Cat Photography

How to Take Cat Photos You Will Love

Take better photographs of your kitty!

Do you feel disappointed when your cat photos don’t come out as well as you expected? Do you think they are too dark, too light, or wish you had done something differently?

There are some quick and easy actions you can take to improve your photographs. You don’t need to buy an expensive camera, all you need to get started are:

  • Your current camera or smartphone
  • Your cat
  • A bribe (usually cat treats)

Will My Camera Take Good Cat Photographs?
You may have a smartphone camera, a compact ‘point and shoot’, or a more professional DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex). There is no top camera for cat photography that you need to rush out and buy – use what you have.

These keep getting better and better. A smartphone will take great photos and recent models will even give you the soft-focus ‘depth of field’ effect using ‘portrait’ mode. Your smartphone is always there, and it will take a fast and candid picture. This can be edited later in a photo app on your smartphone or downloaded to a computer.

Depth of Field: For many cameras, depth of field is the distance between the nearest and the farthest objects that are in acceptably sharp focus in an image.


Compact cameras
These continue to thrive, and even the most basic compact has a lot of options. My best advice? Read your manual, explore your menus, and prepare to be surprised by how powerful your camera is.

DSLR Cameras
Used by amateurs and professionals, a DSLR takes more practice, but the results are worth it. You can achieve lovely portraits with a soft-focus depth of field, as well as, exciting and sharp action shots. Learn about the exposure triangle to make the best use of your camera. 

Exposure Triangle: The exposure triangle is simply the relationship between your ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. These three components work together to create an actual exposure.


How do I Start Taking Good Cat Photos?
Make picture-taking a part of daily life for you and your cat(s). Snap them eating, snoozing, and playing until they get used to your crazy human antics and ignore you while you take pictures. Take pictures every day, and your cats will get used to the sound of a shutter, and make sure they’re used to seeing the camera out!

‘Keep calm and take photographs of your cat’ is a great mantra!

Constant picture taking is how I started with my DSLR camera. I took photographs all the time. Taking family photos with the cats helped it become a positive experience for them. 

I admit that the cats gave me sideways looks for days, but eventually, they began to ignore the sound of my shutter and just carried on being cats. Now they don’t even notice the camera.

TIP: Focus on the cat’s eyes. With an eye or eyes in focus, your picture is halfway to being a success.

Know Your Cat’s Temperament
Some cats are natural-born actors who play up to the camera, but others turn away or are nervous. Patience is the key to successful cat portraits.
Just be ready to take pictures when you know your cat will be relaxed, especially active, or happy. Cats are often more alert around mealtimes so if your family is like this, be ready with your camera.

Natural Light is Great for Cat Photos
In the garden, take pictures in the morning or late afternoon, and you will be working with the fantastic light available at that time of day. If you want to see the impact of good light, look up ‘blue hour’ or ‘golden hour’ online.
For indoor cats, your light may be limited by your location. This can make your job more challenging but start by trying to capture or pose your cat near a window and make sure you stand with your back to the light.

Cat Action Shots the Easy Way
OK, I admit it’s never easy getting an action shot that is pin-sharp and perfect, but you can use your camera and its functions to get close. You will need to look for and activate one important setting.

  • Check your compact or smartphone settings for ‘burst’ mode. 
  • On your DSLR look for the ‘sport’ function. 

‘Burst’ or ‘sport’ modes instruct your camera to take a rapid sequence of shots. You stand a better chance of capturing movement as your cat leaps and spins in the air, or climbs high.

Keep Your Background Tidy
When you photograph a cat indoors, try to keep your background as clear as possible. You want to make your cat the star of your pictures not your sock on the nearby radiator (not a great look on Facebook). 
I hope these tips will inspire you to try taking pictures of your own cats. With a bit of practice, you will gain confidence, and your cat will strut its stuff on social media with the best! Now, check out the bonus tips below.

Bonus Tips:

  • Read your camera manual from cover to cover. You will be surprised by the functions you overlook because they are hidden away in a menu.
  • Be adventurous. Get close to your cat and fill the frame – it can look amazing. See how close you can get before you lose focus.
  • Cat photography in black and white can transform your picture in surprising ways – try it using photo software.
  • Check out for more photo tutorials from me!

Be Inspired by top cat photographers:
The New York Times wrote: ‘Before LOLcats there was Walter Chandoha’. He was the world’s first and most famous cat photographer who made taking cat pictures an art form. Check out books on his work, and see hundreds of gorgeous images online.
Rachel Hale McKenna – Inspiring, distinctive and inspiring cat photos that will make you smile
Larry Johnson – One of American’s finest current feline photographers. Watch this short video and see how a professional gets his amazing photographs.