Photo by Sarah Derrick
Photographing lively animals like cats is all about patience – try not to get frustrated if your animal won't do what you want. Remember, it is at heart a wild animal and they won't always do what you want them to do. You might want to sit around with your camera without taking photos a few times too so they get used to seeing the camera and won't attack it or run away when you take it out of its bag.
The most difficult thing about photographing animals, no matter how large or small, is that they move at the most inopportune moments. Setting your camera to continuous shooting mode may help you capture a good shot as they run off in a different direction. DSLRs feature quick continuous shooting modes but don't worry if you're not a DSLR owner as many compacts also have a continuous shooting mode built in. Compact owners can also switch to sport / action mode to increase your chances of getting a blur-free shot.
If you are looking to capture some action or movement shots, get someone else to play with your cat, distracting them so you can get some shots of them swiping and jumping without them going for your camera. Try getting your cat to run by throwing a toy or treat, and snap it in full run. A quicker shutter speed or switching to sports / action mode will help you freeze your cat's movement. To further enhance the feeling of speed, pan your camera, following your cat as they run. This will, hopefully, keep your cat sharp while the background is thrown nicely out of focus. If you don't want to have a go at panning, pre focus on a spot where you know your cat will run through and hit the shutter button when they come in to frame.
Photo by Sarah Derrick
Another technique, to create a more wild effect, is to watch your cat outside for a while and snap more candid style shots of it hunting or climbing on a wall. Try shooting side-on so you can get a shot just as it leaps in to action.
If you want some close up shots of your feline friend, try dangling a toy above it to get it to look up from the ground. You could also try getting your cat to paw at you to give the impression that it's leaping. Dangling a toy will also encourage your cat to keep still and keep its attention focused, to stop it wandering off. For less action-based shots, why not try capturing it lying down or stretching. Some really lovely shots can be taken while they're resting / sleeping, for example.
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