The MEOW in Pet Photography

Updated: Jul 1


Do I only photograph dogs? No. Do you photograph cats? Well, yes I do!


I wrote a book about Rescue Photography for dogs. I have had many requests to write a book about Cat Photography. One day, I will finish it. So in the meantime, a blog post.


Do I have experience with cats? Yes. Our very own cats many years ago, helped me to learn how to photograph animals. I love cat photography and I love cats!



If you think your photographer is some kind of "whisperer", you are mistaken. I do not whisper to animals. There is *NO* magic to pet photography.


If you know anything about our feline friends, you know everything is on their terms.




Seriously my secret to cat photography is be engaged with the cat or kitten. You have to play with them and keep their attention. The sessions are fast, you are constantly moving and you need a steady hand to hold the camera.


In all my years of photographing cats, treats rarely ever work. One time with a kitten at Paws & Claws Rescue, I gave the kitten some of my leftover salmon. Seriously, the salmon I had for dinner. The kitten went after it and we got our photos.


Most recently at a client session, she brought out her cats favorite treats. I did not think it would work, but it did. We had their attention. It seriously makes it so much easier if the cats will take to the treats.





Kittens are move active than adult cats. Adult cats can be easily spooked. Especially in studio, an environment they do not know.


Kittens will play and run. They can be fast.


It can take a simple feather toy. But you have to be fast on the shutter. Be ready to click the camera.




If you are photographing young kittens it helps to have handlers. I will have the handlers hold them slightly off the table and I count to THREE. On the count of three, they let go, I usually swirl the feather fast and snap the shutter on the camera.



Our feline friends are NOT posing.


Most of the kitty cats have heard 1,2,3, touch the table, see a feather and the camera snaps.


There is always an exception to every animal. Yes, there have been cats that know sit and various commands. Yes, some cats walk with harnesses and leash. Some cats like treats.


But in general, get ready to move fast, be able to hold the camera in one hand and a feather toy in the other.



When you see these close ups or I often call them head shots, I am very close.


I shoot with a wide angle lens and this lets me get very close to my subject. But also, it helps me to stay engaged with the cat.


If I was shooting with a portrait lens (Canon 24-70 or 70-200) I cannot be close to them. You have to step back.

So go as wide as you can get. I have 8mm lens and up.




Shooting with a wide angle lens can distort the subject. See how the kittens head looks big. This is from shooting wide. I believe I used 10mm in this photo. The kitten could slap the camera out of my hand. I am that close.


Does it ruin the photo? I don't think so. I think it is fun and gets attention. It takes practice to shoot with a wide angle lens.




An instinctive behavior of our feline friends, they like to be in something or up on something. Their natural instinct is to hide, stalk and pounce on their prey.


Just get a box out and let the cat play & hide. You will get good photos.






And yes, you can dress those cats and kittens up if you want. Of course you can. As long as they wear it.



There you have it, Cat Photography 101. It is fast and fun.





Cat Photographer Pet Photographer

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