Photographing Cats

If you love cats, you appreciate great photographs of them. I have a cat-a-day calendar near my desk in my office and I delight in turning the page each day to reveal a new kitty photo. I also hang a monthly calendar with cats and look forward to each first of the month when I can turn to a new picture. My Christmas cards often feature cats. But most of all, I enjoy trying to snap great photos of my own cats (all inside kitties) and those that wander into my yard.

What makes for a good kitty photo? How do you get good photos of your cats? Well, I’m not a photographer, but I know some good ones. I remember one telling me that it is in the eyes—you must capture the subject’s eyes. And a cat’s eyes certainly reveal a lot of personality and attitude. But so does their body language. It is possible to get a creative and charming shot of a cat without seeing her eyes. In fact, some of my favorite pictures of our youngest kitty, Lily were taken when she was sleeping.

Here is my best tip for taking good pictures of your cats: Keep your camera (or phone camera) ready at all times. Because as soon as you put it away, they are going to strike an incredibly charming, award-winning pose.

I also recommend coming in close. Sometimes the scenery is important to a shot, but most often it is the cat you want to focus on and the closer, the better.

Be patient. But then if you have cats in your life and in your heart, you understand that they are rarely on your schedule. They seem to know what you want them to do and when, and no way are they going to accommodate you. Marvella Kitty may have been sniffing nose to nose with Simon, the parrot for ten minutes. But when the camera comes out, she walks off into the other room. Buster Cat may play crazily with a wad of paper in a box for an hour, but let him see that you have a camera and he will immediately fall asleep.

My most amazing cat photo won the People’s Choice Award at our county fair a few years ago and I can’t even take credit for it. My mother’s cat, Smokey, orchestrated this shot all the way. I was poised to get a sweet shot of him peering out through some bushes. As I snapped the picture, I heard a crash and saw him leap out toward me. I ended up capturing him in mid air intent on catching a bee between his paws. Scroll down and see the shot posted August 13, 2011.

Yes, I love kitties and I enjoy trying to photograph them. But I decided not to use one of my photos on the cover of my first novel—Catnapped, a Klepto Cat Mystery. Bernadette Kazmarski is the artist. See her artwork and purchase this cozy mystery here:

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