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How To Take Better Pictures of Your Cat (With your phone!)

“The best camera is the one you have with you” – a motto that definitely applies to taking great pictures of your feline friend! And today, we all have great cameras on our phones! But what makes a picture look really great and show your kitty in the spotlight she deserves? Kerstin, photographer and foster manager for Project LUNI shares her tips below. Give them a try and share your most successful photos with us!

First of all, PLAN your own little photo session with your fur baby. Tidy up your place, so you have a clutter free background for your shots. Then, have a look at kitty and check that her eyes and ears have been cleaned or gently wiped them with a soft cloth. To finish it off, give them a little brush to get rid of dust and smoothen their fur. Don’t forget to reward this with treats!

Ideally, get a friend that is familiar with your cat to help you during your photo session! While you take pictures, your “assistant” can help you direct your kitty’s attention by using treats (and quickly removing them) or waving a wand toy over the camera. They can also help place your cat back onto the “spotlight” that you chose for your session. 

Another trick to get a kitty’s attention is making funny sounds… squeak, whistle, smacks… anything that she hasn’t heard before and will make her look at you!

To get natural looking pictures, avoid using your flash! Instead, take the pictures on bright day, when lots of natural light is available. You can place your cat near the window, while placing yourself with your back facing the window. Side view may work as well, but never shoot against the light unless you want a silhouette!

Get physical! The best is to get on eye level and throw yourself on the floor! Or place kitty on a couch/table so you can shoot from their perspective at eye level. Also, try and show special connections your kitty has with people: sit them in someone’s lap while being pet, have them look at you or snuggle them. 

The portrait function on your phone can make your picture look more “snappy” by blurring the background and only leaving your subject in focus. Play around with this function (iPhone: change the F value, Samsung: use Blur or Big Circle).

Spend a little time on “post production”. Crop away distracting background or change the values/styles used in portrait function to find your desired effect. Avoid applying too many filters, but play with exposure/brightness/contrast to enhance your portrait!

With a little bit of planning and a lot of patience, treats and love you can get great pictures. You can even start with sleeping kittens by placing them in their basket in a sunny spot. 

Lastly, when shooting, take a lot of snaps of the same moment – then pick your favorite one! You might not even be aware of a funny face or yawn they pulled at any moment! Most of all make your photos a positive experience with lots of praise, rewards, toys and treats. If you kitty is not in the mood, simply do it another day!

About Kerstin
Kerstin is a German photographer who managed to combine her love for animals and photography and specialized in pet family portraits. In 2018 she started volunteering for Project LUNI and has since taken hundreds of adoption pictures for tiny kittens and street cats. She also co-manages Project LUNI’s foster program which helps to find Singapore’s street cats and kittens their forever homes (in 2021 already over 250 cats have been rescued). Since circuit breaker 2020 Kerstin’s own rescue cats Marvin & Zelda have also helped to raise and rehome 17 kittens! To further her knowledge, Kerstin is currently doing her Cert 3 in veterinary nursing. Although Kerstin mainly works with cats, she also feels a strong connection to dogs and other animals – she has also done dog calendar shoots and would love to “shoot” bunnies or other animals any day.
While others say “never work with kids and animals”, Kerstin loves taking on those challenges. Her sessions usually take place in people’s homes or their favourite outdoor places and she loves patiently getting to know the animals and their pawrent to ensure they feel comfortable with a camera and will show their natural selves in the pictures. 

The Pawmise team thanks Kerstin for this beautiful piece and the super adorable pictures for this article! We hope these tips work great for you if you're working on taking forever pictures with your furkid!