There are a lot of reasons why you would want to take photographs of your pets, and some of these include the shorter lifespan that they have along with your need to document fun moments. Fantastic portraits of pets is a normal trend in social media nowadays, and every pet owner would love to showcase his or her animal best friend.
Maybe you’re not a professional photographer or painter like skilled ones from companies like Colour Pet Studio who can make extraordinary cat portraits or cat painting. They have learned their craft for months or years but it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be left behind in the trend.
Here are six tips for taking cat portraits like a professional:
- Put an effort to make that background soft
Soft is a term in photography that might sound unfamiliar to you but this is what people call a blur in the photo that is normally done to the background to enhance the focus on the subject. Using blurs is an industry standard for photographers. If you observe photographs from agencies like National Geographic, their samples normally contain good use of a blurred background
Follow these simple steps to achieve a soft or blur effect:
If you’re not using a digital single-lens reflex or DSLR camera, don’t worry. A phone camera will do. Most mobile phones today are capable of softening the background.
- Place your camera near your cat, about 3 to 7 inches away.
- Make sure the space between the cat and the immediate background is wide.
- Press the screen where your cat is located
- Wait until the subject becomes clearer and the background becomes more blurry.
- Try different angles
The reason why most professionally-taken photos look great is that they are taken at an angle that an average person wouldn’t normally take. You might think that with your regular camera, you don’t have a lot of options. But you don’t have to obtain technology like a drone camera to take fresh angles. Here are a couple of tips:
- Worm’s eye view
This shot requires you to place your camera at a low position, preferably at the same level as your shoes
- Extreme close-up
You can also try to do an extreme close-up shot of your cat’s eye, which are a known source of beauty.
- Choose a unique background and location
Choosing an unusual and aesthetically-pleasing background and location is an automatic boost to a photo’s quality. Take advantage of your out-of-town trips where you bring your pet. Maybe it’s at a beach or a natural park. Nature is an excellent place to start. You can even take your cat to a pet-friendly vacation place.
- Get that Emotion
Emotion is actually one of the major considerations in photography and photojournalism contests. Photos that evoke a certain mood from your cats such as an accidental smile or surprise will surely make your picture outstanding.
The trick to taking photos with emotion is to wait. You need patience and persistence to wait for your cat’s special facial reaction that might only last for a few seconds. Take that camera out, have someone play with your cat, and wait till the furry pet does something with her face. It requires a little more effort to do, but it will certainly be worth it.
- Take advantage of beautiful lights
When you’re inside your house, search for a light source, like a ceiling bulb or a table lamp. When you’re outside, observe where the sun hits objects and what angle does it approach them. The trick to using light sources to your advantage isn’t just avoiding against-the-light photos. Sometimes, going against the sun actually makes your picture better.
One technique you can do is to take a photo of your cat with a slight shimmer of sunlight from her back. It will create a feeling of serenity and complexity. It is also important to take note of the time. Good sunlight is usually from 8 to 9 AM and 4 to 5 PM.
- Learn a little bit about post-processing
Post-processing means editing your photos’ settings through software. Don’t worry. You don’t have to download industry standard programs like Adobe Lightroom. Simple mobile apps like Lightroom and VSCO will do the job.
There are many quick post-processing lessons available on Youtube. But to help you out quickly here are a few tips:
- Go with whatever works with the photo. If your cat has blue eyes, maybe a cool, bluish color scheme will do.
- Typically, photos taken with a mobile phone have low contrast, meaning they look too bland. Good contrast between shadows and lights is a great help.
- Finally, a little cropping and straightening will make a huge improvement. For example, if you have a great photo of your cat but an ugly water bottle ends up in the background, crop it out.
Real professional photography takes good, expensive equipment and years of training and application, there’s no doubt in that. But you don’t have to have all the professional skills and equipment to take a professional-looking photo of your beloved feline friend. A patient and open mind will do to produce an amazing portrait. Just follow these simple tips and don’t forget to enjoy the process.