Our computer's recycling bin is full of failed photo attempts. Some are just blurry shots of our dog’s head and wagging tail. Others showcase Mr. Whisker’s rage as he ripped his way out of that stupid Christmas sweater. And, of course, there’s the photo that captures the moment Rufus ate Santa’s beard. It can be hard to get our pets to play nice for holiday photos. Unlike us, our fur-babies have no real desire to make pretty greeting cards. It makes us wonder how so many people can end up with amazing dog and kitty Instagram accounts when we can’t even get our pet to sit still for a 10-second holiday snap. Here are nine tips we can use to ensure our holiday pet photos are picture perfect.
9 Tips We Can Use To Ensure Better Holiday Pet Photos
These tips are some of the best ways to snap the best pics of active and difficult-to-capture pups and kitties. They come from some of the top pet photographers and Instagram pet star guardians out there.
We need to make sure we have everything we need before we start taking pictures. If we’re not sure how to adjust focus or disable flash, we should take 10 or 15 minutes to read the dusty owner’s manual or jump on our trusty search engine. Once that’s done, we can get to work setting up the area. Smart pet parents only call Fido over after making a list and checking it thrice.
Avoid Using the Flash
Much like it did with Gizmo in Gremlins, that sudden burst of white light can startle our pets. Furthermore, thanks to how their eyes are set up, that flash will often leave our dog or cat with glowing eyes. While this is great for Halloween cards, that demonic gaze doesn’t quite capture the spirit of the holidays. If we need better lit photos, it’s time to fiddle with our camera’s manual controls. When time allows, it’s suggested that pictures be taken outside or by a window to optimize the amount of natural light.
Resort to Good-Ole Fashioned Bribery
The hardest part of a holiday photo shoot is getting our pet to look at the dang camera. To ensure we get the perfect shot, we need to bring along plenty of treats and a squeaky toy. By combining the two, we can get our dog or cat to do some pretty cute things. Just be sure to use treats that will be motivating. If the fur-baby isn’t interested in the treats available, they won’t be interested in working for it. Premium, 100% natural, freeze-dried, wild-caught EcoTreats sockeye salmon filet bits are treats pets can’t resist! And EcoTreats signature chicken jerky is the freshest, highest-quality chicken jerky treat on the market.
Get Them Acquainted with the Equipment
To a cat or dog, a fisheye lens, tripod, or camcorder can be pretty scary. To ensure they don’t spend half the shoot trying to run away, we need to take some time to familiarize our fur babies with the camera equipment. We should start by offering the camera to our pet to sniff and paw at. Once they become a bit less nervous, pick it up and take a few practice shots. Repeat this process once or twice a day until the day of the photoshoot. By then, our pets should be comfortable playing furry supermodel.
Take Care of All That Excess Energy
It’s not easy to take a picture of a pup with a case of the zoomies. To prevent this from becoming an issue, schedule at least 30 minutes of playtime before the shoot. Play a vigorous game of fetch. Pull out Ms. Kitty Fantastico’s favorite feather toy and coax out her inner hunter. Get Sir Fuzzy Paw’s favorite squeaky ball and throw it a few hundred times. Though this will definitely help our pet sit still, it has another less obvious benefit. All of that quality time is likely to leave even the grumpiest of animals with a happy glimmer in their eyes.
A creaking floorboard, clattering forks, or birds pecking at the window are more than enough to throw our pets off their game. Therefore, it’s crucial that we take the pictures in an area free from distractions. If taking the photos inside the home, be sure to remove toys from the area so their focuswill stay on us and whatever toys we are offering. For those of us heading outside, it’s essential that we familiarize our fur-baby with the area in which we’ll be shooting. Give them a few minutes to sniff the bushes and inspect all those weird little noises. Doing everything outlined above will help ensure that our pet’s attention is where it needs to be: on the us and the camera.
Dress Cat- and Canine-Companions in Holiday Attire
Nothing says Season’s Greetings quite like a pair of elf ears and an ugly Christmas sweater. If we shop around, it’s pretty easy to acquire festive pet attire at a drastic markdown. How far we go in playing dress up depends wholly on our pet’s temperament. Some cats won’t tolerate so much as a collar. Others are perfectly fine being dressed as the Keebler elf. Some dogs will tolerate mittens and santa hats. Others will barely be willing to hold a candy cane-shaped bone for more than three seconds. For the particularly grinchy, try a candy cane collar or a pair of jingling antlers that can be removed quickly as we reward them with a treat. If our pet shows any signs of discomfort, it’s time to take them off. We can always take a long break and get back to work later. Even if it ruins the shot, no one wants to turn their fur-baby into Ebenezer Scrooge.
Get On All Fours
Taking pictures from above can result in a blurry, distorted image. To truly capture our pet’s personality, keep the camera at or below our pet’s eye level. This can mean kneeling or even laying down on the floor.
The first picture is rarely a blue-ribbon winner. Keep at it until a few real humdingers stand out. The holidays are meant to be fun—not why we checked into a mental institution, so remember to take sanity breaks as well as give fur-babies time between shots.
By using the tips listed here, we can ensure our pictures will be fridge-magnet-ready. While it might not be easy, we should try our best to have a good time. Even photos that qualify as epic fails can be sources of merriment down the road. If these tips proved helpful, please send us your photos or tag us on Facebook (@VetOrganics) and Instagram (@vet_organics) We’d love to see those pictures.
- “Here's How To Get a Great Photo of Your Dog This Christmas” Southern Living
- “Pet Photography Tips” Family Circle
- “Pet Photography Tips: Featuring your Pet in Your Holiday Greetings!” The Dog People