Monday, July 29, 2013

Photo How-To's For The Cat Blogosphere Calendar

 

Hi everyone, Katie here.

Many of our friends and readers have cat blogs of their own. And if you do, you've likely heard about the 2014 Cats of the Cat Blogosphere Calendar that is currently in the works. Our friends Truffle and Brulee of Sweet Perfections are heading up this project and are currently accepting photo submissions for the calendar. Specific details can be found HERE.

We thought it might be helpful to share a few tips and tricks to make your photos purrfect for the calendar and for anything you might want them for. We'll also explain a few things about how to size your photos specifically for the calendar.

Our 5 photo submissions for the CB Calendar

⓵ Lighting is your BFF

Choose a spot in your house that has as much natural light pouring in from a window or door as possible. The model (kitty) should be facing the light and the photographer (your human) should have their back to the light.

⓶ Flash is not your BFF

The best photos are almost always taken with natural light. Us kitties have a tendency to close our eyes when the flash goes off or if we manage to keep our eyes open, they don't look nearly as pretty as they really are. Tell your human to leave the flashy turned off.

⓷ Get Down

Your human needs to get down. And I don't mean to boogie. They need to get down to your level. If you're sitting on the floor, they should be laying on the floor with their camera as close to the floor as their flexibility will allow.

⓸ Clean Up

Your human should pay attention to the background. Put the dirty shorts away, remove the pizza box and keep the background simple and clean. Too much clutter takes away from your feline beauty.

⓹ Be patient, Be ready

Some of the best photos are never staged. It's a matter of being in the right place at the right time. WITH the camera ready.

⓺ Advanced Tip for Blurring the Background

This one applies to those of you using a DSLR. That's photography-speak for a camera that has detachable lenses. Many of your humans have asked us how we get the backgrounds in some of our photos to be blurry while still keeping the subject in focus. This is something that can turn an ordinary portrait into a stunning one. Glogirly uses a slightly longer lens, like a telephoto or a zoom lens. Her current favorite is a 35-85mm zoom. With the lens fully extended, she gets as close to me as the camera will allow her to focus. The better the lens, the more dramatic the effect, but it works beautifully. Just be careful to focus right on one of the subject's eyes. That will keep the most important part of the picture in focus and let the rest become soft. This takes practice, but you'll love the results.



The CB calendar is a page-a-day calendar, so that means a LOT of pictures! Each blogger may submit up to 5 photos, in order of priority.

Most photo editing software programs will allow you to crop your photos to a specific size and resolution. Using the sizing requirements shown in the above graphic will ensure your pictures print as beautifully as you see them on your own computer screen.

All three sizes are actually the same. Just use whichever is easiest for you.

Important! Your original photo must be at least as big as these measurements though. If you try to make your photo bigger than what came out of the camera, it will not print well. It will likely be fuzzy or pixelated.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments with your email and we'll make sure you receive an answer. We'll also post answers in the comments for anyone who wants to stop back. If you have a question, there are probably others that have the same one, so don't be shy!





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40 comments:

  1. Thank you for all of the advice! We're receiving some beautiful photos and are looking forward to more.

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  2. Thanks for the tips... DAD! go pick up your shorts and that beer bottle... *hee,hee!*

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  3. I think the hoomins should boogie a little, before beginning, to loosen up and get a good giggle shot out of the kitties, but that's just me.
    ~Vicat

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  4. You forgot rule one. Have an EXQUISITE model to pose for the photo.

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  5. Hmmm, I will have to think about this

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  6. Thank you! I was wondering how to blur the background only. Someday soon I'll have to get a nice camera!

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  7. These are great tips! My human uses a high-end point-and-shoot for us (it is actually better than her one more expensive but old DSLR), which has a built-in zoom lens, and she can still get the background to blur out if she wants by using the Manual setting and a low F stop (that is the F number, which says things like 2.8 or 4.0 - the lower the number the better) - and then she gets in my face, which is really annoying, but the closer she gets to the subject (me, or sometimes a flower or something else), the more the subject will blur).

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  8. Great advice. Now to choose 5 out of 5 gazillion! Any requests?

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  9. Hehe funny, I just posted some photos of my cat on the blog today and asked for some photography tips. Thanks for sharing! My camera is not fancy, but there is an option on there to make the subjects closest to you more focused than the background. I'm trying to do a better job with my pictures and am thinking I might need a better camera but really have no idea what kind.

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  10. Great tips! Our mommy crawls on the floor sometimes trying to get a good pic & she's a couple of years older than Glogirly! MOL!

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  11. Great tips!!! I am guilty of using the flash for no good reason and most of my pics of poor Charlie and the Gumster are with their eyes closed because of the flash! LOL!!

    Awwww Katie and Waffles Too - you are both super model kitties!

