Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Raw photographer, Apr 26, 2019.
beautiful shots.. beautiful calico kitty...
Agreed with everything but this. The noise associated with higher ISO is less of a problem given the camera and processing advancements. I'd much rather up the ISO to get my shutter or aperture up for a sharper shot on a fast moving pet.
i just remember i was shooting too high ISO in the beginning.. and the detail of the pet was not so good.. i came all the way down to 200... or 400 and quality came up.. but i think it totally depends on camera and lighting....but just something i thought he should try ..what do you set your aperture /shutter at for fast moving animals.. i will try it..
First of all I save as a raw and recover/adjust post. There's no one size fits all on settings, it depends on the lighting, what type of shot (still/action), and mood I'm striving for. With my gear, post process capabilities and my tolerance level on the shot, I can effectively shoot at an ISO of 102400. Practically though I like to keep it more on the order of 25600 max. My profile avatar was shot at ISO 25600, f4.5, 1/15, hand held. The first example of Sadie I posted was ISO 100, f/4.5, 1/2000, the second shot was ISO 100, f/8, 1/125, and the last was ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/160. Here's another ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/320. In retrospect if I had it to do over I would have pushed the ISO to 1600 for a faster shutter, and a little sharper stop action.
Float Like A Butterfly by William Raber, on Flickr
The point is with today's technology ISO choice should be based on the requirements of the shot, not the other way around. Knowing your equipment, and knowing how the exposure triangle works, will go a long way toward making successful choices.
I think these photos are rather nice. The background is uncluttered and neutral which gives separation to the cat. The eyes are in focus and they reflect the cat's personality...sleepy time? I had 2 cats long ago before I had a camera, but I remember they did have their favorite places to lounge. Look at their routine for photo opportunities. When is the best light? Are there catch lights in their eyes? What does the background look like? My pup Oscar likes to sit in a big brown leather chair. The afternoon light is diffused in that area. I have placed him facing towards the window for photos. I realize cats would be harder to pose. Maybe place them in a position and give lots of back rubs. They may then stay there for you to photo. Have your camera ready to go with the correct settings first. There are days that my pups are in a no photo mood and other times they are fighting to get into frame.
A few thoughts:
1) Understand the animal. The best animal photographers are those who understand their subject. If you understand them you can learn to read their body language, their moods, habits, behaviours. The more of that you learn the more you can not just control them within a situation but also predict their most likely actions.
People say that most animals are unpredictable, but the opposite is actually more true. Animals are as predictable as people, however not everyone spends the time to observe and learn. Read books, talk to experienced owners and trainers. Heck if you get serious take some lessons. Essentially you can learn a lot of it and sure animals will still surprise you, but the more you know the more you'll improve.
2) Learning animal behaviours can tip you off, you'll get a feel for when they'll perform certain actions and also when certain actions will and won't work to motivate them. If working with others pets you can talk to them and pick up clues and learn what to ask about their behaviour. Eg you might find they've got a very hyper dog, but that he always takes a nap at midday; or that their favourite food is tuna etc... Things you can put to use for planning and getting them to respond. A favoured toy can easily get their attention - though most will also build up a collection of whistles, clickers, rattles, shakers, ticktack boxes etc... all to make a little noise. Sometimes something different just gets those eyes and ears focused on you for that split second.
3) In general when working within any set niche of photography the camera is important, but you'll fast find that the best photos come not from understanding the camera better, but the subject (whatever it is). Certainly practice with your own pets, you've already got some ideas of their favoured spots; attitude, mannerisms etc... Maybe you want the cat sleeping in a nice spot on a chair, so perhaps put a blanket in the tumble dryer for a bit to warm it up and lay it down first, lay the cat atop when its normally a sleeping time for them and encourage them to stay - far more likely to work than just grabbing them and trying to make them behave.
As for camera advice
1) Control the scene and lighting as much as you can and remember - dolls/stuffed toys/really chill cats don't care if they just lay there and you take photos for a few hours (though even chill cats will get annoyed if you're using flashes - stuffed toys will sit through it all). Practice on them to get a feel for setting things up - mess around and change settings, see the results; change and play with the angles, the lighting etc... Even people who shoot portraits of people do the very same with dolls and even mannequins - both are ideal to just practice and experiment.
2) Of course if you're going for action shots not just staged or still scenes then things change, its a case of get out there and practice yet again. If you'ev got a pet of your own and someone to help great - take photos when they are having one of their "zoomy/action" moments. Or if you don't find somewhere like local dog agility training/events or equine events etc... Practice makes perfect and the best you can do is, yet again, head down and vary the settings and see the results you get
Myself I only found what worked for me by experimentation. Shooting horses at a showjump event gave me loads to practice on. From that I learned the limits of the shutter speed for the shots I was shooting (1/500sec and I'll get blur on the hooves/tail - 1/640sec and its sharp - so there my lower limit found through experimenting and now its an invaluable bit of info when the light gets challenging as now I know how low I can take the shutterspeed).
Thanks im glad you like them.
Thanks for the tip this was very helpful and i will try these things and hopefully it will help.
Since the OP is trying to photograph cats...
It is easy to understand cats. They do what they want, not what you want them to. They are not, by nature, a cooperative species as dogs are. But they will work for pay. This only applies to your own cat, of course, but you can train them and it isn't even hard. The hardest part is both you and your family having the discipline to do it.
What you do is find a treat that the cat will "do anything for". Then only give the treat when it does what you want. You can feed them their regular food at the regular times, but no other treats unless you are trying to find one it likes better. Only feed those favorite treats and only when it does what you want. It doesn't take as long as you might think. One day my wife decided she wanted the cat to do tricks like the dog. We knew what those treats were so she got one and held the cat's paw (which he hated) and stuffed a treat in his mouth. After a few minutes he was no longer troubled by having his paw touched and after about 10 minutes his leg was starting to twitch when she held out a treat. By the end of another 10 or 15 minute lesson the next day he was doing a pretty decent shake. He eventually learned to sit, shake, high-five, turn-around, lay down, and jump to wherever we pointed, all on command. And he was 9 years old when we started. He was so good that he even began to adjust the enthusiasm of his tricks to match the freshness of the treat. And if we offered a new one that he liked even better he would do a flying high-five for it for a while until it became the new norm. He was a good looking cat (as cats go) and if I'd ever thought about photographing him, we could have had quite a star. I'm sure he would have learned whatever pose we asked of him.
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