Monday, October 19, 2009

Hallow-BOW-WOW! Professional Tips for Photographing Your Pet in Costume

Courtesy Sam Allen 

It's almost October 31, and that means your pets will soon be tricked out in all their Halloween finery.

Professional animal photographer Sam Allen gives us the following tips for taking great photos of your costumed friend. Patience is key, says Allen, who spoke to from her studio in Portland, Maine. (That’s her yellow Lab, Zoey, impersonating Dracula.) "It takes time to get the photo just how you want it," she explains. Here are her best suggestions:

1. Get comfy. Your pup isn’t necessarily thrilled to wear strange attire. He might try to chew the costume or wriggle it off. So let your pooch sniff the costume, walk around, get used to it. If there are several parts to the costume, put on one at a time. Headgear goes on last.

Comfy also means taking the dog for a walk before your photo session. In the studio, "my dogs can become really antsy," says Allen. Time for a bathroom break!

2. Employ treats. Use food and toys, those major motivators, to snag your pet’s attention. Your animal will likely prick up its ears, cock its head or make its cute face. "It’s bribery, but it works," Allen says.

3. Use natural light. It's best to take photos outdoors on a slightly overcast day. Avoid direct sunlight, which will create harsh shadows. Indoors, take photos in a well-lit room or near a window with indirect light, and use your camera’s flash to further illuminate your subject if necessary.

4. Downplay the background. Position your pet in the middle of a yard or room, not against a wall. Plenty of space behind the pet makes for a softer background. Clear up nearby clutter and distractions.

5. Get the animal’s eye view. Crouch or kneel so you are at your pet's eye level. Or pose your pet on a piece of furniture. Otherwise, you will have a shot of an animal’s head looking up at you, which works only if the costume is a mask or hat.

Then, focus on the face. "Almost any picture of your pet will be good," Allen says, "if the eyes are in focus."

National Canine Cancer Foundation


Samantha said...

What a great post! Thanks for sharing those great tips - we will surely use them! And that lab looks pawesome in his drac costume! (How did they ever get him to wear those scary teefies?)
xo Sammie

Inigo Flufflebum and d'Artagnan Rumblepurr said...

Thanks for the tips! But we're not gonna let mummy see them, she takes enough photos of us as it is!! tee hee!

Shelley said...

Great tips! I'm hoping to get Scout to at least wear a bandana for 5 seconds so I can snap 1 shot!

Benny and Lily said...

Thank you, but stop giving mom ideas! BOL
Benny & Lily

Sam said...

Heh, I spare Marge the embarrassment of being dressed up on Halloween since it's such an icky day for her with throngs of scary little kids ringing the doorbell.

Elizabeth said...

Great tips, thanks for the post!

Thor said...

Those are great tips ONLY FOR MOMS!


Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...



Dory and the Mama said...

Awesome advice Scout & Freyja...Thanks!


dewdana said...

What great and helpful tips! Black dogs are especially difficult so I always struggle with photos.

Teddy Bear said...

Thank you for the great tips!

Teddy Bear

JackDaddy said...

Thank you for sharing this. Jack would have eaten the plastic teeth before I could get the camera ready to shoot.
He would probably have chewed at least one hole in the cape as well!
I think I'll let him be a nudist this year! :)
(Ooops, too late - I just checked his blog - I think he made another choice!)

chicamom85 said...

That is very good advice and thank you.

licks and sniffs, Sasha

Mango said...

Yuh, momma says maybe if we start practicing now we should be ready to pose pretty for our holiday card. Those are all good tips, but really, the Pee-Wee will not stop wiggling.

Funny thing is, he goes walkies in a reflective vest at night and he doesn't mind. I suggested maybe he wear his monkey outfit on walkies to get used to it. Hehehe


Rocky Creek Scotties and Java said...

Thanks for sharing those wonderful hints - hope they work for us - hehehe!!

Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Java

Mason Dixie said...

Thanks for the tips, mom does not dress me up for halloween but I can not wait to see what every other pup does. =)

Hero said...

Thanks for sharing those photo tips. My Lola got me a devil costume for Halloween and Tagpi is supposed to be a pumpkin.

Ruby and Penny said...

Thanks for the great tips.
Love Ruby & Penny

Martha Basset said...

Great tips - we are passing them onto our mum however we are refusing to dress up!
Every time mum tries we run away and so will pass the info about the treats.
Martha & Bailey xxx

Anne-Kathrine said...

Great info! Patachou was so easy to take pics of since he love the attention. My girl not so much LOL.

Alex93andme said...

Thanks for the tips! The hard part now is getting an outfit on Holly..she shakes or tears everything off!

Miley said...

Great tips, now mom needs to find some tips on how to get the costumes on me!!! BOL!!!

lotsa licks,

Ginger Jasper said...

Thanks for the tips, very useful for photo's mum just has to work out how to get me to keep something on for more than a few seconds.. MOL x

Tanuki Maxx said...

Great tips, thank you.

Maxx & Mommy

happy said...

Great tips! Thanks for sharing! LS will tell you it doesn't work on me hehe.

Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog said...

GREAT advice! You might want to know that there is a wonderful Pet Halloween Costume Contest going on at and your pet does not have to be handicapped to enter... all are welcome!

Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog

The OP Pack said...

Great tips, now if only I had some costumes for the boys.