Getting the Perfect Shot

Tips for taking a holiday photo of the furry kids
By JoAnna Lou, December 2009, Updated June 2021

With the holidays quickly approaching, I decided that it was time to take our annual portrait of the dogs to send out with the Christmas cards. Not only is it fun to give our friends a cute photo, but it's nice to look back at the dogs over the years. This time we were inspired by an old childhood picture of a friend and her trusty pup dressed up for the ski slopes. 

To get a good shot, it certainly helps to have very patient dogs and a good sit stay, but regardless, taking a picture of multiple animals can be a challenge. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re capturing your holiday portrait:

  • Plan the shot you want in advance, but allow for flexibility.
  • In general, keep it simple.
  • Find a solid, contrasting backdrop that is free of objects that will detract from your main subject(s).
  • Enlist the help of a friend to get the pets to look at the camera, wrangle them into position, and bribe them with treats to stay in place.
  • Turn off your flash and use natural lighting. Outdoors, away from direct sunlight, is ideal.
  • Get on your knees and take the picture at your pet’s eye level (not looking down at them).
  • Pre-focus your camera so that you’re ready to capture the shot as soon as your pups get into the perfect position (for most point-and-shoot cameras, this means pressing the shooting button halfway while pointing it at your desired subject).
  • Make it a positive experience. Keep the session short and feed lots of treats and/or incorporate play. You don't want your crew to hate getting their picture taken!

For more pet photography tips, read How to Take a Great Photo of Your Dog and Dog Photography Tips: Aim to Please.

Good luck and have fun!

Tags: 

 Image: Shutterstock

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.