Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Santa has Rudolph. Charlie Brown has
Snoopy. Even the Grinch has Max. It's only natural to want to include our furry,
feathered and maybe even finned family members in holiday celebrations. That's easy when it comes to
sharing turkey with your kitty, but posing a petulant pet for a greeting card photo, well, that may take a bit more planning.
Sharpshooter Jamie Pflughoeft, owner of
Cowbelly Pet Photography in Seattle, believes the results are well worth the effort. “If you can send a card that makes people smile and adds a bright spot to their day, then that's a gift in and of itself," says Pflughoeft, who has been photographing
cats and dogs professionally since 2003. We asked Pflughoeft to share her top five tips for making
your own four-legged photo session as easy as pumpkin pie.
“Ideally, you want to get your pets in a great mood first, so they look happy and relaxed when it's time to pull out the camera," Pflughoeft says. "So let them play with their favorite toys,
offer them treats or just give them lots of love and pets if that's what they love most.”
“To get your pet to
look at you, don't call his name, because that could make him come to you," she says. "Instead, make some noises, like imitating a dog bark, a
bird chirp or even a sharp 'eee eee eee!' " You can also use a squeak toy, but Pflughoeft says that you should squeeze it only once or twice — or you risk losing your pet's interest.
When it comes to props, less is definitely more, like a simple red bow tied around your pup's neck. “If you own a
small dog, place him in the center of a classy pine wreath," Pflughoeft suggests. "Have a big,
smiley guy? Wrap him up in ribbons and wrapping paper to create a humorous picture.”
Another tact is to play with classic holiday colors. “Last year, I posed a
Papillon in front of the door to his house, which happened to be red," Pflughoeft says. "Then I dropped the image into a holiday card design. So it doesn't have to be a
dog or a cat sitting in front of a
Christmas tree to look holidaylike.”
“Flash-produced pet photos look terrible," Pflughoeft says. "If you don't have manual controls on your camera, take the photos in natural light outside during the day, so you avoid the dreaded yellow-green glare in your pet's eyes.”
For manual camera owners, Pflughoeft recommends using the aperture priority setting. "Change the aperture to a low setting (f/2.8 or f/3.5) and increase the ISO to between 400 and 600," she says. "This setting lets in the most light, which you'll need in order to freeze motion and prevent blur.”
“Self-portraits taken with a simple point-and-shoot camera produce some of the cutest people-pets photos," Pflughoeft says. "The key is to hold the camera above your head by about a foot and aim it down toward you, then try to fill the frame with both you and your pet's faces. And be sure to hold the camera close to you, so you don't have that 'long arm' look that's common with
Once you've captured that perfect shot, you can tame stray whiskers using
Photoshop Express Editor. The program is available online for free and it allows you to crop, adjust exposure and sharpen images.
Several companies offer photo card templates for animal lovers, including
simplytoimpress.com. And, yes, there's also an app for that:
Sincerely Ink holiday cards are available via iTunes for the iPhone and iPad. The app is free, and each card sent is $1.99 with postage.
More on Vetstreet
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
In a massive airlift, 33 circus lions from
Peru and Colombia boarded a flight to a
sanctuary in South Africa.
Saturday is National Adopt a Shelter Pet
Day, so we’re featuring photos of shelter
pets our readers have rescued!
We looked at our database of more than
78,000 Persian cat names to come up
with the top male and female monikers.
In honor of National Hairball Awareness
Day today, Dr. Patty Khuly is sharing four
expert tips on how to prevent…
Secondhand smoke isn't just hazardous
for humans — it can cause many of the
same illnesses in pets, too.
The APBT has a formidable reputation
and appearance, but he is meant to be a
dog who loves and accepts people.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
Visit HealthyPet magazine for interviews with pet-loving celebrities, health advice from our experts, training tips and…
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.