I Shoot Cats

Well, the photo should give it away … PHOTOshoot ๐Ÿ™‚ But the back story.

At the turn of the century, Leigh studied photography at the [then] Academy of Art in San Francisco. At that time the industry was transitioning – irreversibly – from film to digital, so she shot with a Nikon N90 (film) and Nikon D1 [its first professional digital camera]. I was basically her bag boy, but got play with Photoshop [the VERY early versions] as she did post-processing.

That turned out to be a really smart pairing … she was an artist behind the lens and a genius – at lighting – in the studio.

Eventually, almost a decade later, when we started our kitten nursery, we turned a garage into a photographic studio – specifically to shoot kittens for their adoption pics. Leigh was far too busy saving lives, supporting fosters, and doing adoptions, so she let me get back behind the lens.

With our studio equipment from San Francisco, THE most adorable subjects [see later] and no deadline pressure, I was in HEAVEN. Over six months I researched, studied and experimented shooting kittens. Eventually developing a workflow and protocol that produced some VERY appealing images.

I learned two things that would help anyone photographing kittens:

  • they move randomly, but mostly directly at the camera as you press the shutter release, which REALLY messes with good focus, so bright lights, fast lens and [if possible] a tripod, are essential
  • the “money” shot is their eyes looking directly into the lens – and hence directly at the viewer – but I found that – whereas it took take 15-20 mins to get just the right head-on shot, it looks less than 60 seconds to realign their little pupils to forward looking in Photoshop. If you’ve ever seen anyone of my adoptions or going home images, probably 60% have post-processed pupils ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll never tire of shooting kittens, or even our family seniors.

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