Cats Protection’s National Black Cat day is back on 27 October this year, and they’re offering black or black and white cat owners the chance for their cat to be the face of Black Cat Day. All you have to do is upload a photo of your cat. But it can be a struggle getting a good image of your black feline friend so if you want to enter your cat into the competition, here are my top 5 tips for getting a good photo of your black cat, even if you’re just using your smartphone:

  • Avoid bright sunlight – Cats are attracted to patches of sunlight – all that lovely warmth to bask in!  But strong sunlight is not your friend when it comes to getting a photo that shows your black cat’s features. Cameras aren’t as good as our eyes at dealing with extremes of light and dark at the same time, so you’ll probably just get a photo of a black blob on a bright background. Instead, try to persuade your cat to lie in a shady patch where the difference between light and dark isn’t as dramatic.
  • Avoid anything bright or distracting in the background.  Our eyes are drawn to bright patches and colours so ideally you want the brightest thing in the picture to be your cat’s eyes.
  • Light them from an angle – Unlike lighter coloured cats, it’s the patches of highlight that show your black cat’s features, so you want some soft light shining on your cat’s fur at an angle. It can be light from a window on a cloudy day, a lamp or even an iPad, which is what I used to light this photo of our cat.
  • Black cat in the dark | cat photography tips
  • Try different viewpoints – There are some angles on your cat’s head where you can see straight through their fur to their skin, which makes them look like they’re going a bit bald. If you move slightly you can usually find a viewpoint where their fur looks more dense.
  • Use exposure compensation to get a true black.  If that sounds like double dutch, bear with me! Cameras work out how much light to let in by assuming that the view in front of them averages out as a mid-grey colour. But if you’re photographing something black, it can confuse the camera and your cat can end up looking grey. Look in your camera manual for “exposure compensation”  – on point-and-shoots, bridge cameras and DSLRs there’s usually a scale labelled + and -. Most smartphones allow you to do this too, including iPhones. You want to move the scale towards the minus sign. In other words, you’re telling the camera that the view is darker than normal. If you’re not sure whether you’re moving it in the right direction, the image on the viewing screen should get darker or lighter as you change the setting.

I hope that helps – let me know how you get on in the comments section below 🙂

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