December 14, 2012

Ringing in the Holiday... with the Hounds

Today, we have a guest post from my friend Peggy, of Peggy’s Pet Place. Peggy and I decided it would be fun to exchange posts about holiday traditions involving the dogs. Below, Peggy shares her adorable family Christmas cards and tips on how to take great Christmas card photos with your dog. Then pop over to her blog, to check out my post on painting dog-themed Christmas windows! 

Take it away, Peggy!

Baby Kate, with Schuyler
Our daughter Kate, 3, with Schuyler


How to Take a Great Christmas Card Photo Including Your Dog
Guest Post by Peggy Frezon of Peggy’s Pet Place

Dogs are family, and that’s why we love including them in our holidays and family traditions. A bone shaped stocking, a dog-friendly holiday snack--I bet you have one or more special activity involving your dog and the holidays. One of our traditions is the family Christmas card photo. Naturally, our dogs are included. I love taking photo Christmas cards, and I LOVE receiving cards with pictures of my friends and family’s pets on them. Last year cards from dogs outnumbered cards from people! 

Last year’s cards from dog friends everywhere!
We’ve been taking Christmas card photos since our kids' first Christmas. Now that the kids are grown up, the tradition carries on with the dogs only. We’ve had our moments when I’ve fussed over the kids’ hair, told them to smile bigger, and tried to contort their bodies into uncomfortable poses and the session has ended up in tears. Add one or more dogs…the dogs won’t sit or stand, they lick something inappropriate, then they run off. 

I’ve learned from my mistakes, however, and here are a few tips for including your dog in the family photo:

Kate, 9, and Andy, 5, with our yellow lab Hudson.
  1. Select the right time - Find a time for the photo shoot when your dog isn’t wired and raring to go. By the same token, make sure he’s not so exhausted that he can’t stay awake. We usually try for late morning, after a short walk to get out just enough energy. 
  2. Capture your dog’s attention - You know what works best for your dog. Some dogs will sit attentively for a food lure, while others will jump and lunge for the treat. Some will raise their ears or cock their head at the sound of a squeaky toy, cat meow, or knock at the door. Know what works best, and have a helper designated just to get their attention. 
  3. Consider your lighting - Unless you have quality equipment, photos taken outside are generally better than inside shots with a flash. 
  4. Create the right pose - Avoid lining everyone up against a wall or in a straight row on the sofa. Aim for a casual pose. Avoid overly complicated shots with too many distracting props and complicated poses.
  5. Take a look at your background - An uncluttered background will highlight the stars—your family and your pet! Sometimes we’ve hung a white sheet to keep the background clean and simple. A fireplace in the background is a warm and classic look. Whatever you do, make sure the background isn’t full of food and dishes on tables and other clutter.
  6.  Add your pet’s favorite toys - I love including something like Brooks’ favorite tennis ball or Kelly’s pink bunny toy in the picture for a personal touch. 
  7. Have fun!
Kelly takes the center stage as the kids are all grown up.

Thanks, Peggy for the tips and for sharing your adorable cards with us! Now pop over to Peggy's blog and check out my post for lots of pics of painted Christmas windows and tips on how to paint your own!

Peggy Frezon is the author of Dieting With My Dog: One Busy Life, Two Full Figures and Unconditional Love (which, as I said in my 5-star review on Amazon, is sweet, funny and inspiring!) and Heart to Heart, Hand in Paw: How One Woman Finds Faith and Hope Through the Healing Love of Animals (which is in my To-be-read pile right now!).


  1. Great tips!Photographing pets (and children) can be quite a challenge- but so worth it!

  2. Hey it's Jet here. Hi Miss Peggy...

    Great tips... I'll pass them on to Mom, she needs lots of pointers!


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