So you’re getting ready to send some holiday cards (we hope!). And of course pets are family. And of course you want to include the cutest possible photos of them in your holiday cards. And of course they stop being adorable the second you point a camera at their furry little faces. But hey! It turns out Hallmark has photographers who spend entire days (weeks, even) taking pictures of puppies, kittens, bunnies—these folks can make a fully grown chicken look snuggly. We asked, and they came through with inspiration and some holiday pet photo ideas as sweet as your furry friends. Get their very best pro-tips, below.
HOLIDAY PET PHOTO IDEAS
A few pet photography hints from our photo stylists (and even more here):
- Avoid surprises. Let your pets get comfortable with camera equipment, props, and festive outfits before you take the pictures.
- There is no shame in bribery. Equip yourself with treats, squeaky things, feathers on strings—whatever it takes to get your pets to look at you and the camera. Offer rewards for good behavior. (We’ve got a great puppy treat recipe.)
- There is no shame, period. Also be ready to make goofy noises that get your pet to do that “barrroooo?” thing with its head.
- Settle in. Know that you may have to take approximately a gazillion and six photos to get the perfect one.
DOGS WITH PRESENTS
Put a wrapped gift in front of your best pal and see what happens.
CATS IN WREATHS
Do cats really like to sit in circles? Time to add a holiday twist to this important scientific experiment.
PETS WITH STRINGS OF THINGS
Add a garland or light string for a little visual interest.
FURBABIES IN BED
If you can get this to happen, there is nothing cuter. Works best with sleepy puppies and kittens.
TREATS FOR WHO?
Let your pets get a whiff of the cookies and milk for Santa. (No drinking, though—unless you’re ready for the shoot to take a decidedly un-photogenic turn.)
PETS STARING AT TREES
Put your pet on the floor and wiggle some off-camera branches or bells.
BASKETS OF CUTENESS
Fill baskets and boxes with puppies and kittens. Or dogs and cats. And don’t feel like they have to fit perfectly: Who doesn’t love a big dog in a tiny basket or a giant cat in an itty-bitty box?
OUTFITS AND PET-CESSORIES
If you can get your pet to wear an outfit, you owe it to the planet to take a picture.
Of course, please feel free to mix and match these holiday pet photo ideas. See Dog with Hat in Basket and Accessorized Cat with Gift, above.
Want to add a DIY touch to your pet photos? Try the felt mistletoe or garland from this post.
Photography by Hallmark’s Union Hill Photo Studio.