A Custom Daily Photo

matted framed photo of four black cats eating

The Fantastic Four at Four, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

A friend enjoyed one of my daily photos so much he wanted a print for himself!

Of course, it’s less to do with me than it is with the “Fantastic Four at Four”, perfectly lined up and having their birthday breakfast on July 26, 2011, the day they turned four years old.

I actually included the photo (below) in the post about Mimi’s “birthday”, July 29, which is the day she arrived here with the “tiny four” and which has become her nominal birthday since I have no idea when it really is. And the Fantastic Four get enough attention, Mimi deserves her own day for lots of reasons.

four cats eating

Fantastic Four eating breakfast on the big day: Jelly Bean, Giuseppe, Mr. Sunshine and Mewsette.

This was kind of staged—they don’t normally eat up there, and they don’t normally eat dry food, but just to get a shot of them all lined up I used bowls of their favorite grain-free dry that I know they all like and, heavens, forced them to eat it! Right. They were lined up as soon as the bowls came out, and if I could only have recorded the purring along with the image…

On seeing the post, a friend said he’d like a print of that photo, and I was thrilled he was interested and also had a few ideas. I play around with these photos and others myself all the time, adjusting colors, adding filters, matting and framing and even printing them on canvas and tote bags and tees and lots of other things as I plan new merchandise and experiment with products and techniques.

I’d also seen this person’s home and remembered a lovely retro scheme of 1950s bold pastels like pink and yellow and sky blue and mint green along with brushed and bright chrome (especially that totally cool chrome chandelier with the pastel ceramic cups and saucers as the light fixtures), and along with asking what size he’d like it I offered to mat and frame it. I was picturing the photo in black and white instead of color, a bright or brushed chrome frame in a particular retro style, and a white mat with a colored liner, mint green—for the Four and their favorite sink—or pink since the color was often used in the room.

I described this to him, and to my surprise he had the same sort of thing in mind. I am sometimes fortunate when a customer and I have the same idea for their custom piece, but his went pretty far into the actual details of the idea. But I knew I could move forward with the confidence that in the end he wouldn’t receive his artwork (he is not local and would not see it as I was working on it) and ask me what I was thinking when I put this together…

So that was the plan. He gave me the size for the area it would go, I planned out the size of the frame and mat and print and put it together. The frame size of the finished piece is 11.5″ x 24.5″, the image is 6.5″ x 19.5″.

black and white photo of four cats eating

The Fantastic Four, the final version of the photo.

When black and white photos are printed through a color printing machine, as most of us have our prints made now, you’ll see a slight color cast that varies for many reasons, from the content of your own file to the machine that prints them. It’s not always noticeable until you put it with another color, and in this case when I cut the mat and looked at the print next to the pink, it looked a less-than-attractive dull green. I filled the photo just 3% pink and readjusted the brightest highlights back to white and it worked perfectly with the mat.

I just love knowing that my cats are out there being enjoyed by other people. One of these days I hope to have an actual studio where shots like this will be even easier, especially if I use the right cat food, but for now the candid daily shots are also very much enjoyed.

And they serve their purpose for me as well as a daily creative exercise: take usable photos, choose only one, prepare it for view, give it a title and write something about it that others will enjoy—without taking all day! Much of what I do is commercial art, planned by myself and customers and I don’t get the chance to do much that’s extemporaneous, or find the need to come up with ideas, headlines text and images on the spot as I used to when working in advertising. It helps to keep my design senses sharp for everything I do during the day.

So if you see a daily photo—or sketch—that you particularly like, just ask and we’ll plan something special.


Read about more of the things I create that are inspired by my cats in the category “Marketplace”.

To see more daily photos and sketches go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or “Daily Sketches” or choose from the categories below that to see photos and sketches of black cats or tortie cats.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.