Pets are a part of our families, so it only makes sense to include their mugs in the family photo album. We spoke with Jason Krygier-Baum, who runs his own boutique animal photography studio, Jason KB, in Toronto about how to get the best holiday pet photos. [caption id="attachment_14191" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photography: Jason Krygier-Baum[/caption] 1. Primp them up. Get your pet ready for his close-up with a little grooming. A quick once-over to push away stray hairs from the eyes or clean up the crusties around the eyes should do the trick. 2. Phone a friend. To put it mildly, pets can be a tad unpredictable. Your photo shoot may run more smoothly if you have an extra set of human hands helping you out. “Have someone else get the dog or cat in the right spot while you’re working the camera,” says Krygier-Baum. 3. Light it up. If you’re taking your holiday pet photos inside, set up in front of a big window or somewhere else where you’ll get lots of natural light. Turn the flash off – often the pet’s eyes will glow green in those photos. If you want outdoor photos, you’ll get the best results if you shoot in the shade, on an overcast day or during what Krygier-Baum calls the “golden hours” – one hour before sunset or one hour after sunrise. [caption id="attachment_14192" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photography: Jason Krygier-Baum[/caption] 4. Find their motivation. Your pet is more likely to be a keen and willing participant in his holiday photo shoot if you know what to bribe him with what makes him happy: • if it’s treats, have a steady supply of his goodie of choice on standby; • if it’s toys, letting him play with his favourites should keep him excited and eager; • if it’s affection, talk sweetly to him throughout. * For the toys and treats, hold them close to the camera and you’ll likely get your pet looking almost straight in your lens (or leaving his spot to retrieve his toy or treat…). 5. Have your camera set to pet speed. “It could be increasing your ISO speed so that you have a faster shutter,” says Krygier-Baum. “Animals are pretty unpredictable and tend to move around a lot.” 6. Get on your pet’s level. “I suggest getting low and shooting your pet at eye level,” says Krygier-Baum. “You get much more dynamic photos of your pets than from just shooting them overhead.” 7. Shoot them in action! Pets are perpetually in motion, so the key to getting a good action photo is motivating your dog or cat to do what you expect. “If you’re going for a great stride shot,” says Krygier-Baum, “have a friend throw a ball directly across the camera so you know where the animal’s direction of motion will be.” [caption id="attachment_14193" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photography: Jason Krygier-Baum[/caption] 8. Believe in the more the merrier. There are two keys to photographing multiple animals at once: 1. Do the group photo at the end of the session. “The animals are a little more tired and more likely to sit for a few extra seconds or just listen a little better,” says Krygier-Baum. 2. Have a friend lead one dog or cat to where you want them, then sit and play with or pet them while the next animal is brought to their spot. 9. Know that cats and dogs can get along. There’s no reason your dog and cat can’t share the spotlight. “Since it can be a little more difficult getting the cat to where you want him, bring the dog to the cat,” says Krygier-Baum. “Dogs are much easier to handle.” 10. Share your photos. No doubt your friends will love to see a handful of your best shots – and maybe an outtake or two. Perhaps Fido or Fluffy can be the stars of this year’s Christmas card. And consider submitting your photo to this year's Purina’s Wonderfur Winter contest. One dog and one cat will win the honour of being featured on the company’s holiday packaging next year. Above all, remember that this should be fun for both you and your pet. “Always make it a rewarding experience for your pet,” says Krygier-Baum. “Even if they’re not on their best behavior.” Do you take holiday photos of your pets? Are your pets willing participants in photo shoots? Feel free to share your pet photos in the comments section.