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Cat Pictures And Tips To Taking Pictures Of Cats

Updated on April 5, 2014

How To Take A Cat Photo

Capturing the perfect image of your pet cat can be a daunting task. There is a reason that they say never work with animals and children in show business - they will do anything but cooperate.

The important things to remember are:

  • Planning
  • Lighting
  • Personality
  • Level
  • Eyes
  • Framing
  • Fun

We will explore these tips and techniques more so that you can capture the perfect picture of your cat and immortalize all those wonderful memories.

You may even turn your moggie into a star with the right publicity pictures!

Classic Cat Photos

Cat Eyes Up Lunch Photo
Cat Eyes Up Lunch Photo
In Your Dreams Cat
In Your Dreams Cat
How Is The Water ...
How Is The Water ...

Planning Your Photo

Taking a great picture of your cat is probably not going to happen by accident. Planning will help you capture the photograph that you want. By this I mean you will have to set aside some time to take photos - it isn't as easy as telling your cat to smile when you have the camera in hand and job done (with most cats anyway!).

The part to remember when planning the photo shoot is that you will have to photograph your cat in the mood they are in. So if you want a playful shot then you will want to pick the time of the day when your cat is in a playful mood, or if you want a sleepy/cuddly picture it is no good picking a time of the day when your cat chasing birds and postmen.

You might also consider what kind of props you will want on hand to complete the picture.

Remember that to get the most from your subject you will want to be giving off the right vibes so make sure that you are going to have plenty of time, patience and be of good humor when the appointed time is scheduled.

Finally, make sure that you have the use of the best camera that you have access to (even if means borrowing one). Make sure the batteries are charged and there is plenty of film or space on the disc.

Capture Award Winning Pictures Of Your Pet


When it comes to lighting - natural is best.

Where at all possible you will want to use natural lighting rather than relying on a flash. There are many reasons for this, but the point being that you will generally get a better photo with natural lighting.

If you use a flash it may scare your cat, or at least make it uncomfortable with repeated pictures being taken. Flashes also have a tendency to washout, or over-expose, pets. Another negative result is the red-eye effect with cats eyes being particularly receptive to light.

If you are forced to use a flash then it is best to use a flash diffuser. If you don't have a diffuser and your flash is an accessory to your camera you maybe able to face the flash upwards rather than directly at the cat. If your flash is built in a strip of masking tape over the top of the flash may be enough to diffuse the light for a perfect picture.

When using natural light keep in mind the position of the sun in relation to your cat. having the sun behind your shoulder will help you capture sharp pictures of your cat - it may also mean you are casting a shadow in the picture frame. If you have the sun behind your cat it will create an entirely different effect. This is one instance where you may want to force your flash to help fill in facial shadows.

If you have not taken many photos of cats (or people) you may find that you need to experiment with different lighting conditions and angles before you are able to get crystal clear pictures.

It Is A Cat's Life

Personality - Capturing The Cat You Know

One of the biggest failings in taking portraits for pets or people is capturing them in an unnatural pose or situation. If your father spent his whole life in the outdoors wearing shorts and a vest, it would do you no good being left with a picture of him in a suite. You want pictures that capture who he was and fit how your remember him. The same is true with pet pictures.

If your cat is a lazy cat who only moves between his food bowl and his bed, then you will probably want to capture that personality with the picture. If you cat is a live wire then an action shot is going to be the best way of remembering them.

Capturing your cat is not just snapping a picture of it standing at your feet (unless that is where it is normally found). It is about capturing the personality in such a way as the photo could only be your cat and not just any cat. This will give you the picture that you will be most happy with in years to come.

Not All Cats Are This Cooperative!

Level - Or Positioning

In order to get the best picture of your cat you will want to get down to their level. Seeing the world through the eyes of your cat (or the eyes of you cat from the world they see) more often than not will create the best picture.

Experiment with different angles. Take photos from above, down at eye level, and even with your cat in an elevated position. Different levels give the appearance of different personalities. Is your pet one who is very dependent? Then a downward looking angle might be best. If you are owned by your cat then a photo where the cat is elevated and looking down at you might best capture that character.

