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15 cat photography tips - How to take cute cat photos?

CachHayNhat - Who doesn't love cats and cat photos? But that begs the question, how do you get cute pictures of your cats?

In our guide, we'll provide all the tips and tricks for getting great cat photos.

photo of kitten in a cup
photo of kitten in a cup

(In fact, we have 15 of the best cat photography tips the Internet has ever seen!!)

There's also a section with some cat photography ideas to spark your creativity and a bunch of hashtags to grab the attention of your furry feline friends on social media. .

Why listen to me? Well, I have experience in this area - I am a cat lover with three furry ones of my own. And yes, I take A LOT of pictures of my cats.

The best thing about our tutorials is that you can use the same equipment, tips and ideas with dogs, rabbits and teacup pigs - any semi-submissive animal…

Let's dive into the cuteness overload!

15 Cat Photography Tips and Tricks

1. Choose the right equipment for the task

Choose the right equipment for the task

  • Camera

Good news - you don't need special photography equipment to take cute cat pictures!

You can take lovely photos with your smartphone, digital compact camera, professional DSLR or mirrorless camera. A compact camera with a zoom lens is perfect for those who are new to photography.

You can zoom out for a full body shot and zoom in for a close-up shot of the cat's face.

However, with a DSLR or mirrorless camera, using the manual control settings makes the cat photography process a lot easier.

Using the control dial, you choose aperture priority or shutter speed for simple operation.

Your chosen camera must also have fast autofocus to keep up with the fast and unpredictable movements of frantic cats.

  • Lens

A mid-range zoom lens is best for quickly zooming in and out to keep your feline friend in the picture. I recommend a lens with a range of 50mm to 200mm for cat photography.

If using a prime lens, the 85mm focal length range is ideal - you'll need to use a tripod to zoom.

The final feature of lenses for cat photography is aperture - the size of the shrinking hole inside the lens that allows light to pass through.

An aperture as wide as f/1.4 is a larger hole that lets in more light and creates a shallow depth of field.

An aperture as narrow as f/16 lets in less light and ensures a wide depth of field with everything in focus - as long as your cat isn't too close to the lens.


2. Dial in your camera settings

beautiful cat photography tips

If you're asking yourself, "How do I take cute pictures of my cats?" You've come to the right place! And for the sake of simplicity, we're going to look at the most accessible camera settings for the job.

The best settings involve using one of two semi-automatic shooting modes - Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority.

  • Aperture priority

Aperture priority appears on the control dial as A or AV. Set the aperture manually and the camera automatically selects the shutter speed and ISO for the desired lighting conditions and depth of field.

The aperture is too wide and your depth of field will be thin - the eyes are in focus, but the nose and ears are out of focus. The narrow aperture helps keep the entire scene in focus, including your cat.

A wide aperture lets in more light and a narrow aperture restricts light. I recommend an aperture of f/2.8 or f/4 for focusing on the face and f/8 for the whole body.

  • Shutter Priority

TV or S on the control dial indicates shutter priority mode. Set the shutter speed and the camera automatically sets the aperture and ISO in response to lighting conditions.

Unless they're sleeping in a bed, cats tend to move pretty quickly. If they are still there, set the shutter speed from 1/60 to 1/125 sec. For naughty cats, set a shutter speed between 1/125 and 1/500 to capture the action.

Fast shutter speeds let in less light while slower speeds let in more.


3. Trying to be a 'cat person'

beautiful cat photography tips

Some consider themselves dog people and others cat people. And some don't identify as such.

If you live with cats, chances are you're already a cat person. However, if you have never lived with a cat or do not consider yourself a cat person, you need to apply some characteristics to photograph them.

Cats are naturally curious, as long as they are in an environment they consider safe. If going to someone's home to photograph a new kitten, display a calm and peaceful personality.

Before pulling out the camera, make sure you do the following:

  • Sit on the floor and allow the kitten to come close to you.

  • Make them feel safe and secure by not backing them into a corner and giving them some personal space.

  • Keep your voice low and assure the cat that they are in charge here.

  • Play with cat toys to awaken their curiosity.

Now it's up to cats if they accept you in their home - that's life with cats!


