Remember when we were young and we’d write letters to Santa? There’s something beautifully nostalgic about hand-writing letters and sharing them with our loved ones, anxious and excited to see what their reaction would be. This year, spread the holiday cheer with a Christmas photo card, because what better way to connect with your friends and family, than a thoughtful card featuring your Christmas photos with pets!
Today’s modern family differs vastly from the traditional ones. They come in all different shapes, sizes, and even breeds. According to a survey conducted in 2017 by the American Pet Product Associations (APPA), sixty-eight percent of U.S. households own a pet. That’s about 85 million families! Of that amount, 47.1 million of those households own a cat and 60.2 million own a dog, so when it comes to family, it is hard not to imagine your furry four legged friend a part of it. This global growing trend of considering pets as family is hard to deny since so many families enjoy their companionship and sharing new experiences with them. This year, share a new experience with your pets and spread holiday cheer by including them in your holiday card.
Getting the right christmas photos with your pets may seem difficult, but keep reading to find out how to make this a breeze and still have your card stand out. You may also want to read our post on secret Santa gift ideas that incorporate pet imagery in custom stamps, notebooks, or artwork you may want to consider!
Capturing a Christmas photo with your pets may be difficult since some pets may be camera shy, scared, or simply confused by a camera. To get them comfortable with being in front of one, give them the opportunity to sniff out the camera and become familiar with it. Click a few shots away from them so that they are ok with the sounds. Giving treats will help show them that the camera isn’t a threat. This will help encourage positive associations with it so that once you start clicking away, they’re not running.
Is your dog or cat always looking off into the distance? While cute in some candid photos, maybe you would prefer them to look in the same direction as everyone else. To help with this, we recommend squeezing their favorite squeaky toy or dangling a treat above the camera, then calling their name. This will help get them excited and look your way for the photo. Holding their attention will be even easier if you reduce as much external distractions as possible like loud music, other animals, or strangers.
We all know getting the perfect shot may require repeated ones. This might mean carrying your pet for longer than they are used to, or expecting them to sit or lay for longer than they would like. Maybe they’re bored or antsy, and like kids, would rather run off and play since they saw a squirrel. Pets typically respond to unfamiliar or stressful situations, negatively. It often makes them less inclined to sit still or go hide. Before the photoshoot, play with your pets so that they are happy and tired out. Consider taking a walk or a game of tug a war with your dog. For cats, laser pointers or a dangling feather toy are often a hit. Relaxation supplements are also readily available at your local pet shop. These supplements are safe and will help put them at ease by reducing stress and anxiety. This will be particularly useful if your pet is feeling uncomfortable during a lengthy photoshoot.
Aim for good lighting by shooting during golden hour or in a space where natural light is abundant. Golden hour occurs right after sunrise and again right before sunset. During golden hour the sun is low and more diffused so it will give your photos a warm and golden glow. If you’re unable to take a photo during that period, opt for an area with lots of natural light which will allow you to skip the flash. Flashes can often create poor coloration or that yellow-green light in your pets eyes. Additionally, the sudden burst of light from flashes may startle your pets and increase stress. Avoid shooting in direct sunlight since this will lead to harsh lighting and cast unforgiving shadows. If you find yourself shooting in intense sunlight, move towards a shady spot where you’ll still be able to take advantage of the bright light but will avoid sharp shadows. Read through our additional tips for taking photographs yourself.
Capturing the perfect photo is stressful already, so instead of worrying about poses with your dog, candid photos are always fun and natural. They take the stress out of getting the perfect photo since you might already have one on your phone that you love. Action shots of your pets playing, running, or even blissfully laying in your lap are great options. Allow your pet to be comfortable in their typical surroundings and you’ll be able to capture their happy everyday emotions on camera. Just keep your camera or phone handy since you never know when they’re going to do the silliest or picture-worthy thing.
Nailing the perfect image often takes time and patience. Lots of patience! Having a lot of options will be helpful in case someone closes their eyes, looks in the wrong direction, or moves. The variety of options will also make pairing it with a card easier since some designs look better with a more cropped image while others look better more pulled away. If you’re indecisive but love multiple shots, you’ll be able to choose multi-photo designs or even booklette style cards. Minted offers an array of formats you can select from. If you still can’t decide, try our Text Us Your Photo service. Minted makes it easy by sending you 5 designs that will pair well with your photo, or photos!
