Best Pet Photography Tips for Holiday Cards
Expert Tips for Festive Pics
'Tis the season for pets to be merry—or at least look the part on camera.
If you're interested in including your furry companions in your annual holiday card, consider some tips from the pros to avoid out of focus or overexposed pictures; you don't need a high-end camera with fancy settings to get a winning shot. These expert tips can maximize the potential to impress your family and friends with a card masterpiece.
1. Get Your Pet's Attention
Toys and treats can be a pet photographer’s best friend. Use a squeaky toy or a dangling pet treat to get your pet’s attention directed toward the camera to capture a particular expression.
2. Use Holiday Props
If you don't yet have your house decked out in holiday fare, a few simple "props" will add a pop of holiday essence to your photos. A ruby red Christmas ornament placed between your pet's paws, for instance, can be a bright addition of festive color. Placing a toy reindeer, dreidel or a festive nutcracker near your pet can add just enough merriment to make your picture stand out.
Be creative; however, be careful, too: don't wrap your pet in a string of popcorn, lights or use ribbon to decorate your pet. These can be extremely hazardous and land your companion in the ER. For more on holiday dangers to pets, check out our infographic.
3. Use Natural Lighting
While it’s tempting to always use flash when photographing pets because it reduces that blurred-out effect, it also washes out some of our pets’ best features and creates the dreaded red-eye. Some pets may also become frightened by the flash.
Natural lighting will dramatically improve the overall outcome of your pet photos. Find a room with an abundant source of natural light and one that isn’t too confined on space so you aren’t limited with your angle of approach. If possible, head outdoors to the backyard or a patio.
4. Get Up Close
Avoid photographing pets from above as it can create a distorted image. Get up close and personal with your pet, moving in closer and focus on particular features, such as the eyes, or a side facial profile. Using the zoom or macro setting on your camera, if possible, will showcase the finer details of your pet’s face and result in a sharper, more editorial image.
Some of the best shots are taken off-center at a side angle, at eye or shoulder level. If your dog or cat is down on all fours playing with a toy, experiment by positioning your camera on the ground near your pet to get a unique perspective. If you’re using a digital camera, set up your self-timer to take multiple shots every two seconds so you can capture your pet playing through a rapid succession of photos.
If you take your pet's picture from too far away, it may not render very well in your holiday card. Unless you're photographing your pet in a scenic location, it's best to focus on your pet, not any clutter or distracting items caught within the frame.
5. Experiment With Editing Applications
Along with the cell phone camera revolution came the wide variety of editing applications you can use on your phone or computer. Many of these applications, like picmonkey.com, are free and incredibly easy to use with simple instructions that will have you feeling like a pro in no time flat.
All you have to do is open the app, select your photos and within minutes you can get to work. Try your hand at some filters that give your photos an antique finish or turn your image into a sketch drawing. Use these online tools to adjust the lighting or color of your photos, or crop and sharpen images.
Did you know? Many of the online card-processing Web sites (like Shutterfly) now offer editing tools and filters that you can use while you're creating your holiday card.