Friday, December 21, 2018

Catmas Wishes - Getting That Perfect Photo

It's the holiday season and people all over the world are posting photos of their furry family members on social media and sending holiday cards with their cats or dogs featured! I'm always amazed how well some of these photographs turn out, especially with cats! I can easily take 100 photos and only have one that will be clear with the girls facing the camera. Do you ever have this problem? How do you get those photos that can be shared around the world and kept for those precious memories?


Truffle and Brulee with their Cuddle Clones Plush Clone

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a professional photographer. There are times my photos turn out beautifully and others where they just aren't quite right. Take the photo above - It's a cute photo of the girls, but the only thing really in focus in the box and the Cuddle Clones® Plush Clone Brulee on the bottom left. What were some thing I could have done differently?


Why did I use the photo as a leading photo? To be honest, I recently had knee surgery and was trying to get a photo of the girls with their Plush Clones from Cuddle Clones. Normally, I would get down on the ground at eye level with the photograph and try to have natural light behind me. These are some of the recommendations I've read from blogs where I've admired photographs. 


Brulee with natural light from the afternoon sun behind me

It's difficult to get great photos of Truffle and Brulee, especially Brulee, because of their white fur. They have beautiful green eyes and I can only truly show their various shades of green if I can capture the natural light from the afternoon sun coming through the window behind me. The trouble is, the girls don't always cooperate by sitting or resting in the correct position. The photo above was quickly captured one afternoon when Brulee was behind me on the chair and I turned around and grabbed my cell phone to take a photo. It's still not a perfect photo because her fur isn't clear and only one of her eyes is clearly focused, but you can begin to see the two shades of green on her left eye.


Brulee under the chair with the late afternoon sun coming through the side door

Rick Reichenbach, a Louisiana-based photographer who concentrates primarily on cityscapes, urban decay, travel photography, and pet portraits spoke at the 2018 Cat Writers' Association (CWA) Annual Conference and shared some of his recommendations for taking photographs of cats. Rick is a professional member of CWA and author of How to Take Beautiful Pictures of Your Cat.

Rick recommended that you capture a picture of your cat doing what she wants to do. If you try to make a cat pose with a particular background or product, nine times out of ten, the cat isn't going to cooperate and the photo won't be successful. I've resorted to keeping a camera in almost every room in the house, but usually keep my cell phone close by because that's when I can capture the best photos.


Brulee investigating her Plush Clone

The photo above isn't a clear photo because I didn't place the stool in a location in the room with the sunlight behind us, but you can get an idea of Brulee doing what comes natural to her - being curious. I'd just opened the Cuddle Clones Plush Clone of Brulee and sat it on the stool and Brulee immediately jumped up on it and proceeded to check it out. Rick also reminded us that cats crave routine and want safety and security. If you are trying to take photos around something new, you should give the cats time to become accustomed to it before trying to take photos. If you have the opportunity to be at home during the day, begin noticing where your cats tend to be throughout the day. This way, you can prepare for photo shoots in areas where the cats are comfortable already during a certain part of the day. One recommendation Rick gave us was to use stuffed animals of the same coloring to test photos for lighting. I immediately thought of the Cuddle Clones Plush Clones of the girls. I received a Plush Clone of Truffle last year and knew I wanted to get another of Brulee so I could try out this theory. Brulee's Plush Clone didn't arrive until a few weeks ago and I was in the middle of preparing for my surgery, but I now have to Plush Clones to work on setting up photo shoots to use hints and photography strategies to get the perfect shot. You can read more helpful hints from Rick Reichenbach about taking photos of cats at The Cat Site in an article "Cat Photography 101: Turning Your Cat's Habits to Your Advantage."


Successful Photographs

I've used some of these recommendations from Rich and from other cat bloggers who I've admired their photos to capture some of the photos below.

Other key pieces of information about photographing cats:

  • Don't use a flash
  • Use natural light, when possible
  • Test the photos with a stuffed animal of similar color and look for problems with lighting and stuff in the background
  • Get down on the level with your cat to capture a photograph
  • Consider using a backdrop behind your cats. Make sure it's placed in the location well in advance of your photo shoot
Some of my favorite photographs of the girls in 2018





Cuddle Clones Plush Clones

I've already shared a review of the Cuddle Clones® Plush Clones this past June. I was very impressed with the likeness of the Plush Clones to Truffle and Brulee. As I stated in the past, it's important to select the best photos of your cat to show her unique features. Cuddle Clones goes out of their way to get the coloring and features of your pet correct. Eye color is the one thing that you must choose from a selection given to you. You have the choice of having your pet sitting or lying down. Truffle and Brulee are silver shaded Persians which means they have a base coat of white fur with gray tips that give the appearance of being silver. Cuddle Clones did a great job with the correct shading on their faces and backs. The eyes and mouths were the hardest to get right, but I am happy with the result. Brulee has that Persian pout and her Plush Clone has more of a frown, but it's obvious it's Brulee.

