It’s Christmas and I don’t have small children or grandchildren. I only have my pets. So my daughter and I decided it was time for a new pet “pawtrait” as we have a new pup this year.

At 13 months old, he has learned all his basic commands, but young Mr. Dexter is EASILY distracted so getting him to sit still with so much going on. Add to the mix 13-year-old Miss Chloe, who does not like the new studio chair, it was a scene of complete chaos!

Setting up

I am NOT a pet photographer. I take my hat off to them; they always say to never work with children and animals, and there is truth to it. But with a little bit of help and the right attitude, you can at least capture some funny photos, and if you are lucky a card or two. I set up the scene beforehand, tested the lights and tried to avoid distractions before bringing the dogs into the studio.

My dogs are frequently in the studio, so that is not new to them at all. I also had some treats, a squeaky toy and their favorite toys with me as an incentive. I also had an assistant (in this case, a dog wrangler) on set to encourage the dogs to get on the chairs and to give them treats.


The outtakes

The final shots

Sadly we never did get Chloe on the chair, she just didn’t want to know about it this year, getting old and grumpy. But young Dexter was having fun, so we just concentrated on him.

Celebrate your pets

Don’t overthink and don’t take everything too seriously is key, have fun and don’t stress yourself or the animals out. Some animals take well to unusual situations and others do not. If you have a nervous dog, perhaps keep it very low key. A Christmas card or photo does NOT have to be picture perfect to be oh so precious. Learn to love what you can capture and just giggle about the rest.

Oh, and Merry Christmas from Dexter, Chloe and Me!