Best Poses for Awesome Holiday Photos With Your Pet

Holiday photo season is here! If you are like us, you cannot ever have enough photos of your beautiful pups. Here are some tricks that we have learned to help get the best possible photos of your dogs at Christmas time and throughout the year. 

Planning for Your Dog’s Photoshoot

Whether you are attending an event with Santa Paws, working with a professional photographer, or using your phone and taking your own photos, planning ahead for your dog’s photoshoot is key. Your dog does not understand what a photograph is, but they can still have fun being the subject of your photos. The way to make a photoshoot fun for your dog is to practice their obedience commands, provide plenty of treats and praise, and to let them just be a dog. 

Introduce Hats, Outfits, and New Toys Before Picture Day

While elaborate holiday outfits can look adorable, if your dog does not typically wear clothes or accessories, he or she will probably be more relaxed without elaborate outfits and props. If you do choose to put your dog in an outfit, let them get used to it before the photoshoot. Professional pet photographer Richie Swartz of Pets Photography Studio recommends on his blog, “If your pup is going to wear an outfit or even just a Santa hat, put it on a couple days before to make sure it fits, but more importantly, to see how your pup likes it and to let him/her get used to it.”  

 Swartz also recommends letting your dog play with a day or so before picture day.  This way the toy will not be a novelty on the day of the photos, and your pet will feel more comfortable and less distracted. 

Use Treats and Squeaky Toys to Get Your Dog’s Attention

Bring high value treats or a favorite toy to your dog’s photoshoot. Not only can you use these items to get your dog’s attention and prompt them to look in one direction or another, you can reward them for participating in this activity.

Best Holiday Poses for Holiday Photographs with Dogs

Your dog’s holiday poses start with sit or down. If your dog is young and still going through training, you can practice in the weeks and days leading up to picture day by practicing sit/wait, and down/wait. Remember that your dog’s attention span is short, so try to get your photos quickly before he or she loses interest in participating. 

Keeping Private Parts Private When Photographing Your Dog

There are some things we think about as dog owners that fall into the category of, “if you told me I would be writing about this, I would have told you that you were crazy!”  But, let’s face it, the last thing you want in your carefully planned photo shoot of your dog is to have his or her private areas front and center. 

Professional pet photographers usually have this pun intended. Some breeds (like our big handsome beast Dover) are furry enough that this is not a problem. Photographing your dog while he/she is lying down will also eliminate this issue. The secret to tasteful photos of your short haired dog sitting upright is to take the photo from an angle in which their front leg blocks their reproductive organs. While your dog is in their sit/wait position, you can move around and find different camera angles so that their front leg blocks any parts that you do not want to be visible. 

Posing Your Dog for Photos

Your dog has two basic ways to pose. They can sit at attention or lie down. Unlike a human model, who you can direct to move around into different poses, it is easier to have a dog do the sit/wait or down/wait command while the photographer moves around to capture different angles. While your dog is obeying the wait command, you can use treats or their favorite ball or toy to encourage them to move their head a certain way. Squeaky toys and keywords that they know are a great way to capture their adorable head tilt in photos, if they do not cause them to break their wait/stay. 

Posing with Your Dog in Photos

If you are including humans in your photos, there are a variety of fun ways to pose with your dogs, including: 

  • Humans standing, dog sitting in front
  • Humans squatting, dog sitting in front
  • Humans squatting, dog lying in front
  • Humans sitting, dog sitting in front
  • Humans sitting, dog lying down in front
  • Humans lying down, dog lying down between or next to them
  • Humans holding small dogs in their arms

Candid Photos with Your Pet

Candid photos are popular because they capture the subject’s true personality and natural energy. This style is also sometimes called a journalistic style because it tells a story. It has been very popular in wedding photography over the last decade. 

If you are working with a professional photographer, he or she may have you and your dog interact naturally, go for a walk, or play together. This is a great way to get photos of the love between you and your dog. Cute unposed-poses include you and your dog looking at each other or you in the middle of laughing while your dog licks your face or jumps up to say hello. If your dog knows how to “shake hands” you can capture photos of you holding their paw in your hand. 

If you are taking photos of your dog on your own, you can also capture candid shots. Instead of asking your dog to pose, take a variety of photos as he or she sniffs around your yard, runs toward you or gets the zoomies, or plays with their favorite toys. 

Hiding Your Dog’s Leash and Tags

If you are taking photographs with your dog in a place where your dog must be on a leash, you can sit or stand behind your dog and turn their collar so that hook for the leash is in the back. This way you can hold onto their leash without it being evident in the photos. This will also keep their tags and your personal information out of your pictures.

Tips for Successfully Photographing Your Dog

Just like anything with your dog, the key to great holiday photos with your dog is to have fun. Allow yourself plenty of time. It may take several different attempts to get the right location and lighting. Your dog’s reaction to the situation may not be as expected. 

Keep your photo shoot simple. Your dog is a beautiful creature, so you don’t always need elaborate backgrounds or props. A simple background, whether outside or indoors, will put all of the focus on your dog’s natural beauty.

Be open minded. The best shot of the day might be a candid shot of your dog doing something goofy and true to their personality. Although the pose might not have been part of your vision, it will likely be the photo that you treasure the most from your day with your dog. 

Don’t forget to stop by our Facebook page and share your dog’s 2020 holiday photos. Or tag us on Instagram at @pureearthpets. We love to see your babies throughout the year, but especially at Christmas! 

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