This post has been sitting in my drafts folder, just waiting for the right time to ‘go live’ . Since I have been thinking about Jasmine all week (and it looks like we are getting close to having her ready for a new home- vet visit tomorrow!), I thought this would be an appropriate time to prove my love for the feline variety of furbaby.
Most people think that I only photograph dogs. This makes sense as most of the animals on my websites are dogs. However, not only do I shoot cats as well, but I have multiple repeat clients who own multiple kitties.
Although they only make up about 15% of my total shoots, I love photographing cats! It’s a totally different ballgame from shooting dogs.
In what way?
Lots of ways.
Cats are much more challenging to shoot than dogs for a variety of different reasons.
Dogs are EASY. Cats- not so much.
A) most aren’t super thrilled to have a camera shoved in their face, or anywhere near them for that matter. Especially if you are a stranger. They are pros at turning away with their back/shoulder facing the photographer.
B) they are constantly in motion. Not the start-stop kind of motion dogs do, but more of a constant, fluid, unpredictable motion. Dogs start, then stop. And pause. Then move again, then stop. Cats seem to only be stationary when a) looking out the window while stuck between a potted plant and the back of a chair, making photo-taking difficult at best, b) while half-lidded and nearing naptime and c) sleeping.
C) unlike dogs, they will do whatever they damn well please, thank you very much. It isn’t you, the photographer who gets to control how the shoot goes, it is the CAT.
D) many cats require ultimate patience to get really great shots. Great cat shots really do need to happen organically.
E) the same noises that will get the attention and perked ears of a dog will frequently make a cats ears fold back- a very undesirable look for a kitty in a photograph. It takes timing and patience to get the elusive ears up and forward, yet relaxed eyes shots.
However, even given these challenges (or because of them) I love shooting cats!
I tend to be a fairly high-energy person and move quickly and am always thinking and nearly always ‘doing’.
When doing a kitty shoot I am forced to slow down. My movements, my speech, my thoughts, even my blood pressure slow down. It’s like meditation. The Zen of pet photography.
I love that they control the pace of the shoot, and what happens next. Instead of feeling frustrated by this I feel liberated. I feel like the ‘happy accident’ shots are just waiting around the corner, which is often true when shooting kitties.
I am merely a bystander, waiting with my camera in hand to capture whatever special moment happens next. It may happen in 5 minutes, it may happen in an hour. It’s no matter. Like I said, I have ultimate patience.
I am always excited when I show up to a client’s house to shoot their dogs and discover that they have 1 or 2 cats as well that I didn’t know about. And you can bet I’ll be taking pictures of those kitties before leaving.
The only thing I wish is that more cat owners contacted me! I have had this conversation numerous times with friends who have cats, and the consensus seems to be that most people think their kitties don’t make for as interesting photographs because they are less expressive than dogs. I tend to agree with that to a certain degree, although I like to think that the kitties in these photos are pretty darn expressive. Love the cats! 🙂