4. Be prepared for the unexpected

beautiful cat photography tips

Cats make their own rules and won't agree to a photo session just because you're ready. With cat photography, be prepared and ready to go when they finally leave the laundry basket.

Chasing cats around the house doesn't end well and raises the common question of photographers, "Why are cats afraid of cameras?"

Cats avoid direct eye contact, camera and lens represent a big eye. Also, cats are not fans of their reflection when seen in the lens.

Taking pictures of cats with a smartphone doesn't seem to have the same effect - and we always carry our phones with us.

If the sun shines through a window at the same time every day, be prepared to have your cat show up and bathe in it. Sit in a good position and when they're in position, take the shot.


5. Focus on the eyes

beautiful cat photography tips

Cat eyes are attractive, beautiful, and incredibly eye-catching (pardon the pun).

When photographing cats, always focus on the eyes and use the rule of thirds - the same applies to any style of portrait photography.

The rule of thirds uses two horizontal and two vertical lines to cut the view into nine squares. Where the lines intersect is called a point of interest - place one of your cat's eyes on the point of interest for the best shot.


6. Get in as close as possible!

beautiful cat photography tips

Be honest; Cats are the cutest creatures on the planet - at least they think so! Get close and beautiful for full-face portraits.

If possible, place your eyes over the points of interest and make sure the face and ears are in the frame.

Cats don't like being shoved in the face by objects - they quickly react, so use a zoom lens to give your cat the space it needs while still taking close-ups.

Call them and snap as they turn towards you.

Once you've earned their trust (if that happens!), you can get really close and try your luck with the wide-angle lens - this will create a realistic cat portrait closeness - which is difficult to achieve with longer lenses.


7. Don't forget the full body composition

beautiful cat photography tips

For a full-body cat shot, observe a lazy cat running around the room. This is the perfect pose for a full body shot with the legs moving and the tail swaying.

Using your cat's (much) nap time is ideal for getting them to lounge around in bed - especially with beams of light across their bodies to bring out the textures and shapes in their coat.

If you have a white cat, get it to lie on a dark sheet (and vice versa for black cats). That way, you'll have enough contrast in your image, and your furry companion will stand out.

Finally, when cats roam outdoors, use the zoom lens to capture them sleeping on the lawn or sunny pruners.


8. Shoot from different angles for variety

beautiful cat photography tips

Cats look majestic from any angle - use this to your advantage when photographing cats.

Shoot from above eye level for an adorable cat shot where the head stands out slightly when compared to the body in the background.

If you have a scratching post or fence that cats like to observe their kingdom, go low and shoot up. They will appear regal and focus on a distant point of interest.

Make sure you crouch down to eye level to capture head-to-head shots of your black-and-white crowd.

The photo above was taken from below the cat's eye level, giving him a well-deserved sense of dominance!


9. Use burst shooting modes to catch the action

beautiful cat photography tips

Even with fast shutter speeds, we often miss out on the best moments when photographing cats.

Luckily, most cameras have a burst mode where you press the shutter button once and the camera takes a quick snapshot of the photos. This is great for pet photography.

Make sure to use the electronic shutter for quiet operation that won't scare the cat - the mechanical shutter is noisy and distracts the cat.

If you're using an iPhone, one trick to taking a good photo is to use Self-timer, which takes 10 photos in quick succession, letting you pick the best one and delete the rest.


10. Take your time

beautiful cat photography tips

Any cat owner will tell you that cats don't follow human timeframes or expectations.

Cat photography requires an element of patience and the ability to stand around like a cat waiting for the right moment to pounce!

If you know a sunlit floor will soon attract cats, relax and wait for the right moment.

Obviously, if you're the owner of your cat, you probably keep a camera within arm's reach from your sofa, ready to snap a picture at the right moment at a certain time of day.

If you're hired to photograph cats, you may not have much time, so do the best you can… or arrive a little early.


11. Curiosity caught the cat!

beautiful cat photography tips

Cat lovers will also tell you that cats are curious about their surroundings.

A gentle breeze that propels a dust bunny across the room is reason to check. Make the most of this and find ways to pique your cat's natural curiosity.

A curious cat appears more active with purposeful movements, straight whiskers, perched ears, and wide eyes - all of which look great when captured in photos.

