How to Take Cat Photos

Taking good cat photos requires some patience and practice. Having a good camera helps, but it's only part of the story. Eliminate the trial and error by following published cat photographer Troy Snow's tutorial.

Troy Snow cat photos bicolor and tabby kissGive us a kiss!

Veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker has written a book called The Ultimate Cat Lover which includes some of Troy's work.

As part of a promotional effort by the publishers of the book, I was fortunate enough to be allowed to publish Troy Snow's tips on taking pet photographs on my site.

Troy Snow cat photos tabby and white

Troy's article, published in its entirety below, describes how best to take shots of Fluffy and Fido.

I was also given permission to use some of his cat photos, some of which are displayed on this page.


How to Photograph Your Pets

by Troy Snow

Digital photography has changed everything for the casual photographer. Instead of wasting roll after roll of film -- or not bothering to take pictures at all because of the trouble and expense of getting them developed -- it's now possible to take hundreds of pictures of your pet, happy in the knowledge that if there are just one or two good ones out of every few dozen taken, nothing has been wasted except possibly your time.

Even better, photo-editing software has made it possible to salvage a marginal image. With a few clicks of the mouse, the out-of-frame, out-of-focus, or just "not right" images are jettisoned forever. A few clicks more, and those images with potential are fixed up and made suitable for framing --- a crop here, a red eye changed to brown, the elimination of items cluttering up the background.

But the best pictures aren't made in a software program. They start with the knowledge of how to get great pictures at the first shutter click. Learn these basics and you'll end up with the memories that will last forever:

~ Get Outside ~

Taking pictures outside gives your pet a more natural, healthy look. But animals won't sit still like humans. Dogs romp, cats frolic, horses trot. Learn to adjust your aperture and shutter speed to shoot objects in motion, or use predefined program many cameras include. You'll capture the best of your pet's athletic grace.

If your pet is a solid, dark color, use your flash to bring out the detail in his or her face. If you do end up with a red eye, use photo-editing software (basic programs come free with many new cameras and computers) to fix the problem.

~ Get Close ~

If you want a good picture, you need to get on the same plane as your pet. Shoot at eye level or just above the eye level to get the best visual connection. Be careful not to get too low though. A long snout shot from too low an angle can block the eyes, breaking the connection you're trying to get.

~ Watch the Background ~

Think neutral -- a plain wall, not a cluttered cabinet, or a barn door, not a tool shed. Think contrast, but not too much -- a lighter background for a dark animal, darker for a light pet. If your dog loves to curl up on his paisley dog bed, consider throwing down a solid-colored blanket before you shoot. Your cat might look better against the solid green background of the lawn than in front of a busy garden bed. You might be able to edit a distracting background later, but it's easier to avoid it in the first place.

~ Be Patient ~

If you pet does something cute and you miss it, don't despair. Chances are, if you're patient and keep your camera ready, you'll catch an encore performance.

~ Get Help ~

Children make the best photographer's assistants. Get a kid to help get your pet's attention with a toy or treat or by posing with your horse, dog, cat, or other pet. Nothing is more adorable than kids and pets together.

~ Be Creative ~

If you want to capture your dog kissing your child, do what the pros do: put a little butter on your child's cheek, and let the dog lick it off. Food is good for more than kissing -- it's also great for getting your animal's attention for the shot. Squeaky toys and laser pointers work well, too. If you can get your pet to stay still for a few seconds, throw a toy (or even your car keys) in the direction you want him or her to look.

~ Have Fun with the Software ~

The camera's just the first step to a great picture. Basic photo-editing software can do more than fix errors -- it can turn your images into art! Play with colors, contrast, sharpness, and more, or use special effects such as "watercolorizing" to create something unique.

~ Keep Taking Pictures ~

Just as with children, people tend to take pictures of new puppies or kitties, then put the camera away. But your pet is always changing, and the images you one day love the most might be of your companion as a sweet senior.

So get out there with that new camera, whether it's a pint-size point-and-shoot or a sophisticated digital SLR. You'll find that pets are more patient subjects than people, especially if treats are involved for good behavior.


Once you've got your great photos taken, perhaps you'd like to share them with us?

Want To Add Your Own Cat Picture To The Gallery?

Would you like to share a cat picture with us? You can. It's easy. First, enter a description and a story about the picture. Enter some basic information, such as the name of the cat in the pic, and anything else you'd like us to know. Then, upload the picture below.

Submitted Pictures

Click below to see the current photo contributions so far or add your own...

Kevin from Exeter 
Kevin was a rescue from the back of a store in Bakersfield, CA. My co-worker would put out food daily only to have the store owner confiscate it. My …

Click here to write your own.


Pictures Of Cats

Cat Lovers Only

Want More Kitties in Your Inbox?

I guarantee 100% privacy.

Like this page

Like us on Facebook

Comments: What do you think?

Have your say about what you just read. Leave me a comment in the box below.

Like us on Facebook

Get the book on Amazon...

Meet Our Featured Kitties

Featured kitties September, 2015

10 Cutest Kitten Moments with Marmalade and Cole

10 cutest kitten moments with Marmalade and Cole

23 Cats Who Love Boxes. "Bonus Belle" is my favorite. What's Yours? 

The Rescue of Orange and Gary

The rescue of Orange and Gary

Latest Meows

  1. Male cat's interest in my female kitten

    I have a 10 month old cat. But recently I brought home a 5 month old female kitten to be his mate. He gets use to her but wants to bite her neck and jump

    Read More

  2. Casper's agonizing journey and fight to live

    Casper was born on 19.1.2013. He was very sickly and frail and was not going to make it. His mother suffered from PKD, and she couldn't nurse him. He

    Read More

  3. Cats won't use new covered litter box

    My cats have been using a litter box for 10+ years. I got a new covered one and now one or both are peeing on the floor just outside the box opening!

    Read More

How to Give 7 Maine Coon Kittens an Eye Test

7 Maine Coon kittens

Mama cat adopts orphaned baby bunny

Mama cat adopts baby bunny Bubbles

Which Low Cost Cat Food is the Best?

Which is the best low cost cat food

TJ the Tiger Goes on Vacation

TJ the Tiger at Big Cat Rescue

Morris the Horse Riding cat

Morris the horse riding cat

Cat Welcomes Home Soldier with a Meow and a Hug!

Adorable Orange Kitten Stalks Himself on Video

Orange kitten stalks himself on video

Weatherman Rescues Kitten from Tornado Rubble

Weatherman rescues kitten from tornado rubble

Kevin Richardson Snuggles with Lions

Kevin Richardson snuggles with cubs

Abandoned Puppy + Starving Kitten = ??

Travis puppy and Yoda kitten

Dogs Annoying Cats with Friendship

Dogs annoying cats with friendship

Shhhhh... Do Not Disturb. Adorable Kitten is So Tired!

These Two Flea Infested Kittens Had No Future, Until This Happened

You've Never Seen a Dog Show This Much Love for Foster Kittens. Until Now.

This Great Dane and Kitten Have a Love Story for the Ages. Tissue Alert.