Oh, what fun it is to include your pets in your holiday photos! Dogs are family, so of course, you want them included in the holiday photo session. But photoshoots can already be chaotic, and when you add pets to the mix, even more so. For a holly jolly good time, use these tips to capture your stinkin’ cute dog in your holiday photos and keep the stress to a minimum. 

1. Hire a pro who has worked with pets. 

For those perfect holiday cards or family calendars complete with your pet’s cute mug, it doesn’t hurt to let the pros work their holiday magic. 

Search for pet-friendly local photographers and peep their portfolios. If their photography style catches your fancy, book an appointment ahead of the holiday rush. Make sure you have all the instructions you need to get ready for the day of the photoshoot. 

Want the services of a pro but without the whole shebang of a full-on photoshoot? Look for ‘Pet Photos with Santa’ holiday events at your local shelters, pet stores, or shopping malls, and include those shots on your holiday cards! 

2. DIY your holiday dog photoshoot.

Depending on how well your dog gets along with strangers or St. Nick, you can also do the photoshoot yourself in the comfort of your own home. 

  • Decide on a holiday theme for the photo shoot, or just go with the flow and catch some candids. 
  • Prep the backdrop and props. Use what’s readily available at your house for the holidays: a festive tree, a pile of gifts, or a fireplace with stockings, to name a few.
  • If your family is in holiday attire, dress your dog up to match! 
  • Use a tripod and self-timer to capture the special moment. You can use your phone or a fancier camera if you have one. Phone shots will do the trick, though! 

If you’re interested in an outdoor photoshoot, simply scout out a dog-friendly holiday market or choose the most decorated street in your town. 

3. Keep treats on standby (but hidden from the camera).

Don’t you wish you had magical elves to assist in taking pictures with your pets? 

The next best thing to help motivate your dog to be in holiday photos is their favorite food. 

After they strike a pose and you get the shot you want, reward them with their special holiday treat. Picture-taking becomes easy-breezy once they associate their snack with your camera.

4. Practice makes perfect holiday photos with pets.  

To ensure your dog strikes the perfect pose on holiday picture-taking day, get them comfortable in the location or with the props you intend to use for the photoshoot. 

This way, you can also see if your vision for your dog in your holiday photos will work or if you need to adjust your plan.

Don’t forget the training treats during your practice photoshoot too! 

5. Keep it fun, not forced.

You may have a great vision for a holiday photo shoot, but your dogs might have a different plan. Don’t force them to pose if they’re not having fun. It’s best to have a backup plan for when your dog is not too keen to be a part of the family photos. 

When taking their solo holiday picture, use a squeaky toy to boost their excitement and help you get the perfect shot. Position the toy near the camera and move it in the direction you want your dog to look. Or you can use the squeaky sound to wait for that epic head tilt you’d love to capture! 

6. Take breaks as needed. 

Be observant during your holiday photoshoot, and look for signs that it’s time to give your camera and dog a break. Remember, holiday photos with pets would look 10x better if your dog is genuinely having fun and not feeling so “over it.”

You can also do the picture session when you know your dog is food-focused. Consider doing it before their regularly scheduled feeding time so they’re more responsive to tasty reward treats. 

You can include your pets in the holiday hustle minus the additional stress. These photo-taking tips will help you snap that compliment-worthy final shot for your holiday cards for family and friends or to simply remember this holiday season by. Have yourself a merry little photoshoot, and don’t forget to share your final shots inside our free Facebook community,  The DOGTV Pack!