking out the treats can come in handy! You will probably end up with a lot of “distracted” shots, but even those can tell a story.

kittycat mousepad
kittycat by lilymom24

Time Spent With A Curious Black Cat Postcard postcard
Time Spent With A Curious Black Cat Postcard by DigitalDreambuilder

Smokey the Cat Magnet magnet
Smokey the Cat Magnet by jasminesphotography

You are special to me Greeting Card card
You are special to me Greeting Card by Funcards
LOL Maine Coon print
LOL Maine Coon by JeanC_PurpleDucky

Get up close and personal
(zoom lenses and good lighting help)

Zoom in! Or if your cat will let you, poke the camera right up next to him or her. Make sure there’s enough lighting so the flash won’t create any issues and click away! Usually right after a nap is a good time to catch the kitty up close, before they’ve really woken up enough to bother getting up and moving.

Or, you can take a wider angled picture and crop down to just the eyes…..or the nose……or the mouth. Play with the crop box-you may end up with 3 or 4 good variations on one picture!

Might want to check and make sure kitty doesn’t have gunky eyes, for some reason the gunk always shows up HUGE in pictures.

Cat Eyes in Color Mousepad mousepad
Cat Eyes in Color Mousepad by ValeriesGallery

This one was desaturated to make it black and white:

Black and white cat face close up mousepad
Black and white cat face close up by SusansZooCrew

Here’s an example of a wider shot that could also be cropped in. The picture is great as is of one sleeping and one awake kitty, and then you could also crop it down to just the black cats’ face!

Everyone needs a hug postcard
Everyone needs a hug by deemac1

This is what you can do when your kitty is more interested in the lizard outside than you…..sneak in from the side and get right up to him!

Contemplative Cat Postcard postcard
Contemplative Cat Postcard by katieryn

Tips and techniques on taking pictures of your pet cat-Part 2

Candid shots-introduction

With cats, this tends to be the most common type of photograph. It’s a lot harder to pose a cat than a dog! However, sneaking up on a playing kitty or snoozing fluffball in the sun isn’t too hard (see earlier comment about camera noise). The hardest part is avoiding the “You are *bothering* me” look they like to give you, although those looks make for great pictures too.

There is something to keep in mind about candid shots-you have to have a camera in hand to catch them.

If you’re after good kitty photographs, keep your camera either within reach (if you’re just around the house) or around your neck (if you’re actively pursuing pictures). Make sure the batteries are charged and there’s film or a memory card with room on it loaded. Practice taking off the lens cap quickly. Get into the habit of having the camera nearby and you’ll capture more photographs! With luck you may even get a shot of your kitty in “wild eyed zoom around the room” mode!

Sleeping Kitty
or, Shhhhhhhhhh isn’t she cute?

Cats like to sleep. A lot. And they’ll do it in the darndest places! Mine likes to sleep in the bathroom sink but always knows if I have a camera in my hand so I can’t prove it…yet. Pictures of sleeping cats are always favorites! Here are some examples of what you can capture during a (forgive the pun) cat nap!

(this one’s been digitally enhanced)
Sleeping Kitty Mousepad mousepad
Sleeping Kitty Mousepad by Bebops

She’s really hiding her nose, but could pass for sleeping:
Cat Hiding postcard
Cat Hiding by TitiaG

Going to sleep:
Jasper Yawning Kitten Photo Blank Notecard card
Jasper Yawning Kitten Photo Blank Notecard by CeruleanSkyStudios

Andddddddd we’re out:
Cat Contentment print
Cat Contentment by ReneeFukumoto

A really little one:
You & Me, big bro' Magnet magnet
You & Me, big bro’ Magnet by Funcards

When working with tiny kittens, keep em with mamma….put em back if they cry (or mom might decide to get possesive….or worse, push kitten out!) and never handle a young kitten unless you know the mothers’ temperment!

This guy looks realllllllly comfy:
Dreaming of the veldt print
Dreaming of the veldt by JeanC_PurpleDucky

I’m with the cat on this one……I dislike moving…….a lot……

Cat Sleeping postcard
Cat Sleeping by TitiaG

Don’t forget to grab those yawns!

Halloween Cat label
Halloween Cat by deemac1

Big mouthed kitten mousepad
Big mouthed kitten by deemac1

Tips and techniques on taking pictures of your pet cat- Part 1

This post is part of a series of posts on taking pictures of cats.

Cat have their own set of methods for getting a good picture as compared to dogs or small pets. Read on for some great examples (that you can buy, just click on the picture or link!) of pet photography and tips of how to get your pictures to be even better!.

Pictures not noted with an author are (c) Susan L. Marsh (aka susanszoocrew). All others are property of their respective owners!

Types of pet cat/kitten photography / photos

In my opinion, pet photography can be broken up into three different types.

First you’ve got the “quick! Grab the camera! Rudy’s doing something cute!” candid shots. These often capture the funny moments of having a cat or kitten. Playtime with a ribbon is a great time to grab candid shots-use a stick to tie the ribbon on to help control where kitty is and make taking a photograph one handed easier. .

Secondly there’s the semi staged shots. You put the cat in the bed and hope it stays there long enough for a picture….lay a paper bag on the floor and wait for kitty to go in it…Leave the nice warm laundry basket on the floor and wait..Set the cat on a stool, add a santa hat, and try to get your Christmas picture (ok, maybe that’s just me!). With cats, you usually end up staging a scene and hoping the cat falls for it more times than you’d be able to pose the cat. This is different than with a dog, with a dog you can tell them to “Sit!!!” and snap a picture.

