According to the American Humane Association, 57 percent of all American households include a dog or a cat. The same study shows that 90 percent of pet owners consider their pet to be a member of the family—and for many, it makes sense to include pets in their holiday photos.
Are you among the 27 percent of pet owners who use professional photography services to include your pet in holiday photos? If you’d rather try your hand at photographing your pet, check out these great pet photography tips.
Elements of a Great Pet Photograph
According to award-winning photographer Ken Rockwell, the composition is what separates a great photograph from just another picture.
One of the principal philosophies that Rockwell uses to create great photographs is the mantra “it is never about the subject.” While the focus will be on your pet, all the other factors that go into the picture are important because they’re what let your pet shine.
Think about these factors to perfect your photo:
- Lighting: Usually, there is a focal light that brightens your subject area and a background light that subdues background distractions. Window light is one of the best light sources because it’s soft, yet bright enough to illuminate a face. Good lighting can allow you to take photos without flash.
- Backdrops: Backdrops help eliminate distractions. They can be simple—like a flat sheet—and used to create a solid background color. Wrapping paper is also an excellent background print that is festive and inexpensive. Backgrounds give you control over an environment by removing objects like windows from your picture.
- Props: These are used to create and tie themes together. Sometimes props are as simple as a favorite pet toy. This is where your creativity and imagination can run wild.
Bribery for a Good Cause
Bribing works well to get your pet to look up. Treats, favorite toys, and noisemakers also work well to get the attention of your pet.
Another awesome trick, from The Phoblographer: use a pet treat held right above your camera lens. This can be a powerful method of getting your pet to look at the camera, and they’ll be happy to enjoy the treat after you snap the perfect shot.
Thinking About the Finished Product
Be prepared to take a lot of photographs during your photoshoot. Sites that offer Christmas card designs are a good place to start the idea process.
Many sites allow you to upload your photograph and create a holiday card. Thanks to technology, printing your own holiday cards using your pet photographs makes the process economical, easy, and fun.