Photographing Kemi & Mani

Kemi and Mani are tough photographic subjects because their faces are so dark. There isn’t enough contrast and the photos rarely come out well, except on the rare occasion that there is sufficient natural light. They are both so beautiful, but so underrepresented on the Chronicles, especially my beautiful Mani. Mani has the added problem of not being able to sit still unless he is napping. Otherwise, he is eating, playing, or rolling on his back like an otter.

There must be some kind of photographic equipment that I could use to make photos easier. Some kind of lamp thingy? I’m also thinking of getting a screen for backdrops but I don’t even know what they are called. I do not like being limited by the natural light in a relatively dark house, and as winter approaches, the light becomes ever scarcer.

miaos 8-28-2011 10-47-54 AM

three miaos (four, actually – orange Ping is just barely in the lower right corner)
miao 8-28-2011 10-47-27 AM

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25 Responses to Photographing Kemi & Mani

  1. I kind of run into the same problem with Shadow. Sometimes, fiddling with the settings in manual is all you can do. There’s also black and white. Maybe do some research online? There have to be more people that have run into the same problem

    • Oldcat says:

      At work they use a white nylon fabric cube so that when you shine light on the outside of it, diffuse but bright light is created on the subject so you can see some detail. I’ve also seen light colored umbrellas used in this way. A white sheet could also work.

      You can get extra lighting – I’ve gotten some battery powered LED lights here and there and I’m sure camera shops sell them. Using a desk lamp would probably also work with a diffuser in front of it.

      Photo shop tools can ‘stretch’ the pixel color on a dark picture and add contrast, but then the picture might look odd. I’m not good enough at that to have it look nice.

      I have the same wriggler problem with Julius. He wriggles, changes position dramatically, or sits calmly facing the other direction all the time. Stinker

      • littlemiao says:

        I’m going to try and find some affordable equipment. A white sheet is also a good idea. We have an extra room in the house that I’ve wanted to convert into a Miao Studio.

        Sometimes I think kitty photography is a two-person job, at least when it comes to wrigglers. You need one person to distract them and get them to pose while you take the photos.

        I also need to look into some automatic photo thing where you don’t have to touch the camera to take the pictures. It’s not the automatic timer that comes with the camera, it’s some kind of external thing to take a photo instantly. I have a short tripod somewhere that I need to find.

        • Oldcat says:

          My brother’s old manual camera used to have a place to screw in a remote shutter release – a wire with a plunger on it. He could also add a remote flash unit to it. You’d have to look at your camera to see if it has anything like it – I’m pretty sure my itty biity one does not, although I haven’t pored through the manual.

          The camera maker would probably have a list of ‘accessories’ for the camera to look through, even if you bought elsewhere.

        • Oldcat says:

          I have a tiny tripod and have used it on my itty bitty camera. It was a freebie from somewhere a while ago. That feature my camera does have.

    • littlemiao says:

      At one point, I had found some recommendations for more-or-less affordable equipment, but I’m afraid I lost the links. I’ll have to dig through all my bookmarks. Shadow has the same dark coloring as Mani. They’re both so beautiful, they deserve plenty of photos. Now that your camera is back, maybe we’ll see more of Shadow…?

      I should try b&w.

  2. jimmie chew says:

    I also have the same problems, and no money to upgrade, just have fun

  3. trishc1812 says:

    I’ve had that problem too with my old dog, Pappy. He was a black cocker-spaniel and had a little stub of a tail. I can’t tell you how many pictures I have of him and I can’t tell which end is his face and which end is his tail.

    Photographing dark furred babies is a real challenge. I must say, though, that you do a really good job of getting the Miao’s pictures taken and posted.

  4. Lauri says:

    Lots of contented honk-shus coming from the Miao pile! 🙂

  5. Mr. Guilt says:

    I find I have the same challenge with Luna. I find I have to turn up all the lights, set my camera to widest aperture and the slowest shutter I can tolerate, and then tweak the heck out of it in iPhoto.

    Are you using an SLR? If so, look at a fast prime lens. When I can, I try to use my 50 mm F/1.8.

    Not really sure what to do about it, unless I want to set up dedicated photo lights everywhere. But then there would be no cute photos of her climbing on the fireplace screen.

    • littlemiao says:

      My 50mm is the lens I usually use indoors – well, at this point I only have two lenses, and mostly the 50mm stays on the camera always. I’m not so good at editing photos, but I do use Picasa for some basic things. I wish I had an Apple, but I guess that’s a separate issue.

      Black kitties are tough subjects. I need to move to a house with skylights. Or more realistically, I need some kind of photo lights.

  6. Freedom Smith says:

    They are both beautiful! I know what you mean about the lighting being difficult. We have that problem with Patsy’s black hair blending into a dark background. Once, when the magazine on the mountain took her picture (a dress magazine), one person held up a reflector and caught light and shined it down on her hair, so it did not blend in with the bush she stood in front of. I don’t know if you could try something like that, perhaps, something to throw more light on their sweet faces.

Miao & Purr!

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