Black cats: 5 tips for snapping the purr-fect pics

Snapping a good pic of a beloved black cat can be a real challenge. In honor of Black Cat Appreciation Day, here are five tips to help you get the purr-fect pic!

Snapping a superb pic of your black cat can be a heck of a task.
Snapping a superb pic of your black cat can be a heck of a task.  © 123rf/ joseelias

Black cats tend to get the short end of the stick.

Some shelters say black cats are less likely to get adopted, and many people even think the poor creatures' coat color makes them bringers of bad luck.

To make matters worse, in our image obsessed culture, many a black cat photoshoot results in snaps that feature some black hole-like blob with glowing eyes. Other times these feline photography sessions boast images of gray, washed out looking animals that look nothing like an actual cat.

You can up your black cat photo and portrait game by taking some time to consider your subject - regardless if you are snapping shots with a smartphone, or a digital or analog camera.

Before you start snapping, consider black cats and their bad rap. These felines are so under-loved that not only is there a National Black Cat Day on October 27, but National Black Cat Appreciation Day is observed on August 17.

Do them justice with this photo guide below – and make sure to give them lots of kitty cuddles, too!

Black cat photo tip #1: Use indirect light

You might think the best time to take a picture of your beloved black cat would be when they are doused in the bright light of the noon sun.

But direct light is no friend of photographers, professional or amateur. Indirect, soft light is what you need to capture a stellar image of your feline friend (or anything, for that matter).

So wait for the so-called "golden hour," which is right before sunrise or a bit before sunset, to take pictures. Alternatively, wait till your cute critter strikes a pose on the windowsill or in the shade of a plant for some dimension and shading.

A black cat already has the coloring of a shadow, so make sure when you are taking pics, you don't shy away from playing with your camera's exposure and brightness.

Black cat photo tip #2: Turn off that flash

Yes, black fur can be like a black hole – it seems to soak up all the matter and light.

This black blob phenomenon makes many want to turn on their camera flash. But actually, it's more likely to wash out your black-coated cat than help you capture their ear tuffs and whiskers.

If you decide to experiment with a flash, you should know that the more diffused you like source is, the more it will reportedly catch the highlights of the animal's hair and wet nose.

Try getting closer to your subject and using natural light instead.

It's tempting to photograph your black cat on something white to emphasize its color, but the contrast can wash out the animal.
It's tempting to photograph your black cat on something white to emphasize its color, but the contrast can wash out the animal.  © 123rf/alenkasm

Black cat photo tip #3: Consider the background

Black cats are bold and beautiful, so you don't want a cluttered background to distract from their perfection. But it’s also easier to get good shots of black cats if the background doesn't contrast too much to the cat's coloring.

In other words, it's not the wisest choice to photograph black cats on white mats. Taking photos with high contrast is quite a feat, and your cat is already as high contrast as it gets.

So consider keeping it simple or taking pictures of your cat with colorful or textured backgrounds instead.

Black cat photo tip #4: Focus on the eyes

Why should you zero in on your cat's eyes? They're the windows to the soul, of course!

Also, if you're photographing a completely black cat, their eyes may be the only bit of color you've got to play with.

By focusing on your pet's pupils, you'll be able to better control the color balance of the picture while also capturing their personality.

Black cat photo tip #5: Take a close up

Zoom in on your cat, and you'll find that your camera is better able to catch the curvature of your cat's features.

A tight angle can make dealing with the contrast easier and more effective. This kind of image will also highlight the play of shadows on their coat if taken in black and white.

Black cats are the perfect subject to experiment with old school black and white shots and the spooky style of film noir.

Black cats are notoriously difficult to capture, but if you follow these tips, you're sure to get that Instagrammable pic on lock.

Cover photo: 123rf/joseelias

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