7 min read

Tips and Tricks for Taking Stunning Cat Pics


Written by Adam Lee-Smith

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 07/15/2022, edited: 06/15/2023


Graceful, adorable, downright hilarious — it's impossible not to snap pics of our photogenic felines from time to time. But if your cat is always chasing greebles or zooming around your bedroom, taking the perfect picture of Fluffy isn't a cakewalk. 

Whether you're trying to take a portrait of your purring pal or snap a photo of your meower in motion, check out these tips and tricks for taking stunning cat pics!

How can I get my cat to sit still for a picture?

Some little lions love the limelight and don't mind posing for a picture. For example, my calico, Boo, will sit pretty and stare into the camera anytime I whip out my phone for a quick pic. Exhibit A:

black white and orange cat sitting on a bed posing for a photo

Boo being her usual derpy self.

That said, some pet parents aren't as lucky, and getting their feline friend to stay still is a tricky task. 

Here are a few cat photography tips so you can get your cat to pose for a camera:

  • Treats: Waving a bag of your cat's favorite treats in front of their face is a surefire way to get them to come to you and stick around for a minute. Treats are also the ultimate way of getting your cat to look at the camera. 
  • Toys: Wave your cat's favorite toy just above your camera. This way, they'll look towards the lens, allowing you to get the perfect pic. A squeaky toy is another great way of getting your tiger's attention. 
  • Catnip/silver vine: Some cats can't resist catnip, so rubbing some catnip in a specific spot will pique your feline's interest. If your cat isn't interested in catnip, consider trying silver vine, a catnip alternative. 
  • Boxes: "If I fits, I sits" is a phrase many feline pet parents will be familiar with, as cats love to sit in small spaces. A new box is a clever way to get your cat to sit down and pose for a pic. 
  • Patience: Be patient and have your camera ready — your cat can't run around forever! Wait for your cat to settle down and perch themselves somewhere, then take a quick photo. 
  • Brushing: Some cats, including mine, love being brushed and will stay still while getting brushed. Brushing your cat also reduces the chance of furballs and gets your feline looking photo fresh!
  • Training: It's not easy, but teaching your cat some basic commands and tricks is possible. Teach your cat to sit or stay in position, and you'll be able to take perfect portraits whenever you wish.

How do you take good pictures of cats in motion?

Whether you're using your smartphone or an expensive camera, snapping pictures of your cat running, jumping, or climbing that aren't blurry is hard work. Luckily, there are plenty of camera tricks and tips you can use to make taking a picture of your cat moving much easier. 

Use natural light

Use natural light when taking a picture of your cat, especially kittens. Cats can be startled by sudden flashes, and kittens have very sensitive eyes. 

The best way to photograph your cat is in good natural light. Natural lighting is useful as it makes the shutter speed on smartphones faster, increasing motion freeze and reducing blurriness.

Trying to take pictures of your cat in low light? You can increase your camera's light sensitivity by adjusting some settings:

  • Decrease your camera's aperture. (The aperture controls how much light is let in through the lens.)
  • Increase the ISO value. (This controls how sensitive the camera is to light.)
  • Lower the shutter speed. (The shutter speed refers to how long your camera "spends" to take a picture.)

Bear in mind that changing these settings can reduce picture quality — keep playing around with it until you find the sweet spot.

Use burst mode 

Burst mode is a helpful setting that allows you to take numerous back-to-back pictures. As a result, you can get lots of pics in succession, which you can then sort through to find a picture of your cat that isn't blurry. Most modern cameras have a burst mode setting, so check the manual and get snapping.  

On iPhones, you can engage burst mode in different ways depending on your phone's model. For example, on an iPhone 12, you can engage burst mode by holding the shutter button and swiping left. The photos are then viewable in the "Burst" folder of your photo library. You just need to hold down the shutter button on most older iPhones with burst mode. 

Each Android phone is different, but you can usually enable burst mode in camera settings, or by holding down the shutter button. 

Set your camera to semi-auto mode

It's a good idea to use a semi-auto mode if you're using a camera to take pictures of your cat instead of a smartphone. Most cameras are set to full auto, so you don't have to adjust the aperture, shutter speed, or ISO value manually. 

