As each holiday draws near, Instagram fills up with cute pics of people and their pets. If your snapshots aren't Insta-worthy yet, don't sweat it. You don't need to be a professional photographer to plan the perfect DIY holiday photoshoot of your favorite furry friend. These tips will give you everything you need to capture and share the very best of your pet.
1. Choose a setting
Consider the vibe you'd like for your photos. Funny? Sweet? Touching? Choose a setting that fits the mood, and keep it simple. The best backgrounds are plain, like a solid-colored couch or green grass. Outdoor settings are great for capturing your pet in action, but it all depends on what look you're going for.
2. Time it for the best lighting
Your photos won't turn out as well if they're taken at the wrong time of day. For outdoor photos, avoid harsh, midday sunlight which creates heavy shadows. Instead, opt for photos early in the morning or near dusk.
If that's not possible, head for the shade to keep the lighting even. Inside, the rules are similar. Try to find an area of the house with a lot of natural, ambient lighting.
3. Focus on the face
The best photos are the ones that show your subject's personality or tell a story. You can create this easily by snapping pics of your dog in his/her element. For example, running around with a favorite toy, or jumping to catch a tennis ball. If your pet prefers to snuggle than run, go for a still photo instead. Whatever you do, make sure the eyes are in focus, because that's the first thing people will notice.
4. Get on your dog's level
Perspective is everything. Overhead shots aren't bad, but to get amazing pet pictures requires getting down and dirty. Crouch down or get on your knees to get the best angles and see your dog's world from their point of view.
5. Bring treats
In any photoshoot, the models have to be happy. Fortunately, pets are easier to please than people...just bring treats! Break them into small pieces so you can reward them frequently and hold their attention until you've got the perfect shot. Tennis balls like these can make good props, too.
Cute outfits can take your pics to the next level, so think about grabbing a new collar or some Valentine's Day pet apparel before you start your shoot. And don't forget- the entire process is about the love you share with your dog, so don't take it too seriously and have fun!