MAKE YOUR CAT THE NEXT INTERNET STAR, JUST LIKE GRUMPY CAT(or at least make him into wallpaper for your computer)
Your cat - the next Internet sensation?
The internet has showered us with many wonderful gifts. The World Wide Web has connected friends from near and far, expanded our base of knowledge, and...most important of all...revealed our passionate love of felines!
Cute kitty pics are a standard part of our online culture, and several savvy entrepreneurs have converted the popularity of cats into quite a lucrative income. For instance, the 28 year old owner of "Grumpy Cat" made so much money, she was able to quit her job as a waitress after only three days of presenting her charmingly disgruntled pet on social media!
But what about your cat? You know your loving little feline has what it takes to be the next big thing. You also know that, in the Internet world, anyway, it all begins with a picture....a buzz creating image. You just have to get that great shot.
Of course, if you're like most average cat owners, you already take many pictures of your charming and adorable feline.
Unfortunately, those pictures don't always turn out looking so charming and adorable...AM I RIGHT? I thought so. At this point, you may have even given up on the idea of having your cat follow in Grumpy Cat's cranky little paw prints....but, darn it, you just want an attractive picture of your pet to put on a mug or in a frame....and you can't even get that!
Naturally, you're confused. After all, your kitty is so adorable in real life. So what happens after you click that button and check out how your picture looks on the camera? Why does your adorable pet suddenly resemble an evil demon, or an amorphous blob?
Perhaps your kitty does look cute in the picture... but, OH, NO! Why didn't you notice that half empty bottle of Pepto Bismal in the background?
Of course, cats don't always pose willingly for the camera. They often move right at the wrong time, or get irritated with that darn thing being shoved in their face...and instructing your cat to say "cheese" (or even "lamb" or "turkey") will not do the trick!
Sure it's frustrating. But that's no reason to give up! You can indeed take those great shots that warrant being placed on holiday cards or front and center on a mug (Check out Vista Print for photo gifts - their prices are very reasonable) - or maybe your cat could even be the next Internet sensation!
(At the very least, you can use those cute pics for your computer background, or to stick in a nice photo frame, right?).
Following, are some photo tips to help you capture the essence of adorability you know your kitty possesses.
I can't promise results like you see in the cat calendar at Barnes and Noble, and I'm not saying your cat will be the next Internet sensation...
But who knows? Maybe she will!
1). ALWAYS HAVE YOUR CAMERA (OR CELL PHONE) AVAILABLE
Keep your camera or cell phone nearby whenever you sit on the couch or watch TV. Make sure it's charged up and ready to go! That way, when you kitty rolls over on her back in the sunbeam making that adorable "I'm so contented" face," all you have to do is grab and click.
Always be on the lookout for what will make a "cute" or "interesting" picture. Maybe your husband is scratching under your cat's chin, or your cat is laying with her head on the pillow, just like a human.
Maybe your frisky feline is stalking a bug (Big Bad Bug Hunter Cat!), or trying to squeeze into a too-small box (Teeny Tiny Box Kitty!). Perhaps both of your cats are drinking out of the sink at the same exact time (Sink Loving Kitties!), or your cat is sprawled out across the computer keyboard (Keyboard Cat!).
Of course there's no guarantee your kitty or kitties will stay in this cute position for long. All the more reason to have that camera ready to go! There's something so satisfying about getting that perfect shot... simply because you are capturing something that's normally fleeting (your cat's expression or position) and allowing it to live on forever.
2). GET DOWN TO KITTY'S LEVEL
Don't always take pictures towering over your kitty. Get down to her level! Kneel, sit, lay, so you can look right into her eyes. This way you will get far more interesting shots loaded with personality.
3). EMPLOY PROPS AND TREATS
I read somewhere that if you tape a treat to your camera, you will always get those adorable shots of your kitty looking up. Just be sure to give your cat the treat when you're done. Fair is fair, after all!
If you have a "partner" (a friend or family member) they can help by holding a treat near the camera or cell phone, or crinkling a ball of paper to get your cat to look up.
