Mindful Monday – Portraits of Cats—How to Capture Your Cat at Her Best

This week’s blog fare is varied. Throughout the week we’ll focus on some of the smart and clever things cats do—one of my favorite topics. As a contrast, I’ll share stories of cat oopsies—some of the missteps cats take. We’ve all watched comical episodes of cats losing their grace. I’ll also talk about some amazing cat happenings in the news, and I’ll give an update on an upcoming book with a timeline as to when you can order it.

Today I’m sharing portraits I’ve collected over the years—some are friends’ artwork and others are some of my favorite cat photos. I also photograph birds, and I have to say it’s easier to get an amazing bird shot than a great photo of a cat.

I took a class once in cat photography and learned something valuable. It was actually one of those duh moments. My strategy when photographing my cats is to snap a picture when I see one of them striking a pose. And it works most of the time with Lily. If I have to move to reach the camera phone or go into another room to get the camera or move closer to the cats, Sophie’s gone. She’s a horrible photo subject. Lily, however, will usually stay in the pose until I’ve gotten my shot.

The photographer who led the workshop I attended suggested setting the scene for cat photography, then allowing the cat to be a cat. The photographer goes into another room and closes the door. He places the props he wants in the shot, maybe lays out a blanket or cloth where the interesting props are and arranges the lighting to his liking. He might take a couple of shots to check the lighting, contract, color, etc.

His props might be Christmas decorations; a patriotic

Lily with battery-operated candle.

scene—small flag, etc. He might create a mood with candles (I recommend the battery-operated candles, not real candles). Maybe he brings in a fishbowl with a goldfish in it or he simply wants a photo with the cat sitting at a window with a view. Whatever theme he chooses, once he sets it up, he opens the door to the room and the cats either immediately or eventually go inside to check out the changes he’s made in there. You know how cats MUST check out changes to their environment. Whether it’s packages brought into the house after a shopping trip, the chair you moved to a different spot in the room, the jacket you draped over the sofa when you came in from outside, or a potato chip you dropped while munching. Cats are going to spend at least a few moments examining whatever is new in their space.

So the cats enter the area the photographer has set up and he is at the ready to take whatever shots they create. Does it work? Yes. I’ve tried it and it certainly does work. If you decide to experiment with this concept, I’d love to share the results with my followers.

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