The Eyes Bring A Photo To Life

Eyes - Window To The Soul

The most important bodily feature to capture with clarity and focus is the eyes. This is particularly noticeable in action shots. It doesn't matter if paws and tails are slightly blurred as long as the eyes are crystal clear.

You will be surprised at just how big a difference it makes when you are able to capture the eyes with clarity. They may or may not be the window to the soul, as the saying goes, but they are certainly the key to great cat photography.

One tip to capturing your cats eyes to maximum effect is to surprise them. You do not have to scare them as much as startle them. This can be accomplished with a whistle or snap of the fingers just before you are ready to take the shot. For a moment their eyes will be wide, bright, and full of life.

The Photo Is In The Framing

Framing The Picture

Although a good frame will make all the difference to a picture hanging on a wall, that is not the framing that we are talking about with the actual taking of the photo. To correctly frame a photo you need to consider things like how much surroundings you want in the picture, or even how much cat you want to capture. Spectacular photos can be taken by getting up close (or zooming up close) and just capturing the head or face of your pet.

Other ways to frame the photo include things like placing the cat to one side of the picture and having an area that gives context to the scene, perhaps a pond or tree with a bird in it to show that your cat is in mid hunt. Or you may pull back to capture the lazyboy chair that is your cat's favorite spot, or maybe it is the sun dancing across the floor that gives extra sparkle to the picture.

When framing a picture you do not want the background to be too noisy (too much happening - distracting your attention) if you are trying to highlight your pet. However, if you are able to focus on the cat and have the surroundings blurred out then busy surroundings can make the shot.

Knowing what works and what does not will come with practice. With experience you will learn how to position yourself and the scene to lead the eyes of the picture viewer to the important feature of the photo - in this case, your pet.

It Is My Chair And I Will Defend It

Fun - The Most Important Aspect Of Cat Photography

You should always remember to enjoy the experience of photographing your pet and not get caught up with the details. If you are not having fun then the chances are your cat will not be having fun either and we all know what family portraits of gritted teeth and fuming parents turn out like. It is no way to remember you pet in years to come.

Do not get stressed if you do not capture the winning shot straight away, take lots of pictures. Even if they are not all spectacular they will sill make a great album. The more you practice the more often you are likely to capture those award winning shots. Sometimes it is the random shots that unexpectedly turn out to be favorites.

You might even find yourself putting together a blooper collection of shots where you cat had been just before you pressed the button, or unusual expressions and positions that came just after the perfect shot.

What are you waiting for .. start planning your cat photo shoot today!

What Is Your Experience?

Have you managed to successfully take pictures of your cat?

See results

If All Else Fails There Is Always Photoshop

Any Other Cat Photography Tips Or Comments?

Submit a Comment

  • PetMemorialWorld profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from New Zealand

    The cat picture with the goldfish bowl certainly tells a story all by itself. Bubbles is a great name for a cat!

  • PetMemorialWorld profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from New Zealand

    Thanks Jenn. Good luck capturing your cats on film. Let us know if you take an award winner!

  • morningglory24 profile image


    6 years ago

    I just love the one with the goldfish bowl! I have two cats, Bubbles and Emma, that can take some crazy pictures as well.

  • jennzie profile image


    6 years ago from Pennsylvania

    Great tips! My cats aren't the easiest to get pictures of, but I will definitely use your advice.

    Voted up and shared!

  • PetMemorialWorld profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from New Zealand

    Yes ... black cats are bad luck for taking pictures! It is really crucial to have the right lighting or they become featureless ghosts. We have lots of failed pictures :-/

  • profile image

    Chris Hugh 

    6 years ago

    I like your black cats! I've got great pictures of Twitch, but Mr. Kitten just won't stay still. I'll try setting my camera on three-shot-burst and see if I can get any good pics. It seems like, for me at least, the trick is to just take a ton of pictures in the hope that one will come out right:)


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