Photographing cats in a shelter

Pet photographer, Seth Casteel has some great tips in this video I found on YouTube.  I don’t normally encourage people to photograph cats in their cages, but sometimes you just have to.  See what you think!

We’ve got a couple of fun teaching projects in the works on this topic — but Seth does a great job in this video. Be familiar with your camera, get a helper and use Seth’s tips to increase your success rates!



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Dallas-Fort Worth photographer mentoring photographers around the country who support their local animal rescue groups and shelters. We help train photographers to reach out to groups in their area and photograph homeless animals effectively to speed up the adoption process.
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12 Responses to Photographing cats in a shelter

  1. laura says:

    I don’t see a link for the video…is it missing? The video appears in a window of it’s own on my screen…

  2. Lynne says:

    As usual a great video with lots of information about problems photographing in a shelter. I did purchase a 50mm Nikon lens. I could not afford the nicer expensive one so I found one on Amazon for about $200. Does a 1.8ap. I don’t mind getting closer to the cat but find that I am getting as many blurred shots as I get good clear ones. I am wondering if this is because of the cheaper lens or something I am doing wrong. Ap is set 1.8 with shutter 250. Any advice will be welcomed.

    • Hi Lynne, You’ve got a great lens and you should be able to get great shots with it. 1/250 of a second is a good shutter speed — but what is your ISO set at? If you’re in an average room with overhead light (only) then your ISO needs to bee higher. Try setting it at 800 and use your in-camera meter to adjust your shutter speed to get the look you want.

  3. Lynne says:

    I am not sure what you mean by using the in camera meter to adjust the shutter. Any idea how I can do that. I also have a studio light umbrella I use to get light on the face of the cat instead of from the overhead. It is great light but puts the face in shadow. I can send a photo I just took this week that was blurred and one that wasn’t.

  4. I’m afraid you have multiple issues going on here — and I’m afraid I can’t help you unless we’re face to face. But if you’re getting blurry photos it can only be that you need more light or that you’re not holding the camera still enough. I would suggest that you get out the manual and learn to use the built in light meter (I’m assuming that you’re using a DSLR). And on the off chance it’s camera shake, try using a tripod? Come take our workshop… we go in to all of this!

    • Lynne says:

      I use a Nikon D3100 DSLR. got the manual out and front to back there was nothing about a built in light meter. There is a Metering but it is matrix etc with no instructions in the manual on how to use it. But I did discover that I was shooting the other day with only a 1/160 shutter so that may have been part of my problem.

    • Lynne says:

      Is your workshop online?

      • The DOG SHOTS workshop is held at my studio here in Dallas. We occasionally do webinars but find that people learn lighting and exposure best when they are “hands on” in a small group.

      • Lynne says:

        Well Darn. I live in Illinois and it is not possible to make your work shops. I am not finding that my Nikon D3100 has an in camera lighting system. I got the manual out and went completely over it not finding anything. I did find a metering section but it only gave the option of three settings Matrix and two other things. I did not find any explanation in the manual of this function either so don’t know how to use it.

      • I did a YouTube search for “Nikon D3100 exposure” and came up with tons of tutorials and how-to videos. If you still can’t figure it out, maybe sign up for a course at your local camera store or community college?

        find the results here:

      • Lynne says:

        Great idea I use youtube tutorials for all kinds of things. Great learning tool. I will look around for some info on the in camera lighting. Would rather find someone who can just give me instructions though.

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