How to Take Better Photos of Your Cat — 10 Top Tips

Yoda Fluffy Kitty

When scrolling through your phone, does your camera roll feature cat picture after cat picture after cat picture? Yep us too! There’s something so special about capturing our feline friend’s moods, funny quirks & magical cuddles. But have you ever wondered how to take better photos of your cat?

Whether it’s just for your own sense of achievement, to hang on the wall, or to share with the world as a cat-fluencer on the old ‘gram — here’s a guide on how to take cat photos that are truly captivating! 

Capturing our Fluffy Yoda has been a huge part of our bond with him, and sharing his personality is something we always strive to do when we share our photos. So we’ll be sharing some of our special tricks, as well as some creative cat photography ideas for you to experiment with!

Let’s start with tip number 1…

How to Take Pictures of Your Cat

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1. The Best Camera for Cat Photography

Of course, in photography, your camera is going to be pretty important! 

The goal here is to capture your fur friend’s unique personality traits or the mood they are in at a certain moment. To do this, you’ll likely want a camera that can keep up with you (and your cat!)

Of course, if you’re simply looking to take better photos to add to your memory scrapbook — any relatively new phone will work wonders, as these cameras are already such good quality. 

If you are wanting to up your game on Instagram, and maybe even get a following as a cat influencer, you’ll want to think about boosting the quality of your photos. To do this in a relatively simple way (without wading too deep into the world of DSLR cameras) you’ll want to look for a phone with a ‘telephoto lens’.

A telephoto lens will allow you to really capture your pet’s face and eyes in detail, without the bulkiness or hassle of a full camera setup. If you are an iPhone user, these models have a telephoto lens:

  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone Pro Max

If you’d rather not invest in an expensive new phone, you can actually get telephoto lens attachments for iPhone and Android instead! Though these are a little more fiddly, of course. 

Additionally, if you really want to up your game or are even thinking of taking your pet photography professional, then you’ll want to invest in a DSLR. 

One of the best cameras for cat photography is The Sony A7iii. It’s used by a lot of pet photographers because it’s not super heavy and is small enough to pack easily for shoots, but it still has great dynamic range and low-level capabilities too. 

Lens Recommendations:

  • If you want a good all-around lens that can handle action shots, then look for one with a fixed aperture of around f/1.8 and 85mm in length.
  • If you want to create softer backgrounds and dreamier shots, look for a 105mm or 135mm. 

2. Best Settings for Cat Photography

Sometimes we get lucky with just a click and shoot, but how cool would it be to know how to maximize your chances of great cat photos every time?

That’s where settings come in. Having the right settings can make a great photo EXTRAORDINARY! So what should you be looking at?

  • For Phone/iPhone:
    • Flash – Keep it off!
    • Burst mode – Useful for capturing action shots, burst mode allows you to take lots of shots in one go. 
    • AF lock – This is really great for portraits, as it allows you to lock in the focus and exposure on a certain area of your photo — like your kitty’s eyes, for example. Hold your finger on the main focal point on your screen and you’ll see a yellow box appear. From here, drag the little sun up or down to adjust the brightness to your liking.
    • Portrait mode – From the iPhone 11 upwards you have a handy tool in ‘portrait mode’. This clever tech recognizes pets, allowing you to take amazing portraits, creating those lovely in-focus cats and a gently blurred background!
  • For DSLR:
    • Action – To get those action shots down, turn your camera’s ‘shutter priority’ or ‘sports mode’ on if they have it. Or simply make sure you are working at a shutter speed of around 1/1000s or faster.
    • Autofocus – If your target is slinking, pouncing, or prancing, turn your autofocus onto ‘continuous’ mode. This tells your camera to continue to adjust the focus as you move and capture all that glorious movement — for example, your cat in the process of a jump. 
    • Focusing In – For portraits, try using the ‘single point’ or ‘expanded point’ focus settings. This gives you control over where you want the focus to be aiming, instead of letting your camera search on its own. This can be really helpful when your camera just wants to focus on that shiny nose too!

3. Think About the Eyes

“The eyes are the window to the soul” is very true, especially with our beloved pets. It’s a clue into our kitty’s emotions, character, and individual magic. So always see how you can make them the feature of your cat photos— even if it’s using their POV!

One of our favorite tips is to try to capture a ‘catch light’ — that special sparkle or reflection in your cat’s eyes. Try this by placing them in a position where the light falls on their eyes gently. (This can help with your focusing too!)

