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Seasonal tips

Yuletide Tails: Capturing the Perfect Dog Christmas Card Photo

Tips and Tricks for Taking Memorable Holiday Photos With Your Canine Companion

Behind every great dog Christmas card photo is often a memorable (hopefully a good one!) story of how that holiday photo came to be. Whether Bingo was feeling naughty or nice that day, odds are it took a lot more than one photo to get THE one. But there are a few tips and tricks you can try the next time you’re trying to get that perfect festive dog image in a few less shots—along with a couple of dog Christmas card photo ideas to get you in the spirit. Consider it our gift to you and yours!

First, 5 Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Dog Holiday Photo

1. Practice Makes Perfect – It’s not a marathon (although it might feel like it…), but it’s helpful to train for the big day. Work on “sit” and “stay” commands, get them used to any festive apparel they’ll be sporting, and even start taking more pictures than usual (if that’s even possible!). And, of course, give treats as rewards to start creating warm and fuzzy associations with the whole idea of Christmas card poses with your dog. When it’s time to snap the actual photo, get them ready, give the command, take the photo, then reward them with a special treat like Old Mother Hubbard® Winter Fun P-Nuttier® Oven-Baked Dog Biscuits.

2. Natural Light Is Your Furry Friend’s Friend – No matter your chosen location, great natural lighting will make for a great outdoor or indoor Christmas portrait with pets. If outdoors, look for a spot with indirect light like shade or some cloud cover. The golden hour just after sunrise or before sunset can also give you a warm holiday glow. If indoors, natural light in front of your pet and family is much better than lighting from behind. Always skip the flash to avoid a naughty, devilish red look in your dog’s eyes.

3. Get Active! – And we don’t just mean an active camera setting (although that helps, too!). Exercise your BFF a bit before the photo—take a walk, play tug of war, whatever their favorite form of exercise and entertainment. A panting dog is a happy dog! Not to mention, a much more still and chill dog so you can make your best Christmas card pet photo idea a reality.

4. Get On Their Level – To capture the best expressions for any family Christmas card ideas with dogs, you want the camera to be level with your dog’s face and focused on their eyes. Move around your pup rather than trying to move them for a variation of angles—and to find their best side!

5. Bring Out All the Rewards – Whether your dog is all about treats or toys (or both!), you’re going to want several on hand to hold their attention for the perfect Christmas card picture with dogs. Try dangling a favorite treat or squeezing a favorite squeaky toy just above the camera, then call their name and snap the photo. Your good boy or girl should be rewarded throughout the photo session and definitely celebrated at the end. A few Wellness® The Rewarding Life dog training treats here and there should do the trick! This occasion could also call for a brand new treat or toy to really make them feel appreciated. Get inspired and get them smiling with our top Christmas gifts for dogs.

Next, the Extra Festive Dog Image Inspo

Now that you’ve got the tips and tricks for a solid photo foundation, it’s time to get with the holiday program and jingle up all those Christmas card ideas for dogs! Here’s a little inspiration to get your jolly pup looking the part, having the perfect backdrop, and showing off their true colors in the spirit of the holidays.

Don That Festive Apparel

It can be as simple as a seasonal bowtie, bandana, or Santa hat—or as over-the-top as full-family matching elf costumes. If your dog loves to dress up as much as the next elf, now is the time to bring out the costume and accessories. But costume or not, giving them a bath or at least brushing out their fur before the shoot will help them look their holiday best either which way.

Location, Location, Location

There are plenty of ways to set your perfect scene, whether at home, in the backyard, or at a local restaurant, hotel, park, or scenic spot. Sit by the fireplace, in front of the tree, under the mistletoe, even just snuggled up on the couch under a red or green blanket. If it’s not too cold and there’s snow on the ground (bonus points if falling from the sky!), a snowy pic outside could really up your festive dog image game.

Let Their Personality Shine

When it comes to Christmas card poses with dogs, think about your particular family and dog. What really brings out their personality and lets it shine? If they’re active and playful pups, maybe the best shot isn’t them sitting still. If they’re big on snuggling, maybe they’re most at home for the holidays in your lap or right by your side.

One Last Thing: Have Fun!

It is the most wonderful time of the year, after all! Taking a dog holiday photo is about so much more than just capturing a photo—it’s about capturing a moment. So make it a genuinely good one for everyone involved, especially your canine companion.

Be patient. Take breaks—for water, snacks, a little smile-inducing playtime. And don’t forget to celebrate when you get THE shot, or at least so many shots that you and your hound are bound to have a good one in there. Or maybe there are so many bloopers that this year is destined to be the year of the funny dog Christmas card!

No matter which photo route you go with, and whether you take it yourself or bring in a professional, we hope you feel more prepared and excited than ever to make your next dog Christmas card photo one you’ll always remember.

Woofing you a Merry Christmas and a happy dog holiday photo session!

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