Semi-auto mode allows you to manually change some of these settings, which will help you take better pictures of your cat in motion. Semi-auto mode will help you be ready to snap pictures of your cat without having to fiddle too much with your settings, giving you the right amount of control. 

You'll want to balance your settings properly to ensure the best results. For example, higher apertures require slower shutter speeds or higher ISO values.

black cat posing for a photo in front of a gray photography studio backdrop

How do you take stunning pics of black cats?

Some cats are more straightforward to photograph than others. Solid black or black and white cats cause a particular problem for part-time photographers. Their fur is usually beyond the contrast range of a photo, meaning images of black cats are usually fuzzy and poorly defined. It's one of the reasons black cats are less likely to get adopted — shelters can't snap any decent pictures of these dark-furred felines! 

Whether you're taking pictures for National Black Cat Appreciation Day or just want to add up-to-date pics to your scrapbook, black cats deserve high-quality camerawork. Here are a few tips to take better photos of black cats.


Picking the right backdrop goes a long way toward getting a good quality photo of a black cat. You might think a white background would be best, but white creates too much contrast. Try to pick a background color that offsets your cat's fur, like red or blue. 

Try not to get too much of the background in your black cat's portrait. You risk your camera exposing for the background rather than your cat if it's predominant in a photo, meaning your cat will become a black shape without any definition. Crop and edit your picture if you include too much of the background.


Optimal lighting is essential when taking a picture of a black cat. You will struggle to take a good-quality picture of a black cat in low light or with a flash. 

You'll ideally want natural light. The softer the lighting, the better. Too much sun will create too much contrast. If you're using a lamp or LED light, try angling the light across your cat to create texture and help define your cat’s features. 


Adjusting your camera's exposure value (EV) is a good idea when trying to take pictures of black cats. Photographs of black cats often encounter the problem that the cat looks gray rather than black. 

If this is the case, the photo is over-exposed, and you'll need negative exposure compensation. Try decreasing the exposure value. If your cat is coming up as a featureless shape, the picture is under-exposed, and you'll want to increase the exposure value.

laptop, camera, sd cards, and other photography tools against a mustard yellow background

What are the best tools for taking cat pictures?

So, now that you know how to take stunning cat pictures, what are the best tools to use? From backgrounds to props to toys, here's what you'll need to take the best possible shots of your little lion.

Camera vs. phone

If possible, use a high-quality camera to take your cat pics. As mentioned, a camera will let you adjust settings like shutter speed, aperture, and ISO value to ensure you can eliminate blur and take high-quality photos in different lighting.

If you don't have a purpose-built camera, smartphone cameras have come a long way. You should still be able to get a couple of stunning snaps on your smartphone, especially with burst mode enabled. 


You'll want to adjust your background depending on your cat's colorations. Different colors will contrast your cat's colorations, so you'll want to pick colors that are complementary but help your cat stand out. 

For example, you won't want a white background for a white cat, as they'll blend together. A clean, solid color background will ensure your cat stands out and that your pictures are crisp. You might also want to consider complementing your cat's eye color with your backdrop to help take some extra enchanting photos. 


The best lighting for taking pictures of your cat is soft natural lighting. Bright direct sunlight is too harsh and will create shadows and lots of contrast. 

An outdoor setting on an overcast day is the perfect place to take pictures of your cat. If you don't have natural light as an option, consider using soft lighting like a lamp or LED ring. Avoid using a flash as it can startle cats. 


You should consider your cat's temperament before trying to dress them up for a photo. Most cats won't mind wearing a bandana or other small accessory, but many will take issue with being put in a full costume. 

Putting your cat in clothing they don't like could cause them stress, making taking photos difficult. It could also damage your relationship with your cat.

Photoshoot ideas for cats

Planning to take a few cute cat pics? Check out these fun ideas for your next photoshoot with your feline friend!

  • Seasonal photoshoots like a winter wonderland or summer beach party

  • Movie-themed photoshoots based on famous cat cartoons like Puss in Boots, Aristocats, and Garfield 

  • Playtime photoshoots that capture your cat in action

  • Milestone photoshoots to mark events in your cat's life, like a pregnancy or birthday

Don't have the patience to take good cat pics? Download the Wag! app to find Pet Caregivers offering pet photography services near you!

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