STE P BY STE P

The cat’s whiskers

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

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!

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