To help your cat's modeling career, use the cat toy to activate hunting mode! The ears will be flattened, the eyes bulging, and the belly will sink to the floor.

(If you're lucky, you'll even get that fun little bottom that will wiggle right before they swoop in!)

Also, get your cat to jump and flip by keeping the toy overhead and out of view of the camera.


12. Do not use flash

beautiful cat photography tips

Two frequently asked questions I see on photography forums are: "Is it okay to use flash on cats?" and "Why do cat's eyes glow when there's a flash?"

Animals don't understand why a flash of light appears, and it can frighten your pet or affect the sense of security in the home. Avoid using flash when photographing kittens or any other animals.

Besides, cats hiding in the dark can create moody images.

Flash photography often results in photos where cat's eyes appear as glowing lights. This unattractive effect occurs because light rays are reflected from the back of the eyeball.


13. Take pictures of cats in their safe place

beautiful cat photography tips

Most cats, especially those that stay indoors, are spooked by the world outside the door.

Anyone photographing animals gets the best benefit from kittens or dogs when they are in their safe place. Home is where kittens feel safest and the best place to take great pictures of them.

If you're lucky enough to have a garden, make sure you give them some free time to roam and be ready with your camera.


14. Cat photography in the studio

beautiful cat photography tips

Another common question from photographers is, "How do you shoot a cat in the studio?" The answer is, "Very difficult!".

Taking cats to the studio to have a professional photographer do their magic is a special kind of madness. In some cases, it works - but the photographer is a cat lover and has experience in keeping pets calm and safe.

For studio-quality photos taken by a professional photographer, let them work from your home and set up equipment in spaces familiar to your pet.


15. Volunteer at a cat shelter

beautiful cat photography tips

If you love cats like I do, but don't have a cat of your own, consider working at an animal shelter or local animal shelter.

Most large cities have pet adoption and rescue centers where pets are featured on a website. Volunteer at a local center to take portraits of the cats so their online profile can attract the right prospective owners.

Plus, if your city has a cat cafe, stop by for an hour or two to hang out with some new furry friends.


11 Quick Cat Photography Ideas

I have lived with a few fur babies and have had a lot of experience photographing cats.

Here are some of my best ideas, tips, and tricks if you want to take great pictures of your cat lord!

  • Cats love to sleep - from 12 to 16 hours a day. Take a picture of your cat as he sleeps in bed or on a large duvet.

  • Cats lie in the sun to keep their body temperature up while they sleep. Sunlight is ideal for taking great photos of your cats - the cat's colors will stand out in sunlight.

  • If your furry baby likes to sit on the windowsill, snap them from behind for a shade.

  • With a cat sitting inside the window, take a picture from the outside. That way you have the cat and the mirror image in the same photo.

  • Cats spend about five hours a day cleaning and grooming themselves. While they're sitting still with their feet in the air, snap a photo or two.

  • The cats are evident when they're about to pounce - eyes wide, ears tucked and bottoms wiggly. Be ready to take pictures of where they intend to land.

  • If you keep your cat outdoors, take pictures of them exploring the garden. Go down to eye level with bushes and bushes that frame the shot.

  • If you have access to a lightbox, place the cat on it to let the light glow - they'll look like a cat God!

  • Make sure your background isn't cluttered so the cat's beautiful features show up in the picture.

  • Kittens are delicate - make the most of their early months and take pictures every day to track their development.

  • If you have a mix of animals together, try and photograph a group of the entire fur family.


As a cat lover, I am obligated to say that cats are supreme over most of the homes they choose to live in.

After all, they got into a box… and we faithfully cleaned it up!

In case you're wondering, the models for this article are all mine - Castiel (big gray girl), Elfie (gray boy) and Biscuit (ginger, black and white girl). I also have a dog named Yuki.

Other cats that I photographed at the Melbourne Cat Cafe. Biscuit's signature image in an orange teacup was taken when she was two weeks old - it's a normal size teacup.

Cats become fun and interesting subjects to photograph every day. They have unique personalities and some quirky personality traits that only their owners can understand.

Are you a cat person or a dog person? Do you love taking pictures of your cat's face to share with friends online?

What experience have you had with taking pictures of your favorite cats?

Share your comments and questions below to be part of the conversation. Happy shooting.


See more cat pictures:


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