Who doesn’t love a photogenic feline? Pet photography can be fun and rewarding, but not everyone has a cat as willing to pose for the camera as Shironeko. You don’t need to have years of photography experience to take great cat photos. Simply follow these 4 steps, and you’ll be on your way to a great photoshoot in no time.

1 – Keep your camera ready

Whether you’re walking down the street or having a quiet moment with your kitty, you never know when the next photo op is right around the corner. If you’re using your cell phone to take pictures, you can take quicker photos by enabling the camera from your unlock screen. Read how to do it on your Android, iOS, or Windows phone.

2 – Turn the flash off

Cats have lightning fast reflexes, and a sudden flash of light could startle them out of that perfect pose. Not to mention, flashes often cast an unnatural light that distort the colors of your image. Instead, adjust the brightness and contrast on your camera.

Use natural light whenever possible. Zoran Milutinovic, an expert pet photographer, suggests shooting when the sun is lower in the sky. “Then you’ll have that warm, soft light, without shadows on a cat’s face and fur,” he writes along with other advanced tips on the 500 ISO blog.

3 – Turn on multishot

When you set your camera to take several photos within a few seconds, chances are greater that one of your photos is going to be perfect. This is especially useful when your kitty is moving fast, like when she’s playing with a toy, or if you have shaky hands and tend to blur photos. Most smartphones and digital cameras have a multishot function.

4 – Play to the cat’s curiosity

Walter Chandoha, a master pet photographer for over 60 years, recommends interacting with your cat in order to get the best facial expressions. You can likewise make noises or use toys to get your cat to look at the camera. Chandoha shares more about his inspiring life of pet photography in this endearing video by the New York Times.

However, if you want to photograph shy or wild cats, staring at your subjects long enough to snap a good photo may make them nervous or cause them to run away. For these kitties, you may want to pretend to be doing something else, like reading a book, and then snap the photo over your shoulder.

So how’d you do? We want to see your pictures! Tag Katie’s Kitty on Instagram (@KatiesKittyNYC) in your cat photos, and check out some of the great uploads our pet sitters have posted today.

Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

“Wonder” by Holly Zade is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0