How to Take the Perfect Family Photo with your Pet

Austrailian Kelpie

Getting the family cleaned up and together for a photo is hard enough without throwing a pet into the mix. But since many dogs, cats, and other furry critters really feel like part of the clan, they should be included in the family photo. Don’t panic if this is your first time posing with your pup (or feline). There are a few surefire ways to make sure he behaves—or at the very least, stays still enough to get a good picture or two—during your next photo shoot. Here are a few of them:

  • Don’t clash with his coat. Whether you’re taking a photo for the family holiday card or simply freezing a moment in time on the beach, your clan will likely adhere to some type of color scheme. Since you can change your clothes and your cat or dog can’t change her coat, you should try to coordinate with her natural hue. For example, if your dog’s fur is a rich russet color, don’t have the kids dress in copper tones, or you’ll clash. Lighting might also play a role in the way that colors show up on camera, so try to stay as far away from your animal’s shade as possible when dressing the family.
  • Bring patience and props. Like children, animals are unpredictable. It might take a while for you to get the perfect shot. Go into the photo shoot knowing this, and you are more likely to come out sane on the other side. You can help keep pets in check and the photo shoot moving along by bringing props. Give a dog his favorite toy to keep him occupied between shots, or break out the dog whistle to command his attention right before the photographer is about to snap a few frames.
  • Don’t be too proud to beg (and bribe). Your cat or dog probably has to earn a treat under normal conditions, but it’s okay to go a bit crazy with them during a photo shoot. Whatever keeps your animal happy and cooperative is worth it, so have plenty of doggy bones and kitty treats on-hand while you’re snapping the family photo. Dole them out every time your animal takes a decent picture, and make sure he knows why you’re rewarding him.
  • Scout out a comfortable location. Some cats and dogs get so worked up when they’re removed from home that you’re going to blow your chance of ever snagging the perfect portrait if you do so. Know your pet and his limits. If he’s going to pitch a fit the second you break out the crate, just don’t. Shoot the family photo inside in front of the fireplace, or go out to the backyard and use a tree as a backdrop.
  • Take plenty of candids. If you’re the photographer for your shoot, don’t just capture the posed photos. Keep snapping in between takes. You might just nab a cute shot of a little one laughing with the family pet or an older child rolling his eyes at precisely the right moment. Don’t underestimate the sentimental value of unposed pictures.

8 Pet Photography Tips [Family Circle]
Tips for Including Your Pet in Family Holiday Photos [Pet Place]
How to photograph your pets like a pro [Mother Nature Network]
Take Pet Pictures Like a Pro [Good Housekeeping]


Attribution: CC BY 2.0/ Flickr/davepaku