EOS World professional S.T. Wong photographs an array of genres, from bike and product to events and pets. Since 2012, he began to enjoy photographing cats. In this article, he shares his know-hows on photographing these feline creatures found all over Singapore.
Be Equipped To Shoot
Most cats can be quite nonchalant unless provoked so photographing cats is not difficult. For cat photography, use an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens or an EF50mm f/1.8 STM portrait lens to get up close, and crop frame or full frame. The default settings on most cameras are auto ISO, shutter speed between 1/100-1/250, and an aperture around F4-5.6. To achieve a blurred background open the aperture widest, use AV mode and adjust your exposure compensation.
With the Canon EOS M50, I used ETTL flash, AV mode, ISO 400-3200, Servo tracking, aperture f/2.8-3.2 and burst mode. The sensor tracking was rapid and the EOS M50 with the kit lens and ETTL flash was able to precisely capture movements and moments. The best feature was the 360 LCD live view screen, as I could get a low angle on the floor to compose and select the focus point in the most difficult corners.
Know Your Subject
Stray cats are mostly found where food is abundant. Cats are generally awake in the evening and morning before 11 am. If you plan to pop into a cat cafe, note that the cats aren’t so active in the afternoon because they sleep about 14 hours a day.
Canon EOS M50 | f/1.8 | ISO 400 | 1/30s
Canon EOS 5D Mark III | f/3.2 | ISO 12800 | 1/160s
As a friendly gesture, cats brush against you to mark its scent on you. Observe patiently and you will learn more about the cats movement and behaviour.
Prepare Soft Lighting
Cats tend to react to any sudden movement strangers make. So if you are using a flashlight, getting the right light on the creature is key to getting a clear view of its features and details. I highly recommend using soft light around cats and wait for the cat to get used to the change in environment before shooting. Some cats may loiter around the new light source, as cats love heat.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III | EF85mm f/1.8 USM | f/1.8 | ISO 400 | 1/125s
After introducing the light, slowly move around and simulate photographing around the cat. Once the cat settles in, you would be able to get the shots you desire.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III | f/3.2 | ISO 5000 | 1/160s
Bring Out The Details
Lastly, remember to set your camera to aperture priority while shooting cats. If you are taking pictures of white or black cats, switch to spot metering and RAW format for a simple post-processing to bring out the details of the cats.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III | f/2.8L | ISO 200 | 1/250s
Follow S.T. Wong on his photography adventures on his website https://www.a-teamphotonvideo.com/.