She’s a girl. We just got into the habit of calling her Fred due to long and convoluted reasons involving her real name “Sonata,” which lead to “Frankie Sonata” which somehow led to “Frankie Fred” and then just “Fred.” What can I say, we’re weird.
She has a sister who’s as pretty as she is, but a little more camera shy.
I think the key is to really be patient, and find a good time to take pictures when you can take time to get down to their level, relax with them, and take lots of pictures in one session.
I have two kitties, Sneakers and Isis, who get photographed a lot. Sneakers is an older kitty, so by now he is very used to the weird machine. Isis is a younger kitty whom we’ve only had for a month or so, so she’s still getting used to it.
Also, one thing I do is watch the cat through the viewfinder, with the button half-pressed to focus it. When the cat is looking or moving around, you’ll be able to see small pauses when s/he stops, and you can press the button then. That lets you get cute stuff like yawns.
Our cats are terribly photogenic, and Mr. Tao is a school district photographer/videographer, and it’s still hit and miss what comes out and what doesn’t.
Even though if we point a camera at them they just sit there and stare as if they’re posing!!
Until we REALLY want to capture a moment. Then they’re launching themselves at the camera to play. :smack:
Even the most basic P&S digital camera will still allow you to focus. You press the button halfway down with the crosshairs on the subject you want in focus, right? (Usually the eyes, for people or animals.) Then, while still holding the button halfway, you recompose the shot how you want it (being careful not to change the distance from the subject) and then shoot.
Judging by the number of blurry snaps all over the internet, though, it seems many people have no idea how to focus…
Near as I can tell, it’s a lot like the trick of cat nail clipping. You can jolly them along and get it done fairly smoothly if a)they’re fairly used to it and b) the equipment is right there next to you and ready to go. Once you get up to look for stuff or start fiddling around in a weird way, they know something’s up, and things just go downhill pretty rapidly. And the first few times are probably going to be pretty rocky no matter what.
The difference, of course, is that you can put 'em in a headlock and still get the nails done, but it makes for a seriously un-cute picture.
[li]Use a camera that has a wide aperture, to blur the background nicely.[/li][li]Make sure you have plenty of light—don’t use flash on a P&S.[/li][li]If the light is too low for fast shutter speeds, try setting the timer to 2 seconds, so you press the button and the shutter clicks two seconds later—that keeps your “button press” from shaking the camera.[/li][li]Focus on their eyes. The eyes are the most important part (my own cat photo notwithstanding)[/li][li]Get the cat used to the camera: Either take pictures of sleeping cats or sit around until they are bored enough to ignore you.[/li][/ul]
ETA: StarsApart, I love your photos! Beautiful eyes, great blurred backgrounds, neat yawns. Flash ruins the beauty of a cat’s eyes.
Yes, this is a good tip for all indoor home photography - the inside of most peoples’ homes is never a great backdrop for shots, especially if they have lots of clutter around. Blur the background to isolate the cat. But don’t use an aperture too wide, like 1.8, because then you risk having such a shallow depth of field that the cat’s nose will be out of focus when its ears are in focus and vice versa. Unless you’re deliberately trying for that effect, use at least f4.
I’ve take only one good cat photo in my live, and it was a combination of having the camera at hand, sensing when I was being stared at, and moving swiftly when I saw the opportunity. In other words, blind luck. Here is my one and only good effort.
[li]Always have a camera somewhere close, even if it is your cell phone. I took that photo with my iPhone, which is always in my pocket.[/li][li]A useful tip in general for photography is to look for two things interacting: not just a single cat by itself, but a cat and her ball of yarn or … two cats sitting side by side like an old married couple gazing at the rain.[/li][/ul]
No kidding. That “lioness” picture above was taken at F/4, and her ears are not in focus, while her tongue and eyes are.
That lens goes to f/1.4, but the depth of field at that point is about as thick as a sheet of paper. (I learned that after many crappy photos)
We’ve learned over the years that 1. cats stop doing the cute thing when they hear the camera start up, so power it up in another room if you can, and 2. cats are jerks, and they will stop doing the cute thing as soon as you get the camera just to be a jerk.
A bit of build up to this pic <which isn’t great or anything>: Mr. Tao leaves glasses of milk next to his keyboard and mouse. Regularly. The cats like to climb his computer desk since the top levels reach to the ceiling. Also regularly. An hour ago the cats obliterated yet one more keyboard, and maybe the mouse too, by spilling said milk all over said desk. I let one of the cats near/on my keyboard all the time, 'cause she’s cute and not that cuddly with me except for this one place. Then, she snuggles all day at me. And I let her, mostly.
So Mr. Tao’s mad that the cats are used to being on keyboards, I’m thinking “And…when are you going to stop leaving milk on your desk like that?” and this thread comes up and I look through my pics and I found this one… http://i52.tinypic.com/2n21pn6.jpg
What’s amusing is that is not MY computer. It’s HIS…
So clearly he started the whole ‘Hey let’s let the kitties up on the desk!’ thing.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that–in fact, I prefer that in portraits. As long as the eyes are in focus, the picture is fine. I default to f/2-f/2.8 for human portraits, and, depending on the photo I was going for, I’d be in that same range, maybe a stop slower, for animals.
It’s a matter of taste as to how shallow you like your depth of field, but I love the way it looks and the way it focuses your attention and draws you into a photo.
I like for the nose to be in focus as well as the eyes; the ears don’t matter so much. It’s more important for dogs than cats because dogs obviously have longer snouts. A dog photo can be ruined if the nose is blurry.