If you feel like coordinating outfits and a photoshoot is altogether too much work, help is abundant. Local and chain pet shops like Petsmart often have in store events offering free pet photos with Santa. Check Minted's recommended list of photographers to find a photographer that can take photos with you and your furry friend. Share with your photographer that you want to have a photo taken with your pet, so they can help you nail the best poses with dogs or cats, lighting, props, and backgrounds.
Antlers, Santa Hats, bows, or holiday sweaters are classic ways to add a festive touch to your pet’s outfit. Get creative and color coordinate between the family members. Remember to settle on a color palette and consider complementary colors that will help match you to the season, background, or simply each other. Feel free to stray from the classic red and green color combo and opt for wintery whites or an array of blues and neutrals. Just make sure your pet’s color fur is contrasted with whatever they’re wearing, otherwise it might blend in too much.
For something a little more joyful and whimsical, wear coordinating, matching outfits. It can be anything from similar sweaters, Christmas light necklaces, matching socks, or even a onesie. The possibilities are endless, just check out our Christmas outfit ideas!
Try a jumping photo where all members are caught mid air either outside or indoors by the tree. If your dog is trained to jump for treats, there’s nothing wrong with a little bribing. If timing the jumps with your pet is too difficult, try holding them in your arms while jumping.
Not feeling photogenic but your pet is ready to be the center of attention? Wear some festive shoes, boots, or socks then capture an image of your pets sitting or nestled by your feet. Crop the photo from your head, knees or waist below. You’ll be a part of the image but the main focus will be on your pets!
Wrap a box up as a present with one side open so that your pet can peek out of it. For cats who especially love boxes, it should be a breeze getting them to stay in one. Prop the present box by the tree, the fire, or have a family member hold the box for a festive look.
Cookies for Santa, or should we say biscuits? Lay out some treats and milk for Santa, but make sure your pet doesn’t nibble away at these tasty bits until after the photo.
Now that you’ve gotten the perfect image with your pet, you might be wondering how to pair it with a holiday greeting. The traditional Happy Holidays or Joy To The World phrase never fail but in case you prefer something a little more punny, draw some inspiration from the list below! With Minted cards, you can easily swap out the greeting if you have something else you like better.
Go the extra mile and add an additional personal pet touch. Further incorporate your pets when you sign the cards. Instead of signing all of the cards yourself, rope in the family so that all cards are signed in their own handwriting. Have your faithful pup or cat take part in this with a simple paw print. Before you embark on this, it is essential that the ink or paint you use will not expose them to any dangerous toxic substances. Pets are prone to licking their paws so this is crucial. Keep reading for some non-toxic options that safe for your furry friend.
Odds are, you likely already have a few tubes of this lying around. Washable body paint and finger paint will work best but tempera or water based ones will work too. For tempera and water based paint, just make sure its labeled as non-toxic and child safe. Tempera paints come in both matte and glossy finishes so it does offer a little more creative room. When working with paint, be sure to wash off their paws immediately after stamping to avoid potential digestion. Even though its non-toxic, eating paint should still be avoided if possible.
Skip the paints and inks by using an edible alternative. Mix a package of Kool-Aid with some water to create a thick paste. Make sure to keep the amount of water moderate since if there’s too much water than it will not properly stick to their paws. Spread the paste or brush it onto their paws and once its coated, press it into the paper. Allow the imprint to dry out completely before closing the card and stuffing them into the envelopes. Once that’s done, reward them by letting them lick it off, it’s perfectly safe! Use a wet towel or grooming wipe if you prefer they do not consume the sugars.
Ink pads can be an easier less messy alternative. Craft shops like Hobby Lobby often sells ink pads made specifically to be pet friendly so be sure to check the stamp aisles. Our favorite is Colorbox Pawprints. With a steady hand, these ink pads will help leave the easiest impression.
For those that refuse to help out with your holiday craft. You can also create a custom stamp of their paws. Various online retailers will create a custom stamp of your pets paw. All they’ll need is a photo or outline of their paw print. If you opt for this route, you’ll be able to use a larger variety of paints and inks, especially those with glitter which can be a fun touch for the holidays.
When stamping pawprints, make sure your pet is first onboard to help. Trim long nails and clean their paws. A quick wipe down with a moist towel should do the trick!
Taking Christmas photos with pets, whether it’s a dog or cat, will be a breeze once you apply these tips. Get your card to stand out from the stack with some punny greeting, cheerful pet photos, and customizations. Who wouldn’t smile after seeing your pet front and center of your holiday card?