Sometimes unfairly maligned, black cats have a reputation for bringing bad luck or inviting a frightening atmosphere. In reality, these are your typical felines, with one important distinction: black fluffy cat breeds can be difficult to capture in a photo. If you’re planning a glamorous Halloween photoshoot, there are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind.
According to Treehugger author Jaymi Heimbuch and photographer Natalie Martinez, the most important strategy when it comes to photographing a black cat is to control the light. Having a source of “peripheral light” – a window, sunlight, or artificial light behind and right next to the cat – can help distinguish its outline from the background. The light will illuminate the edges of their fur, giving it a sort of halo effect. (For people who view cats as holy beings, this is probably ideal.)
Taking pictures in bright sunlight, without being impossible, can be tricky for amateur photographers. If you shoot outdoors, to try to find shade.
You should also be careful about using automatic modes, which can underexpose an image, a real problem when your subject is a ball of black fluff. Manual exposure can help make the cat stand out from the background.
Speaking of backgrounds: avoid overly detailed settings. To make the cat stand out, it is better to opt for a minimalist background that will not draw the eye to the objects. Think green grass or curtains your average.
Finally, try to focus on your cat’s eyes, which provide a good contrast to their coat and can help tell how someone will interpret their “expression” or personality.
These suggestions also apply to dogs with dark coats, so have fun. With the right lighting and the right composition, your black cat can step out of the shadows and become a more photogenic feline.