WiggleLess kindly asked if I’d be interested in doing a guest blog for their website not too long ago and I told them of course! They wanted something photo related and I figured with the holidays coming up, people will be trying to take some photos of their pets for Christmas cards and to send to family. Here’s a taste of the post below, but make sure you head to WiggleLess for the full blog post!

Getting the perfect fridge-worthy holiday photo of your furry family member to include on your greeting card can be a challenge, even for professionals. You have a huge advantage, though, because you know your pet best! If you follow the tips below and use your knowledge of your pets personality, you can get the perfect photos for the holidays:

1. Wear your pup out. This is crucial and I can’t stress enough how much exercising your pet will help you get a better photo. A tired dog is a cooperative dog. You’ll know what sort of activity you’ll need to do with your pet to burn off excess energy. Some hyper breeds might need an hour-long session at the dog park, while others might just need a walk around the block. Do what you must to get them nice and tuckered out for your photo op.

2. Get your dog used to the camera. Hopefully you’ve used your camera around your dog a little bit prior to attempting to take your holiday photos, but if you haven’t, take a week or so to use it around your dog and with your dog so they’re not too camera shy. I recommend lots of treats when you take a photo so they realize it’s a good thing that gets them a reward.

3. Pick your location and time wisely. A well-lit, familiar place with few distractions is best for pet photos. You don’t want your pup too interested in the surroundings or they won’t be looking at you for the photo! Your backyard or even a little staged area inside with some holiday decorations should work just fine. Just be sure it’s well lit, which means lots of sunlight coming in through the windows if you’re inside and, if you’re planning on shooting outside, use the shade OR wait until right before sunset where everything is evenly lit; we photographers call that the “golden hour” for a reason.

4. Pick out the appropriate props. A lot of people like dressing up their pet and/or using holiday decor in their photos. This is totally up to you! I recommend putting your pet’s outfit on them a few days prior for periods of time so they get used to it. If you’re doing a scenery, set that up a day or two beforehand so they can sniff it out and aren’t too distracted when you actually go to take the photos.

5. Don’t use flash. A well-lit location is crucial, because using the flash on an animal doesn’t turn out too well. If you’ve noticed, dogs get very large yellow, blue, and all kinds of colored orbs instead of the typical “red eye.” This is pretty much impossible to fix without looking super awkward, so it’s best to avoid using flash all together.

To see all 10 tips, please head over to WiggleLess’ website!