Thursday, July 27, 2006

I'll tell ya', a photographer must have a lot of persistence to photograph cats, and I do, and I do photograph cats!

It's not easy because cats work on their own schedule. They are lazy, insensitive to my concerns and time restraints, they don't care about much else other than eating, sleeping and looking good - but I love cats and I have three such rascals: two Calicos (Tortie Whites) and one that I call a "Malaysian Hook-Tail".

There is a strange breed of cat here that has a hooked-tail. I'm not sure if it is a genetic defect, or, part of this genealogical family of Malaysian cats that has this end-of-the-tail hook. The bone at the end of the tail is like the hook of a clothes hanger, very strange. I never saw a cat like this in the United States, which is where I'm from.

Anyway, believe it or not, the 'hook-tail' is actually my best ‘cat-face’ model - she is very pretty, but has this skinny body. If you only see her face, she is the most beautiful of the three cats. If you see her body, you would probably ask me, "Don't you feed your cat!"

Yes, I do!

They get all the food they want, 24/7! She is just a stick with fur, but she has this very beautiful face with emerald green eyes.

The Torties are pretty too, but they are so lazy and don't cooperate much when it comes time to be cat models. This is where I have to be the good slave-to-cats, and they expect me just to wait, and wait, and wait some more. Eventually, after many frustrating moments and missed frames, I get some nice portraits of my cats. So, there is HOPE in having patience!

So, if you want to take Cat Photography, be long-suffering.

If you lack patience, find another subject to photograph because Cats move to a different beat altogether, and most of the time, it's slow, and then fast, and then sleep, and then eat, and then cat box and then sleep, and then "don't bother me" and then, when you're not ready, BLAMMO! She's ready for a photo.

Here's some things to consider:
1) You can't force a cat to have her portrait taken; you just have to catch them at the right time.

2) You also can't count on every cat to be good subjects, so to cut back on your time, locate a cat that seems to want to get your attention, and then focus on that one.

3) When taking close-ups, if you can, cut back the flash by -2 EV, or you will burn out part of the photo. I prefer the early morning natural lighting, or late afternoon warm lighting because they tend to be the best times of day for cat photography outside.

4) A little fill-flash will help with unwanted shadows, especially with the long shadows you may encounter with early morning or late afternoon sun. Bright overcast conditions are good as they cut back shadow problems.

5) Make sure your own shadow is NOT in the picture. You need to move if you notice this issue.

6) When the cat moves, you move, but don't get them irritated, or they will become fussy little models and not cooperate any more.I think you get the general 'picture': Cats can make wonderful photo-models, but this is entirely on their own terms.

Go here to see a photo of my "hook-tail's" Cat Portrait.Cat Portraiture You can see more of my photography at

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