holiday photography with your pets

I love photographing my animals. Especially when they look extra adorable and festive. I’ve acquired a few handy tips based on the things that can go right and the things that can go horribly wrong, when snapping a photo of or with your animals – and not just dogs this time! Rory joined us in a holiday photo this year. Usually getting the dogs to sit still and behave is as easy as flashing the treat bag, but this past weekend, as Daniel and I were preparing the scene, the animals, and the outfits, things just kind of blew up in our faces.

First off, don’t give your dogs their treats right away, make them work. I made the mistake of prepping the dogs by having them sit and lay for a treat, and then it was all they could focus on. This method works great if you are taking pictures of just the animals, but if you plan on sitting with them – no dice. They kept looking at me and trying to sniff and lick my fingers that were apparently covered in invisible treat crumbs!
Instead, get them posed, ready, and in costume…snap some photos, and then give them their reward. They’ll focus for a longer period of time and won’t stare at your hands when they should be looking in the direction of the camera.

Second….if there is a cat involved, grab her last. I mean just before you are about to take the photo last. Rory was hanging around close enough, so I got her collar on and asked Daniel to hold her while I got the dogs settled and everyone in frame. That took a lot longer than expected because of the aforementioned treat fiasco. Rory isn’t too fond of being held against her will, as most living creatures feel I’m sure, and it didn’t help that Daniel was dressed like hobo Santa. ha! Needless to say, his hands are a bit scratched up.

Third. Make sure your dogs have used the restroom prior to the photoshoot. This probably added to the agitation and excitement/nervousness. Sam wanted treats, and he kept being told to sit, lay, backup…and all of a sudden he’s running around peeing. It was choas! And it all went down seconds after the photo above was taken. Rory attempting her escape, Sam and Osa watching my hands, and then Sam getting up and running around as he’s peeing. Luckily I was able to yank my scarf off of him before it got wet! Ew!

Fourth. Take breaks. After the mass chaos, we took a beat. Daniel mopped up the urine, I changed the set-up, the dogs went outside, Rory ran away…and I asked Daniel to please look normal. ๐Ÿ™‚ Close enough! ๐Ÿ™‚

As you can see, the break did everybody a bit of good. The dogs calmed down [maybe too much], and so did Rory. Or maybe she prefers my overly-coddling nature to Daniel’s “Santa” outfit.

Individual photos are always the easiest. Lots of treats help. And patience on both you and the animal’s end. I shared some more information here.
How do you get your animals to sit still for a photo??



  1. These are AMAZING. Pinning, sharing, love. Esp the funny ones, just like the funny kid photos when we try to take them with our kids. Growing up we used to put our two cats and our dog who all mostly hated each other in the photo with us. There were ALWAYS laughs because the animals were trying to escape/eat each other.

  2. Hehehehe. Great job!! I am pretty used to take photos of my cats one by one, but since we/my parents adopted two kitties, taking hollidays photos of them toghether is always really stressful. Cookie tends to mess up things meanwhile Nina want to run away, non of them are looking at the same direction, or not even are close enought so the camera focus are at both at the same time… Terrible, but defenetely fun. And at the end there is always one cute photo ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Oh I LOVE all of these pics! Especially Rory with her antlers–so cute!
    It's pretty much always chaos when you try and take a picture of more than one animal lol!
    I usually have my boyfriend behind me holding a treat and make a silly/crazy noise to get my pup to look at me.

  4. EVERY year my kitty HATES wearing his Santa hat and being forced into a photo in general. But after a bit of work we usually get one! Always worth it! xx

  5. These are ADORABLE! I wish I could take a Christmas pic with my dog. He is scared of the camera and spends any photo shoot barking uncontrollably at the camera. But I LOVE these pics! Cute fam!

Comments are closed.