May 21, 2024

The dreaded annual vacation card picture shoot. The stakes are excessive and the stress is on. It’s onerous sufficient to get your partner and children to wash up, gown up and smile for pictures, however your canine, too?

Dogster interviewed a spread of pet image consultants, from canine trainers to photographers, to get the highest canine pictures ideas.

Pet vacation playing cards begin with a strong plan

Before snapping away, take into consideration what your imaginative and prescient is for probably the most touching, hilarious or memorable picture. Decide the place your shoot shall be, what your canine shall be doing and what she’s going to put on.

“Plan each element,” says licensed skilled canine coach Joan Hunter Mayer. Questions to think about: Is the picture solely of the canine, the pet father or mother out of body? Or, will the image be your entire household? Will everybody together with the canine be dressed up?

Joan surprises her family and friends every year with vacation playing cards that includes her husband and canine, Ringo Starr. They have dressed Ringo as a undercover agent, a rabbit in a magician’s hat and a cub scout.

They rent knowledgeable photographer to shoot of their residence however strategize prematurely.

A profitable canine Christmas card takes coaching

Whether your canine is carrying reindeer antlers or is just supposed to take a seat through the image, practice your pooch earlier than the picture shoot.

Joan buys Ringo’s costumes forward of time so she will be able to use rewards to situation him to be joyful in his apparel.

“You need the canine to love the outfit, so each time it seems, give your canine a high-value deal with,” Joan says. “Then gently contact your canine with the costume, then deal with. Start to decorate him, then deal with. Gradually get him totally dressed, then deal with.”

Certified integrative pet behaviorist Rona Distenfeld recommends educating your canine the right way to stay calm, so he can sit or maintain the down place in a relaxed manner.

“This means that you can transfer round with the digital camera,” Rona says. “These ought to all be taught by way of optimistic reinforcement with out utilizing any type of restraint or aversive response for errors.”

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Get your canine used to the digital camera

Keep these canine cookies helpful and use them to get your canine acquainted with picture shoot tools.

If you’re utilizing a smartphone, your canine is probably going used to the machine because you most likely have a whole bunch of pet footage saved in your cell. But when you use a digital camera that makes noises be sure your pup isn’t startled.

“Allow the canine to scent the digital camera when you follow taking pictures with it,” says Natalie Hay, inventive director at Alpine Dog Co. Natalie pictures canine that mannequin the corporate’s pet gear. “Have treats to reward them every time you’re taking a photograph – they are going to be taught that staying for a pose means they get goodies as soon as they do,” she says.

Tripods and light-weight stands will be scary for some canine, so let your pup examine them out with, you guessed it, treats.

Lighting could make your canine Christmas card pop

Great lighting is essential to professional-looking pictures.

Dog in bunny costume
Here’s a fantastic canine pictures tip: Familiarize your canine together with his outfit and site of the picture shoot earlier than image day to keep away from overstimulation. © Shannon Jayne Photography

If you’re taking pictures inside, keep away from having your picture topics stand in entrance of a window, which may make them appear to be silhouettes. Instead, have the pure gentle shine on the entrance of your canine and household.

Kelly Mondora, a photograph skilled and founding father of Ilios Lighting, says, “Smaller ring lights are nice for small pets, whereas bigger ring lights can be utilized for bigger pets.”

Ring lights usually come in numerous colours, so you’ll be able to select one that may complement your pet’s fur shade, Kelly provides.

If you’re taking the image outdoors, keep away from direct daylight so your topics are usually not squinting. “On a sunny day, select an evenly shaded spot, so bushes don’t dapple the sunshine,” says Cheryl Ritzel, a pictures teacher and proprietor of FocusEd Camera. “If it’s overcast with even cloud cowl, you’ll be able to arrange virtually wherever. Shade or overcast skies are all oblique gentle, giving probably the most flattering look to portrait topics of all types.”

Be cautious utilizing your digital camera’s flash, which may trigger your canine’s eyes to gentle up with that demon-like glow.

