Wednesday , 23 August 2017

Brooke Jacobs Pet Photographer Tells Us How to Take Great Holiday Cat Photos

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The winter holidays are just around the corner. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Winter Solstice, Kwanza or other holidays, we know you will want to enjoy them with your cat too. PurrfectCatNames.com is thrilled to have a special visitor today – expert pet photographer Brooke Jacobs who will share with us how to take great holiday photos of your cat or kitten!

First things first – when taking photos of your cat, treat them with respect and dignity. You as a pet parent know your cat very well and your cat trusts and loves you.

Brooke cautions us that “Cat bites are very dangerous so I am sort of joking here although I’m sort of not as well. Please be safe and try not to get bit by your cat! If you get bit you might need to seek medical attention.”

One of the best ways to avoid cat bites in the first place, as most pet parents know is to not put your cat into a situation they don’t want to be in. So if you have a super active kitty, then accept that you are not going to be taking photos of them cuddled up in someone’s lap. My own cat Penguin refuses to wear any holiday accessories – he just barely wears an ID collar – so the best holiday photos I get of him are in front of the Christmas tree, he is fascinated by the ornaments.

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PurrfectCatNames: The holidays are a fun time and it’s no surprise that pet parents want lots of photos of their cats celebrating right with them. How can you set the mood to get good photos of your cats?
Brooke Jacobs: Most cats are excited about the holiday activities! Some are actually TOO excited! Creating a comfortable spot for your cat close to or in front of a holiday display is one way to capture the fun and not overwhelm the cat. Most cats don’t seem bothered by blinking lights, if anything they might want to play with them but keeping the music low is definitely a good call. Having treats and toys and everything a cat enjoys around when you plan to take photos is always key to getting them to not only cooperate but enjoy themselves.

PurrfectCatNames: Some families and individuals choose to adopt a cat or kitten during the winter holiday time. That’s actually when I adopted my cat Penguin! So if you have a new cat or kitten in your home, what do you recommend to get good holiday photos – if the animal is not only new to the holiday surroundings but also new to your family?

Brooke Jacobs: This is where candid shots shine and family shots are the best! The excitement of adding a pet to the home is clearly captured in the families faces! If the new pet is afraid, a warm lap is usually the best and favorite place to be.

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PurrfectCatNames: Do you have specific suggestions for taking holiday photos of kittens or senior cats? Or formerly feral cats?

Brooke Jacobs: Kittens love playing so they can usually be guided to a specific area with a toy. By raising the toy high (I use toys on sticks), most kittens tend to sit and if you then quickly bring the toy to the camera you can capture a cute moment in a perfect spot. This is where speed is most important! And perhaps a second person to guide the toy.

Senior cats like comfort! Give them a comfortable place to sit, a few deep pets to relax them and maybe some treats and they will be more than happy to sit and look pretty for the camera!

Feral cats are a whole different story. I live with two semi feral girls. One can be guided with toys and the other with treats but working with them is a feeling out process. I would never be able to put holiday gear on them but as long as I don’t over whelm them I can usually get a good shot of them.

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PurrfectCatNames: Some who take holiday photos are more focused on sharing them via social media – Instagram or Facebook for example. What differences are there between taking a cat holiday photo that you would put in a frame on the mantel or one you would send out to your Facebook friends?

Brooke Jacobs: There shouldn’t be a difference but people tend to share more candid shots on social media and wait for that clean perfect moment to actually print an image. Many people never print images which is a shame. I don’t think every captured moment needs to be printed and framed but I know I’m not alone in that wonderful feeling of looking through or stumbling across older images found in a drawer or a box. There is such delight in looking at images of our pets when they were younger or pets that are long gone but never forgotten. The experience of holding a print in your hand and reminiscing isn’t the same digitally.

Duncan, big black cat

Duncan, big black cat

PurrfectCatNames: How can you use holiday themed accessories with your cat – without driving them bananas? There are lots of cute reindeer antlers or holiday sweaters for example, how can you tell if your cat will be okay wearing them, and that you’ll get good photos of your beloved pet in them?

Brooke Jacobs: Every cat is different and some are more tolerant than others. If your cat will wear antlers or a sweater without much fight then you are a very lucky person and I say go for it! Pick a fun spot and have fun!

If your cat will look miserable and only bite you once or twice*, it still might be worth the shot since nothing says ‘Happy Holidays!’ like a miserable cat in a sweater! Again, choose a good area before subjecting your cat to such embarrassing measures!

If your cats is like most cats, they tend to tolerate things around their neck. So holiday ties, small scarves or festive neck gear is most likely the easiest thing to get away with. So many people sell adorable ties online and many pet shops carry ties and festive neck gear.

If putting something on your cat is a definite no no, then go with putting them near holiday displays. A festive cat pad or bed or even a open wrapped box are great alternatives to putting something on your cat. What cat doesn’t love a box! Keeping your cat happy and comfortable (Other than the miserable cat photos.) is the best way to capture an amazing shot of your cat.

PurrfectCatNames: Celebrities talk about taking dozens of “selfies” just to get that perfect one. So it might make sense to take quite a few shots to get a great one – but how is your cat or kitten going to react to that many photos? Especially with a flash involved, such as indoor photography? What do you recommend to make this super comfortable for your pet?

Brooke Jacobs: Unless you are photographing a cat right in their face they tend to not be bothered by the flash. And yes, I agree, sometimes it takes many shots to get that perfect one, so be patient. Keeping a cat comfortable and/or entertained is always the best route to go. Kittens and young cats can’t get enough of play time so on top of being able to get them to play in a designated area and look cute, you are also bonding and entertaining them. Older cats will stay put if they are comfortable or being bribed with treats. We all want perfect images of our pets but make sure they are enjoying the experience.

PurrfectCatNames: The very best cat photos show your pet’s purrsonality, not just them standing or lying about. If you are taking holiday photos, do you suggest involving them in a favorite game or toy? How can you bring out that “inner feline” so everyone can admire your cat photos?

Brooke Jacobs: Yes, having cats involved with play or treats or adoration, which ever they desire, is the best way to get then to be most themselves in front of the camera. If you are serious about getting a great image the dynamic does change a bit, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be themselves. Dangling a toy or holding a bag of treats above a camera gets great eye contact but also shows a cat’s curiosity or desire for a reward. So, setting up a situation you know your cat will be interested in that involves holiday charm is the best solution to getting you cat to be themselves but also getting a fun festive image.

Brooke Jacobs takes photos of cats for private clients and commercial use, such as greeting cards and calendars. Learn more about Brooke by visiting:
Website: BrookeJacobs.com
Instagram: instagram.com/brookejacobspetphotography/

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