It’s that time of year when days start getting shorter, nights longer, and hounds restless. My greyhound Laura loves the chance to stretch her legs, visit with other greyhounds, and lots of people. Sometimes she even helps me find other pets to photograph!
As a pet owner and photographer, I know many people want their pets included in the yearly family photo. Sometimes, it can be pretty stressful. I’m not excluded from this.
Our Maine coon cat Olivia tolerates Laura, but certainly doesn’t like her. In fact, Laura is bigger and heavier than Olivia. Yet, the cat rules supreme.
Which, as you can tell, makes getting a “family” photo extremely hard. That’s why when you’re planning that family picture, you should consider including the fur kids. My family, in fact, expects the pets on the photo card.
Here are some easy ways to include pets in your holiday card pictures:
1. Go to a photographer who specializes in pets.
Ask them to do a session just about the pet. Green Acres Kennel Shop will be hosting me on November 6 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. for holiday pet portraits. This annual event benefits the Furry Friends Food Bank, a pet food pantry that helps keep pets and their seniors or owners with a disability together. Check them out at Eastern Area Agency on Aging’s website!
2. Be on the lookout for other events.
Your local pet store might also host an event for photos with Santa. Before you bring Fido to a Santa photo event, ensure that he won’t be afraid of the Jolly Old Saint. A freaked-out pet will not have a good time with photographs.
I heard through Facebook that Walkin’ the Dog in Bar Harbor is having a photo day with Santa on December 3 from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Proceeds go to the MDI Pet Food Pantry and The Ark Animal Shelter.
3. Ask your photographer to include pets in your photo session.
Photographers with experience with pets are the best ones to do family portraits. Always ask if they have experience with pets before booking the session. Some photographers love to include pets and some can do it, but it’s not a specialty.
Your photographer should be aware of how animals interact and have patience. Sometimes it can take some time to get the right mix of people and pet expressions. You don’t want to stress out the pet.
4. Know when enough is enough.
Kids and pets both have different tolerances for photography. For do-it-yourself family and pet photographs, watch your dog’s body language. Find a great resource for some basics on body language at the ASPCA’s Virtual Pet Behaviorist page here. Don’t push it if your pet gives you signals that they’re done. That “one last shot” isn’t worth it.
5. Make it a multiple picture photo card.
Can’t seem to get everyone together and happy? Consider doing a holiday card with multiple pictures! You can have your regular family photo plus cute pictures of your pets. Everyone wins!
Happy Howli-days to You!
Whatever you choose to do for your holiday family pictures, don’t leave the pets out. They’re family too!