4. Think About the Angles

Cats are not the tallest animals, so we have to think about the angles we use in creative ways to avoid them looking like furry blobs! Try these cat photo ideas:

  • Eye-Level – Photographing cats from eye level can help capture those expressive eyes and that inquisitive spark we love. Especially if you lure them towards you with a toy. This also means you’re looking at the world from their point of view, which can make for a really cool backdrop. 
  • From Below – Our fur friends are pretty good with heights, right? Yoda loves climbing furniture, his tree, and…well…pretty much anything else he can! So it’s really cool to emphasize this wild and natural behavior by taking your cat photos from a low angle, as your little lion surveys their kingdom!
  • From Above – The aforementioned height issues come into play here, so unless you’re going for a comic angle, be careful not to squish your feline friend into a furry blob by playing with alternative bird’s eye views. Perhaps try using an interesting background or capturing those catchlights in a new way.

5. Think About Lighting

Play around with lighting to find a style and mood that suits your cat. For example, many photographers love how that afternoon Golden Hour looks, whereas others think clean morning light works best.

It’s not great to shoot in bright sunlight, as you’ll likely have issues with brightness and contrast. Often a cloudy day can produce better photos, as there’s a softer light source to work with.

You can experiment with a backlight if you’re feeling up to trying something super creative. This can make for a beautiful glow, but you’ll need to make sure that you have a good light source on your kitty’s face too, otherwise they might get lost. 

Yoda Fluffy Kitty

6. Getting Their Attention

While you might like a far-away stare from your kitty to express their intelligence or sense of whimsy or calm, now and again you might want something more energetic or direct. 

Play on what you know about your kitty here, to get them in the right mood. Perhaps their favorite toy, an assistant with a flirt pole, or some new catnip could be the secret weapon to a slinky action shot. You could even try tossing some treats to get some pounce shots too!

If you are outside, you could try rustling paper or dry leaves to fire up their curiosity, or just follow them as they naturally explore a new surrounding. 

7. How to Get Cats to Pose for a Photo

If you want to get some specific shots or have a creative concept in mind, you might be wondering how to get cats to actually pose for pictures!

To get reliable poses, you’ll need to start clicker training your cat. We have a dedicated post on this, with some ideas for tricks you can train too. Once your cat has the concept of clicker training down, the sky’s the limit!

You could train them to hug you or your other pets, to stand on a platform, or even bow for their fans.

8. Cat Photography Props

Using clothing and props can create adorably cute or hilariously funny photos that stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s the yearly Christmas card or a sentimental portrait — get creative!

Here are some of our favorite cat photography props:

9. Get Creative With Location

I think something that really grew Yoda’s following is the locations we photographed him in. Taking him along on our travels and sharing that with the world helps to inspire others to include their cats in their wanderlust plans, so finding an exciting backdrop can really energize other owners. 

So if you can leash train your cat, why not take them out to a new spot with a seriously cool backdrop and get snapping?

Even if you’re staying indoors, be creative. Is there a new spot in your house that can add a different dimension to your photos? Maybe even getting some action shots on some cat steps!

Whatever it is about your cat that makes them unique, build this into your locations. Have the world around them reflect who they are inside. 

10. Be Patient & Stay Safe

While we might be desperate to get the perfect shot, often that’s the last thing on our cat’s mind. So it’s a good idea to remind yourself to be patient and take a break if your kitty seems resistant, scared, or tired. 

Be sure that any costumes are safe and do not irritate your kitty’s skin. Always make sure they are safely leashed when outside (you can always edit out a leash afterward.) And as always, keep their health and happiness first, don’t put yourself or them at risk just for ‘the gram’! 

Bonus Tip — Top Accessories for a Better Cat Photo:

There are a few accessories that can help to fire your imagination for creative cat photography, or that are simply practical lifesavers when you are trying to get a shot while on the road or on a particularly gloomy day. 

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Phone tripod – Want to know how to take cat photos without anyone to help? This tripod has your back! 
  • Backdrop – In case you want to get some seriously beautiful portraits and focused portraits or start offering portraits to other wonders too.
  • Ring Light – For dewy portraits even on gloomy days. 
  • Camera Strap – For when you are out on the road, to keep your camera safe and your hands from cramping (plus it’s super cute!)
  • Camera Bag – If you’re serious about your gear and your travel photography with your kitty, you’ll want to invest in a camera bag to save your back from giving out.
  • Picture Frames – For when you find those perfect cat photos.

The Wrap Up — Creative Cat Photography:

We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to take better cat photos. Taking great photos is such an amazing way to capture beautiful memories together. So please do share any special pictures with us on social media. You can tag us @fluffyyoda 🙂

Do you have any photography tips for us? Any prop ideas we can use? Let us know down below!

The Fluffy Kitty

The Fluffy Kitty blog inspires cat owners around the world to live a more adventurous and eco-friendly life with their cats. Read more about our story on our about us page.

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