Holiday Pet Photos

My pictures of the dogs leave a lot to be desired. They are usually washed out, off center, blurry, and will never win any awards and are really only a way for me to remember funny moments. They will never make them onto a calendar, postcard, or magnet. One of my goals is to improve the quality of my pet pictures.

Looking around the internet I found these suggestions. You can watch the full slideshow at

10. Find a free online photo editing service to crop, sharpen, focus, and do a few touches prior to uploading to a photo printing service, or email to friends. Most drug store chains offer some fun holiday templates you can put customize with text and photos. Services like allow you to upload a picture, add a note, and they will print and mail your card to as many recipients as you like.

9. Get in the photo.
Your pet loves to be with you. It will make the session easier, and its a great way to show the bond between you and them. I have regrets about not documenting myself living my life. Now is the time to start.

8. Be patient.
There’s a rule in television and movies; that you shouldn’t work with children and pets. There is a reason. Pets are unpredictable, get bored, and are easily distracted. If you rush, it will be a stressful experience for both of you.

7. Keep sessions short and comfortable.
Try several locations like windows, furniture, their beds, and other favorite places. Keep it fresh and let them pose naturally in their environment. Let them sleep! They will be at peace, natural, and still!

6. Use the proper attention-getter.
Use treats and commands that cause them to stay still. Calling their name might not be the best idea if they are trained to “come” when hearing their name. Snapping fingers, waving colorful items, and making funny faces and noises usually case them to perk up.

4. Let your pet be himself.
Remember those lack and white pictures of people from the 1700’s? The ones were the people were sitting with perfectly straight backs in Victorian furniture, with the most stoic expressions you’ve ever seen? How many pictures have you seen of dogs sitting, straight on to the camera? Boring. Let them run, sleep, curl up, try snapping just their head and front paws; how about a side profile? Experiment! With digital photography, you can be a total shutterbug and easily delete the pictures you don’t want later.

3. Minimize distractions.

Don’t photograph her in a place she’ll be distracted by people or other animals because that can affect the photo. You should also limit props to what is necessary (if anything at all) and let her check them out beforehand.

2. Be mindful of lighting.
Like all photography, keep the light in front or to the side of the subject. Flashes can not only wash out a picture, they can cause red eye and scare skittish pets. Turn off the flash, use as much natural light as possible, and use photo editing software to brighten areas that need a little final touch.

1. Get your pet familiar with the camera.
Dogs can be cautious; about all new things… People, dogs, toys, even electronics. Let them smell it and get accustomed to the size, smell, and sounds.

Or, leave it to the experts: PetSmart is having a picture day with Santa. Its free, you get a digital photo emailed to you or you can purchase the print and a frame (along with props or costume for you pet to pose with!) Check out their Facebook event here.


Happy Snapping!

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