STE P BY STE P
The cat’s whiskers
1 Set burst mode
The cats will move around the entire time while you’re shooting, so use continuous high burst mode and ensure that it’s set to the maximum frame rate. This is usually on a dial on the top of your Nikon body, but if you can’t find it, check your camera’s manual.
2 Go long
Wide-angle lenses and getting in close to the cat create cute pictures where the cat appears to have a big head and a small body, like a kitten. But some cats will run away if fussed over, so you’ll need a longer lens. Try a telephoto lens to step further back from the animal.
3 Position your lights
To get the best spread of light, simply use two lights set camera-left and right, pointing at a 45-degree angle towards the cat and the backdrop. Choose ¼ power for shorter recycle times than full power (again, see page 36 for our beginner’s guide to using studio lights).
4 Set your exposure
There’s no ambient light in these set-ups, so use the maximum flash sync speed of your camera – ours was 1/200 sec. To keep the entire cat in focus we used f/8 while at ISO200, to give the photo a little exposure lift without introducing too much noise.
5 Get down low
Crouching is fine if you’re using a longer lens, but to go wider you need to get down to the cat’s eye level. Getting at their level helps viewers to identify with the cat. Many people take pictures looking down from standing height, so be different and get down low.
6 Shoot different poses
Sitting and begging poses will make everyone go ‘awww’, while cats getting ready to pounce or jumping after string with their teeth and claws bared look impressive. But ultimately, shoot whatever pose the cat strikes for you. Just try to avoid bum shots!