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Capture the Perfect Picture of Your Dog for the Family Christmas Card

Posted Sep 09 2013 8:54pm
According to the Humane Society of America, there are more than 78 million dogs in households across America, and approximately 46 percent of households have at least one dog. Pets are an integral part of our families, and many pet parents feature them front and center on the family Christmas card. If you're one of them, here's how to best photograph your dog to create just the right effect.

Consider Backdrop, Costumes and Props


If you are shooting a Christmas card portrait, set the scene with a Christmas theme. Determine where you want to take the picture: in front of the tree, outside in the snow, with wrapping paper, etc. If you are having trouble determining what you want your picture to look like, consider browsing sites like Pinterest.com or Photobucket.com for ideas.

Capture Your Dog's Personality


Your dog has a unique personality, and it's up to you to capture it. The New York Institution of Photography suggests you follow your dog around and track any behavior that is unique to your dog. Once you identify something your dog does that makes him different, implement that into your card. For instance, if your dog walks on his front legs only in the snow, attempt to capture him in his version of a handstand. Or perhaps your dog acts almost human in certain situations. Capturing his expressions can make a fun Christmas card.

Get on His Level


In the world of photography, it is always best to get on the level of your subject. In the case of your dog, this often means getting down on the ground right with him. Taking pictures from above tend to make your dog look small, while taking them on his level will keep things true to life. If you are trying to capture your dog in the moment, it is often best to use a zoom lens instead of getting close to your dog at the risk of interrupting the moment.

Be Ready for Action


Dogs, especially those that are easily excitable, aren't likely to sit still for your photo shoot. In addition to being prepared for a long photo shoot, choose camera settings and film speeds that are conducive to moving subjects. Set shutter speed at 1/125 to capture your dog even if he moves, and use ISO 400 or 800 film, if you are still using a film camera. These factors can help you capture the perfect picture, even if Fido won't sit still for more than a few seconds.

Get Creative


Once you have the perfect photograph of your pet, create the ideal Christmas card to really make an impression on your recipients. Minted.com enables you to get creative with your Christmas card photo ideas with fully customizable Christmas card options. Come up with a fun saying that mirrors a popular holiday greeting, but with a dog twist—for instance, try "Bark the Halls," "Seasons Grrrrrrreetings" or "Santa Claws Is Watching." Try to match the saying with the picture, such as featuring your pet in a Santa hat for the last example.


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