Taking the Perfect Holiday Card Dog Photo

Hey dog moms!

So, Christmas season is in full swing and if you’re anything like me you’ll be stopping at all the festive places to add more dog photos to your camera reel of 6,000 dog photos. Why? Because your dog is the cutest thing the world has to offer and it doesn’t matter how many pictures you already have, none of them are Christmas 2022 pictures are they?!

And related to taking pictures of your dog, Christmas cards are going out soon.

Are you a Christmas card sender? I’ll be honest, my intentions are always there and that’s about where it ends lol.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a thing or two about the making of a great card photo. And I wanted to share my top six tips for helping you take that perfect photo too.

P.S. This doesn’t have to be just for your cards. Use these tips to get great photos for your Instagram feed, next year’s photo calendar, a cute dog Facebook contest, or just for sending to your family when your sister’s showing off her new baby.

P.P.S. Not a reader? Skip down to the bottom and just take a look at the diagrams for some extra help this season.


Wear your dog out.

  • I’m putting this tip first because if you’re working with a dog that’s running circles around you, nothing else in this post matters. Unless you’re The Flash, you probably won’t be getting a good picture. So, play with your dog, go for a long walk, play fetch, whatever will wear out your dog just enough that he will sit still for ten minutes. Of course sleeping pictures are always sweet too.  


Get down low

  • Getting eye level with your dog is one of the best ways to get better dog photos instantly. There can be all kinds of cute “taken from above” photos, but I’ve found those are best left to the professionals. The best way to get a better photo of your dog is to take it at eye level. It’s the perfect angle to catch those big brown eyes.


Background Matters, but it doesn’t need to be fancy

  • Keep your background festive but not too loud. Remember, you want to keep your dog where she belongs – the center of attention. A white background with a couple festive props is clean and bright.  Or a festive background such as a Christmas tree, lit up shopping center, horse and buggy are all really pretty as an out of focus backdrop.


Lighting will make or break your photo

  • Good lighting is important for any photo. If you have a place in your house where you can open all the windows and get really good natural light, do it! If you’re going outside, a cloudy day or early morning are best because you’re photos won’t have that harsh afternoon sunlight and your dog won’t be squinting. Evenings are great too, just be aware you may get a really warm tented photo, which, if that’s your vibe then great! Night time photos aren’t impossible, but they are hard! Especially if you have a dark dog. Black dogs are extra hard to photograph, but with enough good light you can make your dog look like a dog and not a black dog shaped void.


Space is good

  • Space, empty space, in your photo can make it look cleaner and once again help keep your dog as the focal point. But more importantly, if you’re using this photo for your annual card you need space to write! Stand back and take your photo from a distance. This way your dog doesn’t take up the entire picture and you have clean space to write “Merry Christmas”.


Dress for success.

  • Want to add that extra touch to your photos? Don’t forget the outfit. Whether you’re going for a full Christmas formal or just a cute bow or bandana, dressing your pup in something festive will bring your photos from “aww, that’s a cute picture” to “OMG I can’t even! Why is she so stinking CUTE?!!!” If you’re looking for a one of a kind bowtie that will elevate your pictures, you have to check out the new holiday bows from Loved and Pampered Pets. They’re comfy, snazzy, and ready to ship.



Bonus Tip

Take a lot of pictures. Girl, fill your camera! You may think three or four is enough but then you go back and look and realize your dog is blinking in this one, and her mouth is weird in this one, and she moved just enough to get blurry in that one. Take 15-20 pictures. If you have everything set up you can set your camera to photo blast mode and just hold down the shutter button. Stand back and take some, get closer, move a prop, hold your phone upright and sideways … go bananas with your photos! The best thing about living in the digital age is that you can delete all the bad ones and get that space right back.


As promised, here's some quick diagrams to help you keep everything in mind. 

dog on couch with Christmas presents


Christmas dog photo


I hope that helps you take some amazing photos this year! And if you have any other suggestions for taking the best pictures of your dog, I’d love to hear them. Just leave a comment below.    

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