Once I took a picture of my cat "playing" with my daughter's toys for a magazine article I wrote. At least I tried to. However, my uncooperative feline model insisted upon running out of my carefully arranged circle of toys, much to my frustration.
So what did I do? I ended up placing a piece of ham in the Barbie Doll's hair and it worked like a charm. I got a great shot of my cat "kissing" Barbie!
Speaking of toys, props are a fun addition to add to your kitty's pictures. Whether it's a favorite cat toy (with catnip!) or a box for kitty to explore... or even your daughter's dolls and cute stuffed animals. Whimsical décor is also good, like a bird or a fake butterfly (you can purchase these items fairly cheaply at Michael's Crafts)....the sky's the limit.
Be creative! Have fun! Take a picture of your cat "reading" a cat book! The point is, aim to get a shot that's anything but typical.
Holidays are the perfect time to employ fun props. A yarn Santa for Christmas, a mini pumpkin for Halloween. If you have a very mellow cat, you can even try a little costume... well, maybe just a hat....(of course, if your cat is not fond of hats being perched on his precious head, you can always add a "sticker hat" to his photo from a free photo edit site such as Pic Monkey or Pizap)!
However, don't forget to give your model a break. How long can you expect him to pose with a stuffed animal draped on his back, or your daughter's doll pretending to pet him? (I tried this. My cat ended up biting the doll's hand).
Have respect for your cat and try not to irritate him too much. You can always get the perfect shot tomorrow, or the next day. Otherwise, you might end up with a lot of grumpy cat pictures, (and I don't think the world is big enough for TWO grumpy cat)s!
Just wait for your cat to be in a relaxed or playful alert mood before you start adding props and clicking away.
4). BE AWARE OF YOUR BACKGROUND
Plain backgrounds work best, like a blank wall, or a big pillow...nothing to compete with kitty and make the picture confusing. A nice colorful blanket underneath also works wonders. Make sure there is no distracting clutter in your view - Coke cans, piles of paper, bottles of Pepto-Bismal...you get the idea.
If you are in the bathroom? Well, the toilet doesn't always make for the best background...ditto the roll of toilet paper (oooo...ever get that in a picture? Embarrassing!) or a box of Stayfree pads.
5). GET UP CLOSE!
A tightly cropped up-close picture is always more interesting than a far away "cluttery" looking shot where your cat gets lost in the background.
It's okay to just capture part of your cat, with the face being the main focal point. Don't worry that her tail isn't in the shot, or all of her right ear. This actually makes the picture more interesting!
6). PHOTO-SHOP, PHOTO-SHOP, PHOTO-SHOP
Photo shop isn't just for fixing. It's also for fun! If you don't have a photo-shop program on your computer, no worries. There are plenty of free sites online! These are the free photo edit sites that I use the most:
PIXL Free Photo Shop (go straight to the "express" mode)
PICMONKEY has lots of cool holiday features)
PHOTO FIDDLE (You can choose between Impasto, Water Color, Oil - all styles of artwork. Simply enlarge your photo and download. Or...you can order your kitty masterpiece suitable for framing)!
LUNAPIC lets you be a LUNATIC with your pictures! Lunapic may not be as "polished" as some other sites, but it is loaded with tons of cool features such as Warhol, sketch, and Obama-ize, as well as moving animation, such as rippling reflective water and actual glittering glitter!
IPCCY.com This site offers very polished and professional effects...their "grunge" texture is the best.
TUXPI.com: This little-known site has lots of pretty frames and cool effects.
PIZAP: This site has more pretty heart and flower frames than you can shake a bag of cat treats at! They have a million backgrounds you can easily apply to your picture, with bubbles and woods and designs and fields of tulips...you name it, they probably have it, along with a huge selection of stickers. You can even stick a little fairy on your cat's back, if you so desire!
7). REMEMBER; SLEEPING PICTURES ARE OKAY!
The good thing about a nappy pic is that kitty doesn't move to mess up the shot! Actually, you can get some really cute "sleeping pics".....because let's be honest...sleeping is what cats do best! If you can tuck in a little stuffed animal or sneak a cute hat on....all the better. But watch out.....you might annoy kitty, wake her up, and then all you'll get in the "annoyed cause you woke me up" pic.
