Petlife logo

Tips for Perfect Christmas Photos

by Ashley Hamilton 2 years ago in photography

Of Your Dogs

Christmas is right around the corner and who doesn’t love taking photos of their dogs with lights around them or by the tree or just holiday themed photos?

Luckily, my boy Scorpius will do anything I ask, whether it’s stay in one spot with all kinds of crazy Christmas things on or around him or just staying focused.

^My Favorite Photo from Our Session

Does your dog not have patience like Scorpius? That’s okay. I have some tips for you to be able to catch that great Christmas photo. And the best part? You can use these tips ALL year round.

1. Before your actual photo shoot you’ll want to make sure the dog is comfortable with the items that will be on or around him. (I did this the night before.)

A day or two max before the photo shoot will be best. I only say that because there's a good chance that the dog has never had things on its head or wrapped around the dog. (If that's the case, you'll want to desensitize the dog. Show the item to the dog and sit it on the floor until the dog approaches it. After the dog approaches it, you can try to put the items on the dog again. It may be a few times, and it may be longer for some than another.)

^Here he is, getting used to the lights, with two GLASS ornaments (I DON’T recommend this unless your dog has MASTERED the “stay” command, has a LOT of patience, and is GENUINELY calm), sunglasses, and two little plastic toys: Dalmatian dog and a minion.

2. Your pup should know the command “stay” long enough to stay for at least 2 minutes and you’re going to want a second person to help keep the dog’s attention.

Favorite toys, treats, and things will be helpful.

3. Make sure you discuss with your second person who will be physically taking the photos and who will be decorating.

For the sake of the article, person 1 is the photographer and person 2 is the decorator.

4. It’s always best to start in one position, take a break, then come back for the next.

It may be an all day event. But it will help keep your dog’s attention and will keep the dog from calling it quits and not cooperating with you. (During my photos, my breaks were 10 minutes long, enough for Scorpius to go to the bathroom, get some treats, and play a little bit.)

How to take the photos:

1. Get them in whatever position you want for the photo and use your stay command.

Lying down with the dog's head down will be the easiest one to get pictures that are great. You can then move on to laying down with head up, and finally sitting. You could even get creative and go with the different trick poses, like sit pretty.

2. Decorate. Decorate the dog, the floor, the walls—whatever it is your heart desires.

Really, though, the only thing that should be needing decorations at this step should be your dog and spacing the other items closer if they’re too far away.

3. Person 2 will then grab favorite object and stand/kneel directly behind person 1. Person 2 will shake favorite object and may possibly need to make noises.

Person 1, burst shots and multiple shots will be your friend. Start snapping photos as soon as person 2 is behind you.

Candid photos are the best photos too. So snap as many as you want no matter what happens. (My favorite photo is a candid photo of him blinking.)

Ashley Hamilton
Ashley Hamilton
Read next: Calling All Wannabe Pet Owners
Ashley Hamilton

Pet mama 🐾. Domestic Abuse Survivor.

See all posts by Ashley Hamilton

Find us on socal media

Miscellaneous links