    Take care
    x

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  12. Great tips, Glogirly. One quetion: Is it OK if our human does boogie when she gets down? Because you wouldn't believe how funny-looking that is.

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  13. Thank you for those tips, Glogirly.

    The woman here has to say that she loves her 85mm portrait lens for bokehlicious bokeh, but if she could only get the subject matter to stay still and not run towards the camera.

    The Paw Relations

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  14. Katie - Mom has problem whenever she tries to take a picture of the boy kitty in the house. He looks like pile of black fluff. Is it true that girls are more photogenic?

    Jade & Myst

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  15. That's some great advice and we hope our photographer has read them carefully.

    We submitted photos yesterday, so we sure hope they're okay because we didn't pay any attention to pixels or dpis or size...whatever the heck those are.

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  16. iPhoto has a cropping setting to get 4 x 3, but nowhere I can see for the dpi. I could just send the maximum resolution that photo was taken at, but does it need to be reduced to 300 dpi?

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  17. I am BAAACK. I think what I have to do is set the width to 1200 pixels when exporting out of iPhoto to the desktop. Then a 4 x 3 photo is 300 dpi. But I could do a higher resolution. Would that be better or not?

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  18. Oooppps! Gotta get those old shoes and stuff outta my photos....but Leo's will have to go as is...he has left the house and there won't be any redos for him now...sigh

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  19. @Simba
    It won't hurt anything if your photo is at a higher resolution than 300 dpi...it just shouldn't be lower.
    : )

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  20. @Jade & Myst,
    Black kitties are very hard to photograph and keep all their wonderful details. It's important to have as much light as possible, but not to have lots of white in the photo. The camera has a hard time properly exposing both black and white at the same time. Sometimes what happens is the camera will properly expose the whites and then the blacks go super dark and you lose detail. The reverse can happen too. It just takes practice.

    : )

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  21. Those are some great tips even for us non bloggers. I wondered how you always got such awesome photos of your kitties. Bet this will be a great calendar.
    Sue B

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  22. @Nicola,
    Not everyone knows what "bokeh" means...we're very impressed that you do and we'll have to use your bokehlicious term now!!!

    Bokeh is what that super creamy, soft focus background is called. The better the lens, the creamier the background.

    Gloman has an 85mm portrait lens which gives beautiful results. The downside (besides being expensive and not a lens he shares with Glogirly) is that you have to be right on the money when focusing. If you don't focus perfectly on one of the eyes, the whole photo can look off. With fast moving kitties, that's a challenge.

    : )

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  23. I have totally missed this with the CB calender :(
    Have to go and check it out at once !!
    P.S My mom-person is alway´s crawling around when she is taking pictures on me and never use the flash :)

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  24. Our Mom worked on ours this weekend. We'll never have super photos like you do, but we try. Mom is always down on the floor (we're worried we'll need a crane to pick her up someday).

    The Florida Furkids

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  25. Love all these tips, now if only we can follow them. M says she has a problem with getting down on the floor - she'd never get back up again!!

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  26. Y'all are such good teachers!!!

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  27. Arghhh! I just went to vote and it said Thank You for voting, and I know I haven't voted yet today. I will go back and try again later.
    Thank you for all those good tips.

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  28. Great photo tips. We r dogs butt Mommy wants to try the blur thing.

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  29. Great tips! Thank you for making these lessons so easy, pals! :)

    We are still voting every day!!!

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  30. Great tips! Lighting is not our friend cos we don't have any natural light except like 6 a.m. TW has to use flash which is ruining my eye sight.

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  31. Hi Glogirly, thanks for the tips and suggestions for photographing kids with black fur. It can be a real challenge. And with four active, mostly black fur kids - well "you get the picture".

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  32. Great tips! I have the most trouble with #4. And #5 is hard, but you're right, the best ones are the ones that aren't staged. :)

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  33. Very good advice. Our mom hesitates to submit photos of us (even though she is forever taking pictures of us for reference and for posterity), because the blogosphere only knows us as illustrated cats. But we are encouraging Mom submit PHOTOS of us, so everyone can see what a great job she does of capturing our true cat purrsonalities.

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  34. P.S., we are voting every day for you!

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  35. Mum tries, but it is the junk in the background that usually makes things not so good. But she is also trying to get us at our "natural" everyday stuff.

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  36. Super photo tips! The other three things that help me most are: 1. a fast lens (at least 6 frames per second, cause the kitties don't sit still!) 2. Taking LOTS of photos, because you can easily discard the ones you don't want, and 3. Having good kitty models. Lucy throws a fit when she sees the camera. A good kind of fit, because she wants her picture taken!

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  37. Glogirly, thank you so much for the tips! We want at least one of our pictures in this calendar. Well I really want my picture in there but you know, I have to be diplomatic...
    Valentina of the Squeedunk Cats

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