For this installment of our Cat Photography Q & A, we have 19 year old photographer Jessica Trinh. Jessica recently worked with Purina Pro Plan on their #MyGreatCat campaign. This was her first time photographing cats and look at the amazing images she took! Here are Jessica’s insights into photographing cats.
How long have you been photographing pets and how did you get started?
I started to take photos when I was 13. It wasn’t anything serious, rather me just pretending my dog was a model. My parents got me my first camera, and so I started to merely document the life of my dog with it. When I stumbled upon Flickr, I was more intrigued by the conceptual side of photography and began to form my own style. Flickr has been a huge influence, where I have met wonderful people who have inspired me. Today, I am currently based in Fountain Valley, CA. It isn’t a big city, but not small either. It is rather a perfect size but it’d be nice to branch off and discover new things.
What kind of pet photography do you do? Do you have a specialty?
I do “conceptual” pet photography. I try to make stories in my images or create a certain theme. My idea is to make pet photography an art, rather than just the standard portraits.
Do you do anything special to prepare for a photo shoot with a cat?
I have a small journal where I write down ideas for shoots. These are just ideas that are definitely influenced by the attitude of the cat, so sometimes things don’t always go as planned! But whatever happens, I try to make the best of it and adapt the shoot more towards the cat’s specific mood for the day.
What was the most challenging cat photo shoot you have done? Any funny stories?
Fortunately enough, I do have my fair share of stories. I worked with Purina Pro Plan on a wonderful campaign called #MyGreatCat. They wanted me to discover the greatness of a cat, since I mainly focus on dogs and boys, did I learn a lot. Cats are much more curious compared to dogs, and I feel like they are even more human-like. A cat doesn’t love you right away. Similar to people, they need to get to know you before they warm up to you. They definitely need to know they trust you before letting you be around them. It was more of a privilege to pet a cat I’d say, since they are actually letting you! But the funniest thing I would say that happened was how curious some of the cats were. You would look back and not see them then all of a sudden, two ears pop up with the BIGGEST eyes staring at you like, “Hey, who are you?” They have so much personality, and I think I can say I am in love with cats now!
Do you have any tips for readers about how to take great photos of their cats?
For cats, my number one tip is find what they love the most and use it to your advantage. During my photo shoot with Pro Plan, my most useful tool was a laser pointer! Almost all the cats loved that. To get more technical, it would be good to try different angles with cats. The great thing about cats is that they can go to really high places, so you can photograph from underneath them. Another thing is that cats aren’t easy to pose. You cannot put them in a simple “sit and stay” like dogs. I think the best bet would be to go wherever your cat is and make use of the situation…because they are the boss! Once you get a great shot, be sure to share it online and use the hashtag #MyGreatCat. Until Aug. 31, Purina Pro Plan will donate one pound of food to cat rescue groups in need for every post. More details here.
For the more technically inclined readers, can you please tell us what equipment you use?
I use a Canon 5D Mark 3 with a Canon 24L ii and a Canon 50mm f/1.4. I do not have any lighting equipment. I prefer natural lighting.