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How to Capture the Perfect Holiday Pet Photo

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At Cedarcide, pet photos are our favorite type of holiday photo. Capturing these photos is usually fun and memorable, but it’s not always easy. By considering the following tips, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and sanity, and score some terrific shots, too. And when you’re done, surf on over to our Facebook page and share them with us—we’d love to see your cat or dog!

Familiarize Your Pet with the Camera

Ever met a dog that just doesn’t like cameras—maybe he barks every time it flashes or clicks, maybe he even nips if it gets too close? Chances are the owner never got his pup familiarized with the camera. After all, all those noises and flashes can be scary to unfamiliar pets. Before taking holiday photos—maybe a few days or a week in advance—spend some time getting your cat or dog used to being in front of a camera. Rewarding them with a treat after every practice photo can do wonders—this will help him or her associate the look and sounds of a camera with something positive. Before you know it, they’ll be just as excited for holiday photos as you are.

Turn Off the Flash

Pet photos are often plagued by blurry or glare-filled eyes. The cause? Flash. To achieve the ideal look for holiday pet photos, skip the flash and go with natural lighting instead.

Take Improv and Action Shots, too

Sitting and standing still for long periods of time is difficult for most pets. Capturing them in a more natural setting—playing, sleeping or running, for example—will make things easier and more fun for both you and your pet. You might be surprised: action shots often deliver far better results than traditional holiday-card-style portraits.

Change Your Perspective
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Lowering yourself down to your cat or dog’s level can produce some gorgeous holiday pet photos. For whatever reason, photos taken at the same eye-level as your pet just tend to be a little cuter.

Go with a Calm, Familiar Setting

Distractions are the most common reason pet photos go awry. Choosing a calm setting free of unnecessary distractions—like extra people, other pets, and toys—will make things go much smoother. A room in your own home is usually the ideal location, as unfamiliar locations can be the biggest distraction of all. If your pet is not comfortable, you’re far less likely to snap a decent picture. However, if your pet generally does well in public settings, consider taking them to a special holiday location—pet photos with a local Santa Claus can be especially unforgettable.

Be Patient

When there’s holiday decorations to get tangled up in, family running amok, and dozens of errands left to run, staying patient is not the easiest thing in the world. But finding just a little extra patience when tackling pet photos can make your task all the easier. The logic’s simple: the more time you allow for taking photos, the more priceless memories you’ll likely end up with.

Play with the Focus

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Toying with your camera’s focus settings can turn a good picture into a great one. Specifically, capturing your pet in sharp focus against a blurry backdrop will create a beautiful, professional-style shot. If you have a newer smartphone, check for a setting called “portrait mode.” This essentially does the same thing, rendering closer objects in focus and the backdrop out of focus. The stark contrast will really make your holiday pet photos pop.

Grab Their Attention

From squeaking toys behind the camera to luring their attention with a treat, using something to get your pet to look into the camera will make taking holiday photos a much less stressful activity.

Include Props

If they’re not too much of a distraction for your pet, holiday props like sweaters and santa hats can really spice up a holiday photo. Give it a go, you might be surprised by what your cat or dog lets you get away with.

Pick the Right Time of Day

Consider what times of day your pet is most relaxed and docile. For younger dogs this might be towards the end of the day, when they’ve sufficiently tired themselves out. Whatever time you go with, make sure your pet has been well fed, out to the restroom, and exercised before starting a photo session. Doing so will make your life much, much easier. You’re certain to get far better photos, too.


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