I’ve never been interested in animal portraiture … until I welcomed home baby Henri and had my first cat photography experience with him.

Love at first pic

Look at this cute little face, how can it not be?! I couldn’t help myself but to reach out for my trustworthy 135mm when I saw Henri graciously perched on his cat tree. Never thought I’d become a crazy cat mom … but here I am, unable to refrain my compulsive needs for photographing performant, handsome, lean and energetic athletes.

Here are three things that I found useful to grab these nice shots.

Autofocus tracking: ON

I found my experience as a sports photographer to be unexpectedly useful to snap my constantly moving kitten. My settings are already ready for action, so I took advantage of the autofocus tracking and the eye recognition function. (My Sony camera recognizes animal eyes but a few other brands offer this useful feature as well.)

White cat photography
Eye tracking comes in very handy to follow a constantly moving kitten.

Lots of natural lighting

The cat tree is next to my patio door, which is perfect to create a beautiful mood. Side lighting will not only help increase the cat’s hair texture but also enhance the color of his gorgeous and intense eyes. You’ll be able to make them pop even more in post-processing. Here’s an example of the editing I did in LuminarAI.

Wide aperture

My home — as pretty much everybody else’s I know — is a place where I actually live. And not all the things in there are worth being photographed, if you know what I mean.

Wide apertures (like f/2.8) helps blur the foreground and background and directs the eye straight to the main focus point. But beware, a very narrow depth of field also equals a very small in-focus area.

I got caught on this next picture: The focus has been made on the part of the nose next to the eyes but not quite on them. It’s a bummer, I really liked that pic! (This has been taken wide-open at f/1.8, and I was very close to Henri.)

White cat picture
Baby Henri with a backlit effect (the patio door right behind him). Unfortunately, the focus is on his nose!

How about YOUR cat photography experience?

This is the first — but probably not the last — article about this new part of my life! If you enjoy reading about animal photography, make sure to have a look at this article.

Do you own a cat? Do you enjoy photographing him/her? If so, please write in the comments below. I’d love to read and learn from your experience!