To add more richness and depth to your kitty shot, you can "up" the contrast" You can also "crop" if you need to, or increase the clarity and sharpness of your shot. After that, just, well, have fun! If you don't like a background or a color change, you don't have to keep it.
You can include neon words, magical hearts or butterflies, texture, glitter, even put your cat in outer space!
Change your picture into black and white for that real "artsy" look - or Sepia, for that "old-timey" appearance.
At Lunapic you can digitally place your kitty on a Christmas ornament or a 100 dollar bill.
On Ippcy, you can put your "evil" kitty on a wanted poster.
If you are clever with layers, you might want to layer your kitty over a flower, prowling in the Savannah, or chilling on a sailboat.(Simply add "my texture" on Picmonkey, or go to Pixl advanced, for this "layer" feature).
Not every shot will be great, and that's okay. The important thing is to have fun. If you possess patience and keep at it, I guarantee you will be rewarded with some really adorable pictures.
Or at least half-way adorable......
Then you can get those adorable pictures put on a mug or a holiday card...an artist canvas to hang on your wall or a pillow for your bed - or you can even make your own kitty coffee table picture book (which, by the way, makes a great gift)!
Maybe you'll even want to put kitty's picture on a T-shirt that you wear out in public! What the heck...make a kitty T-shirt for every member of your family.
(Who knows? Maybe you'll all get on the news)!
Will your cat ever be as famous as Grumpy Cat or Lil Bub? Remember...what you need is a UNIQUE ANGLE. Does your cat do something no other cat does? Is your cat best friends with your gerbil and they pal around together all day?
Be sure to capture some great shots of this unique friendship.....adding your own creativity to prove that these guys sure do like to party and have lots of fun (pose these guys with some wine glasses, of make it seem as though they're watching Animal Planet together).
Does your cat steal socks and hide them, thus creating a secret sock stash? Catch some pictures of him doing this. Maybe your cat is a diva and you can express that aspect of her personality by posing her on a satin pillow, or photo shopping a little crown on her head.
Perhaps your cat is being stalked by a stuffed animal or a love-sick Barbie Doll....you could surely take some funny pictures with this idea in mind.
Write a book about your cat! Create a website or a Facebook for him! Document your cat taking "funny selfies" of himself.
Definitely produce a You Tube movie with an ongoing theme. For instance, if you just got a new kitten, document how your older cat is adjusting. Is your cat crazy hyper? Make videos that star Crazy Hyper Cat! Or follow your cat and your toddler around and capture some funny footage of the two playing together.
Which reminds me....don't forget to take pictures of your special feline posing with doting family members! Everyone loves cats and kids pictures - but your hubby engaged in a head rub with Sparky makes a great shot, too! What about a selfie with your cat? Go for it....if you can!
Most selfies are definitely improved with the addition of a cat. People just naturally respond better to pictures of people posing with cute animals, anyway. It's a fact! (Okay, it's a fact I just made up....but it could be true).
One of the pet food companies is currently running an interesting campaign. They show a picture of a very young child posing with a young kitten (or puppy)...then showcase a shot of that same child, older (or in some cases, grown) posing with the same pet who is now a sweet senior.
I love these pictures! They're so poignant, for some reason.
Just make sure you take lots of awesome pics of your up and coming star. Take as many as you want! There was a day (not long ago) when you would have to pay for all your mistakes...but now you can just delete them and save the best for.....whatever! Make a mug for Aunt Sarah, a T-shirt for yourself, or post on social media.
Or maybe you'll simply employ Fluffy's picture as wallpaper for your computer. Pet photography is a fun, creative hobby that just might, like Grumpy Cat's owner, make you rich one day, too. Just be sure to remain patient, have fun, don't get frustrated - and tell your cat to smile and say....SALMON TREAT!
books on how to photograph your cat
More by this Author
You love your cat. You love WRITING. You also love cash. Why not combine all THREE?
All of my cats love catnip - but they each love it in their own way. Coco-Puff will roll around in it and act all giddy. Cherry will become oddly aggressive; hissing and protecting her little catnip mouse like it's...