Lastly there’s the studio shots. Set the scene, brush the cat, camera on a tripod or other surface. These involve a staged backdrop, special lighting, and whatnot.

This lens will concentrate on the first two types of pictures as that’s what most people will end up taking

What you *have* to have to take cat pictures(besides a cat or kitten!)

1. Camera.
This doesn’t need to be a fancy SLR digital camera with 20 lenses. You can use anything that will take a picture! I’ve seen great pictures done on a old disposable 110 (remember those?) camera, as well as horrible I-wouldn’t-post-that done on a $999 digital SLR. That said, when photographing pets you may want to try out the camera for noise levels and the startle factor. I owned a camera that had a really high pitched squeal as the flash warmed up-which eliminated the possibility of any candid shots indoors. Others I’ve used have had loud shutters, or beeps on digital camera telling you the picture was taken (I turned all those off on mine). Before plopping down money, see if you can hear the camera in action. Better yet, borrow a friends and see how your cat reacts!

2. A finger or other way to push the shutter button.

That’s it! All you really need is a camera and a feline friend! Everything else is optional and situational

Optional (but recommended) cat photography equipment

1. A tripod
It helps to have a tripod if you’re trying to do a composed scene or your animal has a tendency to scramble away-and most cats will. Camera on a tripod means you can chase Fitzgig without dropping the camera.

2. If no tripod, a neck strap.
I don’t recommend a wrist strap. It’s too easy to bang the camera against something as you grab for Rudy heading for freedom. Plus, they are thinner and can break. Invest in a neck strap!

3. Toys (aka, attention getters, and props!)
Cats are a bit easier in the toy department than dogs. A simple piece of ribbon or yarn (don’t let kitty tangle or swallow), a crinkly plastic bag, a paper bag (big favorite here!), etc and you can distract your cat from the noisy flashy thing you keep aiming at him. Things that squeak are great for getting the cats’ attention to look at the camera! Toys also make great props.

4. Treats (aka last resort bribery)
If your cat likes treats, get em out! Great way to keep his or her attention on you instead of everywhere else they can be. If your cat has gone into hiding when you took out the camera, opening a can of food or tuna is a sure way to find them too. However, keep in mind that most cats only want a few treats, so use sparingly-unlike dogs who have endless tummies!

5. PATIENCE
Trust me, the cat is not going to give you an entire roll of perfect shots. I am happy with 1 out of 100 being useable. The kittens’ attention is going to wander…….her eyes will need wiping…..the moving dust speck in the corner looks like more fun….etc. Remember, all they know is you are yammering and aiming this black box at them. If you aren’t getting the results you want, try again another time! Some cats have no patience for having their picture taken, others don’t seem to care.

6. If you’re doing posed, a backdrop
A simple sheet or comforter or chunk of fabric draped over a vertical object will suffice. You can also go all out and get rolls of paper. Another option is to set the f-stop low enough that the background is blurred (on point and shoots, there’s usually a portrait mode that will do that for you). Keep in mind that you’ll want some contrast between the cat and the background, but not too much. A black cat against a white wall usually ends up looking like a shadow unless you really fiddle with the settings. You may have more success if you have the backdrop end on the ground so you can be at ground level if you’re trying to “pose” your cat. My cat will sit on a stool for a few minutes until he decides to jump off, so I’ll often use a stool in front of a backdrop for him. A friends cat would give you some new scars if you try to make him sit on a stool-his pictures are all candid :).

7. A UV filter on the lens (if applicable)
If you have the kind of camera where you can add filters to the lens, I recommend a UV filter. They’re cheap, and a lot easier to replace when they get scratched than your camera lens. You will sooner or later end up cleaning nose prints off the lens-especially if you’re like me and like to get up close. A few dozen times cleaning the lens, or one time with the wrong fabric (soft…..and watch out if you’re using your Tshirt in a pinch that it’s not dirty with muddy paw marks because the sand scratches) and you’ve got scratches!

8. First aid kit
This is more for you than the cat :). Watch where you are walking as you are backing up to get that perfect shot! Tetanus shots are not fun, make sure yours is up to date. And clip those claws! And watch those teeth! Cat scratches and bites tend to get infected easily (cat scratch fever isn’t just a song!) so wash any wounds out immediatly with soap and water.

9. If you take your cat somewhere to have pictures done, a *carrier* is a must.
I didn’t realize people actually transport their cats loose in the car until someone told me how their cat escaped! Any animal should be in a carrier or other restraint, for their safety and yours.

10. Oh, and a closed room makes cat photography easier
An open door is an escape route, if your cat realizes the door is shut he/she may not be as prone to running away every time you’re about to get that “perfect” shot.

Continue to Part 2 of Taking pet cat pics

One flea medicine I tried and liked for the cat

Flea medicine I’ve been using for a while on my older cat. I just mix it into a can of food (maybe 1/4″ of a can to start), let him chow down, then give him the rest of the meal! Better than a greasy coat. No problems with his health, and he’s asthmatic so I’d expect him to be the first to have a reaction. So far, so good!

(if you happen to buy from my amazon link above, I do earn a small commision).