Brulee with her Cuddle Clones® Plush Clone

Truffle with her Cuddle Clones® Plush Clone

I'll be sharing more photos of the girls with their Plush Clones so you can see how similar they are. I'm also going to try using the hints I learned from Rick at CWA when I can get back down with my knee.

I wish you the best as you try to capture those wonderful photos of your cats.




Giveaway

I truly appreciate Cuddle Clones willingness to sponsor this post about hints on taking photos of your cats, especially using a stuffed animal to help you. They've agreed to let us host a giveaway where one of our lucky readers will have the opportunity to win a Cuddle Clones Plush Clone of their pet. This is a $249 code that will allow you to build your clone on their website. The process may take a couple of months because of the holiday, but we know you will be pleased.

Plush Brulee and Plush Truffle

Giveaway Guidelines

No purchase is necessary. The giveaway is open to residents Internationally. Yes, you heard us correctly! This is open to our friends from around the World as long as you 18+ years, except where prohibited by law. The giveaway will run from December 21 - December 31, 2018 and end at 11:59pm ET. One winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter (powered by Random.org) and notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours to claim her prize; failure to do so will result in forfeiture of the prize and a new winner will be randomly chosen. To qualify for the giveaway, a comment must be left on our blog post (make sure you indicate you commented on the Rafflecopter app). Since this is an International giveaway, everyone will be required to answer a simple question before having access to the optional entriesOther entry options are available after a comment and an answer to the question is left.  Please check your email and be sure to add sweetpurrfections@sc.rr.com to your address book!  Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

53 comments:

  1. click, click, click, click....it often takes over 20 of the same photo to get one decent one!

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  2. Plush turns into a furball with eyes in a lot of pictures - black cats are hard, furry black cats with squishy faces are harder. Lol. The little girls never stop moving and Treeno walks into the camera as soon as he notices it. I have lots of nose and eyeball pictures of him.

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  3. My human is lucky I will pose for her, but her favorites are still the casual pics.

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  4. I try to photograph Carmine naturally doing whatever he wants. Sometimes it takes a while before I get him doing something I want him to with a product, but he is happier that way, and it can be fun!

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  5. My dogs are okay at it. I love natural lighting.

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  6. We have a very limited time during the day for natural light photos as we only have an east exposure. So early morning is best for us.

    Laila

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  7. Great tips. Mom always has a problem finding a good spot without glare.

    The Florida Furkids

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  8. Those are good tips. I always tried to use natural lighting for Eric and Flynn and very rarely the flash. Those cuddle clones are amazingly realistic.

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  9. You girls are always the purrfect photo models!

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  10. Oh my! What a great prize for the winner!

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  11. Wonderful tips and I particularly like the one about capturing a picture of a cat doing what they enjoy doing rather than trying to pose them. You take such fab pictures of Truffle and Brulee, they always seem so ready to pose!

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  12. Great tips. Thank you. Our human is a terrible cat photographer. I hope she learns something here!

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  13. We don't have any direct sunlight in here so TW basically always has to use flash. Our hints would be that TW usually rests the camera on a flat surface like the floor to hold it steady. The other hint is our secret—PHOTOSHOP THEM!

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  14. My tip is to take a photo when they are distracted by something, like looking out the window at birds.

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  15. Great tips. I wish we got more natural light in my house because the flash messes up so many of my photos.

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  16. You might not have the designation as a pro - but you inspire me every post with your photography.

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  17. I love that you are sharing these great tips. Cats can be really tricky to photograph, but it is worth the effort.

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  18. I try to look like I'm not looking at them or pointing the camera at them. As soon as they see me pointing, they tend to look away quickly.

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  19. I have decided that when it comes to taking pics of Layla what comes out is what it is as she is smart and just sees the camera and will do anything to avoid a photo. I am having problems with videos as they seem to be dark all the time and cannot figure out why and really want some of her doing her quirky things. Great ideas for pets in general when it comes to photography.

