My cats seem to understand that when I take pictures of them, it’s a compliment (it means they’re beautiful). Sometimes if I take pictures of one kitty, the other one starts trying to get my attention.
Several months ago, I went on a “big cat encounter” at the zoo where you got to get fairly close (with heavy metal fencing between you) to tigers. At one point, I was taking this tiger’s picture, and the keeper called him to give him a treat, but he sat where he was until I finished taking the picture. I think some tigers know about having their pictures, too. So far, the tigers I’ve gotten close-ish too have been very friendly and interested in people - they’ve decided they’re the most wonderful, beautiful creatures on earth and that visitors are there to admire them (which, of course, they deserve!)