Cat Photography and Self Gratification
by Joyce Sammons
(Hodges, SC, USA)
The Many Moods of Furby
This article gets more into the subject of cat photography and why we all have different ways of doing it. This article applies to everyone who enjoys photographing their cat for the sheer pleasure of it and not for profit. So unless you're actually selling pictures of your cats, self gratification thru cat photography is the way to go.
It has taken me a long time to realize one thing. It was brought to my attention recently that I have 500 pictures of my pets and perhaps 35 of my daughter Laura on my different websites. I've been accused of only photographing animals and old dilapidated houses. I CONFESS!!!!
Those are my 2 main interests. Houses and pets are pretty agreeable in front of the camera. Many people are not. I run my photos thru several programs as one would do a car at a car wash. I edit with PhotoScape and Picasa. Then I pull up the photo on paint.net if I plan to add script.
I love all the examples that this site has. If there is anything undesirable in the background that I can eliminate with a square I also use Windows Paint and draw a white square over what I want hidden. Then I go to Paint.net and add the script. From here on out I'm putting all of my animal photographs into one of two categories
This category is for pictures I want to have a hard copy made of to add to a physical album. To do this I have to edit it as I would a photo I plan to publish on the internet. Then I have to "soften" the look by a few degrees. I have found out that the sharp contrasts and color adjustments I use on my internet photos are too harsh for everyday showing of the albums. I use the bloom effect offered by PhotoScape and also the saturation controls.
This category is for pictures I plan to use on the internet. I like to adjust each photo until it is deep in color and fairly sharp. For awhile I went overboard on the sharpness and backed off a little. For this category I try to get the original to picture perfect condition.
Picture perfect is really self gratification. I have learned that my daughter and I have different views on what this is. That's OK.
Michael likes my photos and uses a lot of them on the pictures-of-cats website (this page has lots of links). They show up on my articles and any other article he believes would fit the mood. My recent pictures of Furby on the Cats as Familiars series is an example.
The little man himself, Furby, posing beautifully
Photo by Joyce Sammons
My electricity was out for 7 hrs this week and it was dark and I only had a kerosene lamp and a candle to light. The picture of Furby in the dark is wicked. It was made in total darkness with no flash because I had the flash accidentally set to off. By the time I edited it enough to actually SEE Furby the effect was quite grainy.
Michael calls this "dark" but it really means I don't have enough light for the shot and I have to edit it to death. The ones of my cats Furby and Lola pawing or looking at the star burst is a special effect on the PhotoScape software. The painting effect of Furby is an effect on Paint.net. Both of these are free programs.
When I think of how to describe cat photography a lot of words come to mind. Entertaining, creative, scrapbooking. Furby is the best subject I've had in years. He has so many different expressions. He can go from looking cute to looking stupid in seconds. I sometimes believe he likes having his picture made 10 times a day.
Furby showing us his appetite
I use the term self gratification because it is one of the few things in life that are gratifying these days which are not illegal, immoral or fattening. Don't worry about how others perceive your photos. You are doing all of this for one person. Yourself. End of subject. If others like your photos that's great. If they don't it's not personal. Do this because it is something you enjoy and you love the finished photo. If you do cat photography for any other reason they have a word for that. It's called WORK when you take the fun out of it.