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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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How to photograph cats?

Yes, I have Googled this. Yes, it offered some good tips in general. But I figured I'd ask here, and get MORE info!

I want to re-do my signature, mostly to include Zinny.
Whenever I try to do my signature in GIMP, it always seems horribly small, even with the full 120 pixel height. It seems like other people's signature pictures are bigger than that. I just don't want to lose detail, really...I want my cats shown in as much of their splendor and glory as possible! LOL

As I want as much detail, I have considered doing just their faces. However, that doesn't show THEM... for instance, Paizly isn't a typical lynx point with just a solid cream body...she's got reds, browns, creams, all mottled together in an interesting pattern - hence her name. Nebbie isn't just black, but has ONE white spot on her hip. Zinny...eh, Zinny's kinda plain ol'e dilute tortie, but still unique in her own way.
It just seems if I do a whole body shot, I lose a little detail because of having the pictures so small.

Also... many tips on taking pictures usually say "just carry a camera around with you, and you'll get lots of interesting and candid pictures". Yeah, that's great for a general album. But I sort of want to know how to model my cats, especially if I'll be doing a full body shot.
Paizly I wanted to have her sit on a paisley blanket. Nebbie I have a blanket that looks like a bunch of stars (as that's what she's sort of named after). Zinny I want on a flower motiff, since "zinara" is derived from a meaning of thistle flower.
But of course the instant I put them on these props, they're going to leave, or not sit in a proper way, or...well, it'll be SOOO hard to get them just right!

Bleh. Cats are frustrating.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 06:21 PM
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Think about lighting and perspective.

You need to be on the cat's level. Indirect natural light is the best; you will lose detail with the sharp contrasts of sunlight. If you are using flash, it either needs to be off-camera so you don't get red-eye or diffused. You can try making your own diffuser taping a piece of white shopping bag or wax paper over your flash. But you may need to increase the the exposure time if the picture turns out too dark (maybe try a night portrait mode to incease the exposure)

As far as faces only, I cropped pictures I had for my sig. I think I used photobucket.

And getting them to sit where you want; I don't have any suggestions on that one!!! other than leaving your "backdrop" on the couch or other places where they like to hang out & maybe they will go there naturally.


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Last edited by Nan; 01-08-2012 at 06:26 PM.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, the couch is a good idea. Guess I'll just have to settle with a "laying down and curled up" pose, rather than a "sitting up pretty" kind like I want! LOL
Well... Nebbie is sitting pretty in her current one. But I still like the idea of her on a backdrop of sparkly stars!
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 11:00 PM
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Do you have a tripod and a remote for the camera? Then you could be on the cat's level, get them into position, step back and press the remote button to snap the photo... I've been working on setting this up at my place, just haven't done it yet.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 01:12 AM
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When I'm taking pics, I take a TON and pray that one or two good ones come out. I also don't like using the flash, unless it's necessary (like at night in a dark room), because it distorts the colors and makes everything look funky.
Here's a few pics I've taken.













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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 01:40 AM
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I don't think there's much advise to give, sounds like you've done a lot of reading already. Taking a ton of pictures is the right answer. Also have a good camera, like a DSLR, if you want to get a really high quality picture. Lighting is of course important too, try to take pictures of them in the sunlight or a bright room. Keep them as the focal point, clear away anything distracting from the photo (or use photoshop ), and maybe dangle a toy or treats around to get just the right expression.


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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 01:49 AM
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Quote:
When I'm taking pics, I take a TON and pray that one or two good ones come out.
Same here. The only good pictures I take are purely by chance. For the longest time, I could not get Cinderella with her eyes open, people here used to joke that she had no eyes. My favorite two pictures of her were just by chance, there are about 25 others I took at the same time. The best advice I was given for blue-eyed cats: daytime and no flash.







My favorite picture of Cali is in my signature. Cleo, being black, is the hardest kitty to take pictures of. Charlee always looks surprised.

Cali, Cinderella, Cleo and Charlee

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Always in my heart, my lovely Cinderella, running free at the Bridge.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 02:23 AM
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It's not just blue eyed cats, most cats will blink with a flash. Blaze blinks or squints during pictures all the time, in fact one of the only decent picture of him was taken like 6 months ago, I was just really lucky he didn't blink:



And then there's the photoshop route like I mentioned... in the picture below I took two pictures of the same scene, in one the dog was looking and Blacky was walking away and in the other the dog wasn't looking but Blacky was... I combined the two pictures in less than five minutes. If I'd spent more time I would've also made all the non-black parts in the background black:

I do that a fair bit, like I had a picture of one of the dogs by the water... in the water was a bag... goodbye bag. Or that picture of Blacky in the grass used in my signature there used to also be a large stick that was very distracting as well as some lawn chairs...


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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 02:26 AM
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I hate trying to photograph black cats without a manual lens. The only reason the pic of Ben (the black kitten) was in focus was because of his bright yellow eyes. And the other black cat is in focus because of her eyes and her paw.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 02:30 AM
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Ben!

Cali, Cinderella, Cleo and Charlee

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Always in my heart, my lovely Cinderella, running free at the Bridge.

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