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As a loving cat parent, you know your fur baby is adorable. And more than likely, you've taken up amateur pet photography as a hobby so you can share with the world just how cute she is.
But, have you noticed it can be a little difficult to get a good picture of a cat who wants nothing to do with these impromptu photo shoots?
There are ways to work with your cat to help you capture the cuteness! The following are a few tricks for taking your pet photography to the next level and getting that perfect picture.
Full disclosure: You may lose your patience while taking pictures of cats. Sure, your feline friend appears to be a compliant subject — after all, cats lounge most of the day — but when she sees the camera or phone in your hand, she'll calmly change positions, cover her face with her paw, or simply stand up and walk away. Such divas, I know. You can still catch cute poses this way, but it's worth the wait to get a good photo, so relax and settle in for the long haul.
Let Her Be the Boss
She already thinks she's in charge, right? So let her dictate the photo shoot. Because she's most comfortable in her favorite cozy spots, work around her routine as best you can. It may require some stealthy cat moves of your own, but tag along as she goes about her daily (or nightly) routine. She'll catch onto you before long and make it difficult on you, but there'll be plenty of opportunities beforehand to catch her looking camera-ready.
Meet Her in the Middle
Or on the ground, as it were. Meeting your cat at eye level, even if it means lying on the floor, will result in a great photo, notes VetStreet. If your cat is a climber, coax her onto her favorite perch, such as the back of the couch, a climbing condo, or window sill. Play with different angles but avoid looking down at your cat because your cat may look distorted in the final image, but which may suit you just fine if you're looking for something quirky!
Pay Attention to the Background
Have you ever looked online at photos of adorable kittens and thought, "Gee, it'd be even cuter if that dirty laundry weren't in the background?" Be aware of what's going on around your cat, particularly those items that can't be cropped out of the photo. It's easy to get distracted by your fur baby's sweet little face when you're taking pictures of cats, but an uncluttered backdrop will ensure she's the star of the show.
When taking pictures of cats, don't be above bribery to get a good pic. If she responds to treats, toss your cat a few nibbles to get her onto her climbing tree. Throw a toy into the air to get an aerial action shot of her jumping. Some cats aren't interested in treats (yes, it's true), so you can try catnip. A double whammy of catnip on her favorite toy will produce wonderful footage for photos or video, but be careful not to encourage unsafe moves.
It's true that cat photography can be a two person task. So, while someone else distracts her with a toy or light-beam you can take on your inner-most paparazzi and snap all of the wonderful photos. It might take some experimenting to crop your helper out of the picture (if that is your intention), but after time you'll get the hang of it.
Beware of the Flash
If you use a camera (or even your camera phone) and you're looking for extra lighting to capture the mystery of your cat's best looking pose, you might use a flash. While there is nothing inherently wrong or harmful with using a flash on a cat, it could pose more problems for your photoshoot than you might like. If your cat startles easily, the flash might spook her into running for cover. Then the site of the camera every time might bring about unwanted poses. Then, for other cats, the flash might become a curiosity that is too tempting to not explore. While you might get some great close-ups, an investigative kitty might make taking photos of your cat lounging around a little more difficult.
No two cats are the same. Sometimes candid shots of your cat when she doesn't know you're there are the best shots. Sometimes tuckering her out ahead of time with some play and exercise will produce some adorable napping shots. String toys or cat perches will help capture her flexing her hunting prowess. Selfies can get great shots of you both showing your close knit bond. Whatever type of shot you're looking to get will take some time and experimentation before you get it down pat. Also, take lots of shots until you find some that you like. Just make sure to not overdo it to where she gets annoyed by the practice, as it could turn her off of cooperating for future photo shoots. This can also be helpful advice when it comes to posting photos of your adorable cat, as sometimes moderation will provide the best responses from friends and family.
Above all, don't be afraid to get silly! Cats do weird things to get our attention, and we can do the same to capture theirs. You know your cat better than anyone else, and by taking pet photography into your own hands, your special relationship shines through in the images you create.
Christine O'Brien is a writer, mom, former English professor, and long-time pet parent whose two Russian Blue cats rule the house. Her work also appears in What to Expect Word of Mom, Fit Pregnancy, and Care.com, where she writes about pets and family life. Find and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @brovelliobrien