I just may have mentioned at some point that I'm a cat person. I have many loves - travel, photography, cameras and horses among them - but there will always be a special mushy place in my heart for cats.
Since I moved to where I live now, I've always had two cats, Sophie and Celia. Sophie, my beloved silver tabby, passed away in November 2015. She was 19 1/2. Celia, my sweet 19 year-old calico was depressed without her buddy. So was I. We drifted around the condo together for a month, lonely for Sophie, and in December, I pulled the trigger. I visited countless shelters and pet rescues before I found him but on December 19th, I brought home Carter.
Carter is two. He is a short-hair, butterscotch-colored tabby with a blonde belly and a long ringed tail that would suit a raccoon. I always thought Celia was a robust girl, at 11 pounds, but Carter, weighing in at 15, makes her look downright dainty. He is, quite frankly, the friendliest, most comical cat I have ever known. His topaz eyes are almost perfectly round with surprise most of the time. He will languorously roll over for a belly rub and then joyfully bite your hand until tears roll down your face. He can't help it - it's how he expresses love - but yes. We're working on that.
He plays endlessly with toys and if none are available will chew on Macbook Pro power cords and LaCie Thunderbolt cords. (Yes. We're working on that too.) My long white linen curtains are a favorite refuge for Carter and are rarely in a company-ready state. I expect one day soon I'll come home to find them in long, lacy shreds.
Because it's dull and grey and winter here in Chicago, and it's been a month since I was in Arizona photographing the Salt River wild horses, I decided it was time to shoot Carter's official portrait. The images included in this post are a few of my favorites. Let me know which one you like best!
A few Tips for Photographing your Cats:
- Find a spot in your home with decent light and a relatively clean background.
- Vacuum and pick up. There is nothing worse than having an amazing portrait session with your pet and then having to clone clumps of hair, a coke can and your briefcase out of every. single. image.
- With a warm, damp cloth, gently clean your cat's face, making sure to wipe away any sleep in the corner of his or her eyes, and brushing off any loose hairs. Again, you can clone this out but it's a sweet gesture to do this for your cat and will save you a lot of post-processing time.
- Collect a few of your cat's favorite toys. Tuck them in your sleeves or pockets so they'll be at hand when you need them.
- Here comes the fun part: grab your camera and get down on the floor. I typically crawl around on my belly, propped up on my elbows.
- If you're wondering how to get your cat to come over and pose for you, getting down on the floor should do it. If it didn't, do some yoga and breathe deeply. Cats love yoga (really, they do).
- As you start to shoot, keep your cat's eyes and ears focused on you with kissing and scratching noises. As they lose interest in that, pull a toy out of the assortment you hid in your sleeve.
- Limit these portrait sessions to about 15 minutes. I find that my cats need a 5-10 minute break and then I can start shooting again.