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  20. I am much better at taking photos outside with lots of natural light - that's one of the reasons I take more photos of Ruby (our dog) than our kitties (because they stay inside). Our house doesn't have tons of natural light unfortunately. Some day I want to get an indoor photography light. I love the tip about practicing with a stuffed animal!

    And oh my gosh, the cuddle clone is ADORABLE!

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  21. Your Cuddle Clones are just gorgeous! Our mom is working on taking better photos of us. I admit, she has improved a little over the years. Thanks for the tips.

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  22. I've heard about cuddle clones before and think they do great work. They are a bit pricey for my pocketbook but love the pic with Truffle and Brulee and their "clones". I always enjoy your photos with your girls. They really are stunning. I know you are a proud mama. Yes!! The best tip I use is getting down on their level and natural lighting.

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  23. Your two still mange to be perfect models in spite of everything! Once I get my DSLR settings right I can start investing in good backgrounds. for Now I learn to focus and set apertures LOL!

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  24. Taking good photos of pets is hard. I think I just need to get a better iPhone to make up for my lack of photog skills

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  25. That's for the link to the cat site article - just had time to finally check it out. I need all the help I can get. I like the idea of trying to set the scene with the cuddle clones or another toy first - at least you improve your odds.

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  26. Natural light really is the best! My dogs always do adorable things in the middle of the night, and those photos never look as good.

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  27. I hope you guys have wonderful Christmas. Cookie can't wait to be able to open her presents.

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  28. Oh, that's sweet that now Brûlée has her own plushy. And it is a very good likeness of her, too! Miss Paula, Mom and I think your photos of the silver dolls are always grr-eat! Mom thanks you for sharing the idea about using a plush toy initially to set up lighting for a kitty photo shoot. She'll have to try that. Winks.

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  29. Love this post! As a photographer, I tend to see pictures in my mind as I shoot them. I love all aspects of photography. I must say, your photos are always so lovely! These are great tips you've shared, and I always like to get down on the pet's level or use a fisheye to capture all five in a photo with a different look to it. I, too, prefer natural lighting, but with Huskies, who move very fast if I don't have a treat to capture their attention, I will set it on sports mode to allow for more frames per second. I just love the Cuddle Clones! Something I've always wanted to do of my FiveSibes for me! Thanks for hosting such an awesome giveaway!

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  30. I like to use treats to get good photos. It gets their attention and I can snap a bunch of pics.

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  31. great stuff about photography. Thanks.

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  32. The mom isn’t the best photographer but she tries not to use the flash when taking photos of us.

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  33. Wow, those Cuddle Clones are pretty darned realistic. And we love how you talked about how to get good photos!

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  34. We never use flash, and take LOTS of photos. Momma also tries to get our attention with funny noises.

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  35. I like to use cute props up close when taking pics of my pets

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  36. the best way i can take pictures is show my pup his treat and have him sit or give me paw ( which makes a great picture)

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  37. Treats lol if I have treats in my hand that’s where their focus is lol

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  38. I use treats and baby talk while taking pictures of my pets.

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  39. Tips you ask? Mommy says snap, snap, snap and snap again. MOL Big hugs

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Raena

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  40. Great lighting is important for a super photo! Also a clean backdrop.

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  41. I usually try to hold one of the cat toys that's hanging from a stick by a string just over the camera. I try to get her picture just when she first looks at it, and before she becomes curious enough to come after it. I used to have one that made little bird noises that worked like a charm, but I haven't been able to find another one since it quit working. My other suggestions are to just click until you're sick of clicking and you'll end up with some nice pictures, or take video and use video editing software to create stills.

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  42. Hold up some food for them to look at

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  43. I definitely agree with a backdrop. That definitely improves picture quality.

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  44. My fur baby Sheba has her moods so she may or may not give me a pose! LOL I like to catch her off guard which tends to be the best pictures.

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  45. I normally hold up a treat or toy that my pet likes to get them to sit still.

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  46. No tips from me but I will try some of the ones in the article. I just got my first ever cat 2 months ago and am still trying to get a good photo of her.

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  47. just click when you see them relax and staring you down and click click

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  48. Action or awake shots are harder but toys and treats are useful. I've found the best and one of the cutest time to photograph them is when they're asleep.

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  49. Cuddle clones are very cool! I’d love to win one. Great tips on photographs, too. I love taking photos of my cats and definitely follow these tips.

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