They’re family right? So they deserve as much as you to be in this year’s family photographs. But is it plausible?

As with most aspects of a photo session the results depend on teamwork and communication between you & your photographer. You each have a role to play and when you understand what’s required you can help the session run smoothly.

So here are the important facts.

Can You Relax?

Here’s the most important tip: If you want your pet to be calm you need to relax too.

Pets respond to your state of mind and your emotions. If you’re tense because you think your dog will create havoc, chances are it will.

It’s best to keep calm and trust that the teamwork between you & the photographer will result in stunning images. Also ask everyone involved not to make sudden movements or loud noises. It will help keep your pet as calm as possible.

Think of Their Dimensions

Your pets will keep everyone grounded, literally.

Yes you can hold your dog or cat on your lap but animals are best presented when allowed to move as they normally do:

  • Lying down on the floor
  • Investigating new objects which in this case may be the photographer’s lens
  • Running after a ball

To allow the pets some freedom everyone—photographer and family members—may have to act on ground level too. It’s important you realize the implications of pet photography so you don’t have unrealistic expectations of your session.

Get Ready to Crawl

Perhaps you imagined stately photographs of your family. All of that changes when you decide to include the pets.

It’s not always the posed photographs that come out best; even better is when the subjects seem relaxed and comfortable. Dogs and cats may require everyone to sit on the floor or even play for a while to get some remarkable action photographs.

Don’t Forget Their Rewards

You know why you want the photos but what’s in it for the dog? Remember to take some treats with.

The best way to work with these animals is to make them think they’re in charge. If you use rewards to coax them into sitting a certain way or looking up you’ll get stunning pics where they seem alert and happy.

An expert photographer can be skilled at working with animals but why not help? Your pet will respond best to the treats, toys or rewards he or she is used to getting at home. Discuss the process with your photographer so you all use the best tactics to make the pet complement your pictures.

Pick Time Wisely

I often give this advice in relation to babies too: Think about their schedule and plan accordingly.

I know my dog won’t be able to sit for one minute if you try and photograph him early in the morning. Puppies that age are too energetic after sleeping and enjoying breakfast.

However if you catch them around noon they’re much more languid. This makes for beautiful pictures of dog cuddles and deep stares coming  from those gorgeous big eyes.

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