Practice your pet vacation card picture shoots

The cliché follow makes excellent (or not less than makes nice bloopers) applies right here. “Dress rehearsals are key to a profitable picture shoot,” Joan says.

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Bring your pup to the place you will take the image.

“Familiarize your canine with the situation you’re taking pictures, so that they have much less want to smell out all the brand new scents,” Natalie says.

Of course, carry that bottomless bag of treats! “You will must be affected person and reward your pet for good conduct,” Cheryl says. “Take breaks if issues aren’t working. Never scold your pet. They shall be much less cooperative in the event that they be taught that portrait time is aggravating.”

On image day: the right way to seize the proper pet picture

How are you able to get your pup to have a look at the digital camera and strike a pose?

Dog mother Lynn Julian has a secret weapon. She makes use of a deal with holder that mounts on prime of her smartphone. “It is a reasonable, silicone clip that sells for just a few {dollars},” Lynn says. “The canine seems to be on the deal with and unknowingly seems to be on the digital camera.” (Examples of canine deal with holders are

  • The Woofie $10
  • The Flexy Paw $9.99
  • The Dog Treat Selfie Clip $5.50

Cheryl recommends the digital camera be stage together with your canine’s face and targeted on their eyes. “This perspective would be the simplest,” she says. “Move round your pet to get pictures from completely different sides and angles. Move together with your ft if you wish to get nearer or farther away. Don’t depend on the zoom of the digital camera lens or telephone.”

If your canine is low power, Sarah Dyer, the founder and chief photographer of Chuckle Hounds pet apparel suggests exercising your canine earlier than the shoot. “A panting canine seems to be joyful,” she says. “A torpid canine seems to be unhappy.”

Don’t maintain again on the variety of footage you’re taking. That one out of 100 pictures may be the headliner to your picture card.

Camera settings improve pet pictures

Many DSLR cameras have pet, wildlife, sport or motion settings.

“In these modes, the digital camera will robotically choose quicker shutter speeds. A quick shutter velocity will cease movement and get a shot the place the pet isn’t blurry,” Cheryl says.

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Some cameras have a burst mode that takes many pictures rapidly. Other units have animal eye detection autofocus.

If you’re the photographer and within the picture, Sarah recommends utilizing a reasonable Bluetooth distant so you’ll be able to snap pictures with the clicking of a button. “It’s manner higher than attempting to angle your selfie stick to cover your arm,” she says.

Editing your canine pictures for vacation pet playing cards

Enhancing your pictures after the shoot is OK.

Dog Halloween costume idea
Don’t delete the bloopers! Pet vacation card picture misses could make the perfect recollections. © Shannon Jayne Photography

“Professional portrait photographers all the time edit their pictures,” Cheryl says.

Sarah says it’s uncommon that she will get the proper shot, so she combines and crops pictures, adjusts the sunshine and even provides snow. “Trying to shoot with snowflakes melting in your digital camera is a large number,” she says. “I exploit an app referred to as Just Snow to make some footage appear to be a winter wonderland.”

Other picture enhancing apps allow you to cowl blemishes, whiten smiles and even make folks look thinner.

Pet vacation card bloopers make the perfect recollections

Be versatile together with your imaginative and prescient of the proper picture and evaluation your bloopers. They will not be what you deliberate however may very well be the hilarious vacation picture card everybody hangs on their fridge.

Joan has hundreds of picture outtakes from over time. “The complete expertise could also be the perfect reminiscence you’ll ever have,” she says. “No matter how a lot you strategize for plan A, your canine will make it plan B. But that plan B could find yourself being the funniest picture you’ll ever seize — or the perfect story you’ll get to inform your family and friends.”


  • Exercise high-energy canine earlier than the photoshoot
  • Have somebody assist or take the picture
  • Use a light-weight ring for indoor picture shoots
  • Remain calm and picked up however have enjoyable
  • Reward good conduct with high-value treats.


  • Schedule the shoot for when your canine often naps
  • Use startling sounds to get your canine’s consideration
  • Put your canine in uncomfortable outfits
  • Scold your canine for not cooperating.