19 creative ways to capture the purr-fect cat portrait


There’s no doubt that cats are a feline force to be reckoned with. For just a glimpse of their digital dominance, check out the countless cat video compilations with millions of views on YouTube, or the thousands of kitty snaps that get uploaded on Instagram daily.

Photo by Marta Markes

In the United States alone, over 47.1 million families own cats. These cats eat, play, sleep, and inhabit the same spaces as their humans do, so it’s no wonder they’ve become a vital part of the household and regarded as an irreplaceable member of the family.

Photo by Paul Hanaoka

As a cat owner, you can spread the joy you receive from your feline companion by taking pictures and sharing them with your circle—the same way any proud parent would. You don’t even need to be a professional photographer to capture adorable snapshots. All it takes is a dash of creativity, a handy phone or digital camera, and reflexes that are ready for a quick draw.

Here are 19 fun and foolproof ways you can capture the purr-fect cat portrait:

01. Show off his cattitude

Photo by Stefan Ivanov

Photo by Marko Blazevic

Is your cat naturally inquisitive, shy, or grouchy? Let his personality shine by capturing him in the middle of a moment. Observe when he displays these traits you love (i.e. as soon as he wakes up, after he eats, or when he hears a strange sound) and have your camera ready to snap him in action.

02. Capture him in his habitat

Photo by Kari Shea

Photo by Nick Karvounis

With your cat exploring every nook and cranny of your home on a regular basis, he practically owns the place. Take a picture of him in his preferred areas: naughtily scrounging for leftovers in the kitchen or majestically lounging on a chair.

03. Snap a dramatic profile

Photo by Taylor Grote

Photo by Christian Wright

Long before social media took over the phrase ‘profile picture,’ it was commonly known as a photography style taken to showcase a person’s features from the side. You can use the same technique on your cat on days when he peacefully stares into space. Show off his outline from his pert ears down to the graceful arch of his back with either the dramatic use of lights or in a natural setting.

04. Flaunt his details

Photo by Antonio Lapa

Photo by Cel Lisboa

Tinker with your camera’s features and test its macro-shooting capabilities with your cat. Get as close as possible and put the focus on your favorite features—whether it’s his piercing green eyes, sharp white fangs, or distinctive stripes.

05. Immortalize playtime

Photo by Maria Shanina

Photo by Anton Darius

Capture your cat at his most playful times. Ask another person to attract your cat’s attention using his favorite toy, and stay within range to snap his reactions. (Warning: don’t position yourself directly in their play zone or your cat might pounce at you!) For kittens, a lively moment with mom is always a heartwarming scene.

06. Let him hide in plain sight

Photo by James Pond

Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev

If blending in is your cat’s choice pastime, take snapshots and make a game out of it by asking people to spot him as quick as possible. Find props or sets that match the lovely color of his fur, and watch how he interacts with them.

07. Accentuate his eyes

Photo by Xenia Bogarova

Photo by Federica Diliberto

Take advantage of outdoor locations that can amplify the unique color of your cat’s peepers. Have fun trying different angles to see how the tint of your cats surroundings reflects in his eyes.

08. Be lazy with him

Photo by Asique Alam

Photo by Zoltan Tasi

In this fast-paced world, you can learn a lesson from your cat through his unhurried approach to life. Enjoy taking photos of him sunning under the shade or languidly stretching every vertebrae of his body. Next thing you know, you’ll be mimicking his deliberately slow movements.

09. Snap his sleeping form

Photo by Dan Gold

Photo by Scott Webb

With cats snoozing 12 to 16 hours in a day, it will be easy for you to fill your gadget’s storage space with countless versions of your catnapping pet in various poses and in fascinating spots. Just make it a point to switch off the sounds of your camera and approach your cat quietly, so that you don’t accidentally wake him up.

10. Catch him in action

Photo by Koen Eijkelenboom

Photo by Ramdan

Climbing trees, running across the lawn, leaping off a cabinet—there are so many ways to show your cat’s dynamic side. For best results, tap your screen or half press the shutter to focus on your subject, then use burst mode to get as many defined shots as possible.

11. Let him explore his surroundings

Photo by Mitchell Orr

Photo by Mitchell Orr

We’ve all heard the saying “curiosity killed the cat,” but in this case, a cat’s inquisitiveness makes for the most interesting photographic moments. Go ahead and take a photo of him in the midst of a backyard stroll or examining the foliage in your neighborhood.

12. Show his satisfied state

Photo by Jenn Evelyn-Ann

Photo by Anton Darius

Don’t be surprised to get more likes and comments when you post an image of your contented cat. Being petted and rubbed by his favorite human can transform the moodiest cat into the most agreeable kitty. It’s all about knowing when he’s up for a face massage or a warm cuddle, and snapping away as he’s lapping up the attention.

13. Squeeze into tight spaces with him

Photo by Paul Hanaoka

Photo by Lara Crespo

Document your cat’s affinity for tight spaces by photographing him in baskets, boxes, shoes, and more. His flexible spine allows him to cram his body into confined areas, but you’ll be surprised to know that he does it as an instinctive way of seeking warmth and protection.

14. Aim for a unique experience

Photo by Krista Mangulsone

Photo by Erik-Jan Leusink

Break the monotony and capture your cat in unusual circumstances. Take a step outside on a warm day or introduce him to a furry friend and photograph the magic as it unfolds. Before introducing your cat to a new situation, always make sure he is comfortable and that your location is secure. It’s always a safe bet to attach a harness or leash in case you need to act quickly and pull him out of harm’s way.

15. Find the light

Photo by Alicja Koczaska

Photo by Anna Bakirova

Make use of your environment’s natural light—or lack of it. Study the way your room looks at different times of the day and note how your cat interacts with the light. You can take a warm-looking portrait at sunset, or sneak in a dramatic silhouette photo just as the sun rises from outside your window.

16. Go into stealth mode

Photo by Jens Johnsson

Photo by Ethan Weil

Play around with fun, cool ways to frame your cat when he goes into ninja mode. Follow your cat’s lead and slowly slip down to his level while being careful not to disturb this sit-and-wait state.

17. Capture him doing everyday things

Photo by Vital Sinkevich

Photo by Ghost Presenter

Creatures of habit, most cats are pretty much set in their routine so you can predict what they’ll be doing most times of the day. Whip out your camera as you anticipate these moments, whether it’s waiting for you to come home by the window or hiding under the blanket during wintertime. How well you know your pet will help you capture unique moments better than any professional photographer.

18. Take a shot from his level

Photo by Alex Bertman

Photo by Erik-Jan Leusink

Literally be on the same plane as your pet by crouching down and shooting him at eye level. You’ll be amazed at the difference this change makes, often making the shot more compelling and giving your viewer a sense of connection to your subject—as if your cat is staring them right in the face!

19. Surround him with people he loves

Photo by Anton Darius

Most domesticated cats love spending time with humans, even invading an owner’s space to show affection or meowing loudly to give approval. Photograph as many moments with your cat as possible, and don’t be afraid to get inventive with him. As long as your pet is in a relaxed and agreeable state, you can get him to strike a paws (get it?).

Photo by Jonas Vincent

While practicing the art of taking cat portraits, remember that it takes tons of imagination and patience to achieve the best shots. But once you successfully pull it off, you’ll gain a high five from both kitties and cat lovers alike.

Photo via Canva

To find more inspiring cat photos like the one above, explore Canva’s impressive digital library here.

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