Who among us is planning to feature their pet in their Christmas card photos? Who did and found it to be an “experience?” Some pets are simply more cooperative models than others but all have the potential to be a star! This week we have some tips for getting that perfect shot.
Withhold her favorite toy or treat
Does your pet have a prized possession? Restrict access to it for a couple of hours leading up to the photo session and then use it to hold her attention. Her desire to earn it back will be a great motivator to “sit” or “give paw” when asked. Not to mention that gleam of excitement in her eye! If she’s a foodie, engage her with extra special treats like pieces of chicken.
Does your pet get antsy at all the moments you’d like her to be still? Take her out or play prior to your photo session to get her wiggles out. It is much easier to work with a calm animal.
Have an “assistant”
Whether you plan to be in the photo or not, if you can employ a helper to snap the photos as you get your pet to face the camera, tilt her head, what have you, a friend your pet knows is a great idea. If you plan to pose with your furry buddy, another person comes in handy even more. From experience, we can say the timer button is only so helpful!
Teach the “focus” command
Teaching your pet “focus” is to teach them to hold eye contact with you. We taught it to our dogs by drawing their gaze to us with a treat, saying “focus,” and rewarding them with another treat secretly held in the other hand. This “trick” isn’t limited to dogs or photographic pursuits!
Some other things we’ve learned through hundreds of outtakes are to always check the battery and settings on our camera and not to try anything new that day. If you’ve run out of time are down to your last chance to wrap your cat in Christmas lights and snap a photo, make sure you’ve subjected her to that adorable indignity beforehand. The stress or excitement of a new experience and being asked to “perform” can be a little overwhelming, making for a potentially unproductive photo shoot. Most importantly, keep it fun! Give your pet plenty of praise and treats to stay engaged, give her breaks as needed, and play with as many different angles and backgrounds as you can. Sometimes the best photo is the unplanned one. Happy photographing!