Your holiday photo isn’t complete without Fido. Pets are an essential part of many families and have earned a spot alongside their human companions. Dress your dog in a festive collar or slide on a pair of antlers, and he’s picture-perfect. Of course, getting your furry friend to hold still long enough to snap a photo isn’t always easy. Make this year’s holiday photoshoot the best one yet with these tips that promote optimal pet behavior.
Have Treats on Hand
Most animals are highly responsive to food. Treats work exceptionally well when trying to get a dog to maintain focus. During the holiday photoshoot, have a supply of your pet’s favorite treats nearby. Use treats to reward your pet when he sits or performs another command. If your dog is not yet fully trained to sit or stay upon command, consider practicing at home in the weeks leading up to the photoshoot. Your dog will quickly learn that when he positively responds to your commands, he’ll get a tasty treat.
Remove All Distractions
Pets respond best to calm environments where there are minimal people, noises, and other distractions. Whether you’re planning a holiday photoshoot outdoors, in a studio, or at home, be sure to remove anything that could take your pet’s attention away from the task at hand.
Hire a Photographer
You may be tempted to take your own holiday photo to save a few bucks. While this could work if your pet is usually calm and attentive, this is not always the case. Hiring a seasoned photographer that has experience shooting pets allows you to focus on your pet’s pose. Pet photographers have learned tips and tricks to get pets to hold still and pose in specific ways that capture their unique personalities.
Have Plenty of Patience
Don’t expect the holiday photo to go perfectly the first time around. It may take time for your pet to get comfortable with the situation, especially if this is his first time joining the holiday photo. Get your dog used to the camera by allowing him to smell it and by taking practice shots before the big day. Your pet is more likely to cooperate when he feels relaxed, and he knows that the camera is not to be feared.
Use a Leash When Needed
No matter how much patience you have, your dog may not hold still. This is relatively common when dealing with a young or untrained dog that is easily distracted. To prevent your dog from constantly walking away mid-shoot, put your pup on a leash. A taut leash will encourage your dog to stand still and remain focused. Best of all, the photographer should be able to easily edit out the leash from the picture, making it appear as if it was never there.
Practice with Props at Home
There are few things cuter than a puppy in a Santa hat or propped up in an oversized stocking. Of course, getting your dog to take on these poses is no easy feat. If you’re planning a holiday photo that involves props, get your dog used to these props far in advance. Give your pet plenty of time to sniff, wear, or pose at home, so he knows what is expected of him during the photoshoot.
Capture Natural Pet Behaviors
Who says your holiday photo has to be traditional? Get creative with your holiday photoshoot this year by incorporating your dog’s natural behaviors. Does your pup like to roll around on his back while receiving belly rubs? Snap some photos of your dog in all his glory. If you’re shooting outdoors, snap moving photos of your dog playing in the snow or catching snowflakes in mid-air.
Use Tricks to Get the Best Shots
No matter how hard you try, some shots are just difficult to get without the right incentives. A kiss from your pooch can make for a sweet holiday photo. To get this picture, place a small dab of peanut butter on your cheek. Your dog will go in for a lick, and the photographer will have the opportunity to get an adorable kiss shot.
Hold Your Pet’s Favorite Toy
Most pets have a favorite toy. Maybe it’s a classic tennis ball, a rubber chicken, or a squeaky bone. Bring the toy to the photoshoot to help catch your pet’s attention. The photographer can hold the toy just above the camera, which should catch your dog’s gaze.
Tire Out Your Dog Before the Photo
If your dog has a hard time standing still, it’s probably because he has a lot of pent-up energy. Help your dog burn off some of this energy before the photoshoot by taking him for a long walk or by playing a game of fetch just before the shoot. You want your pet tired and relaxed when it comes time for the photoshoot.
Most dogs are not interested in holding still for the camera, but this doesn’t mean you can’t get a beautiful holiday photo. With a bit of patience and the proper techniques, you can get some festive shots that your family can enjoy for many years. This holiday season, make lasting memories by having your beloved pooch join your family in the holiday photo.