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A Pet-Parent's Guide to Fur Family Photos

The best family photos aren’t staged or awkwardly posed; they show off what makes your family unique—like your fur kid(s)!

It’s the most wonderful time of year—and for us pet parents, it wouldn’t feel as jolly without our four-legged companions. Spread the cheer to all of your family and friends with a personalized holiday card featuring none other than, your pet!

If you think getting your feisty feline or rambunctious pup to sit still for a shoot sounds near impossible, think again! My fur family has worked with talented photographer Roberto Rodriguez for the last three years and he’s here to tell you it’s not so rough — and to share all of his tips, tricks, and funny moments capturing the perfect shot.

A Photographer’s Top 5 Tips for Fur Family Portraits

1. Keep it Simple

man and woman pose for photos and walk dog

Photo credit:  Roberto Rodriguez Photography

“A great way to get some fun and candid photos of you and your pets is to simply take photos while you do an activity you already love doing together,” Rodriguez says. This could be as simple (and enduring!) as going for a walk in your neighborhood or cuddling on the couch together. If your pup has a favorite toy, bring that along on the shoot too! “When everyone is relaxed and having fun, you can capture some really honest and touching moments between people and their pets,” Rodriguez explains.

2. Bring Treats

Couple walks their dog on fall day

Photo credit:  Roberto Rodriguez Photography

Bribing is never out of the question when it comes to getting pets to do what you want (like sitting for a photo). “Of course pets have a mind of their own, so sometimes they may not be in the mood to sit still for photos, or might be distracted by their surroundings,” Rodriguez says. “If all else fails, a treat is always a great way to get your pet to cooperate for a few minutes.” A high-reward, long-lasting treat is a sure-fire way to capture and keep your pet’s attention while rewarding them for a pose well done.

3. Work Quickly

Couple stands in forest with two cats

Photo credit:  Roberto Rodriguez Photography

Did I forget to mention that our family consists of two adventure cats? When we hire Rodriguez, he is quite literally tasked with helping us herd cats. After years of working together, my partner and I can quickly maneuver our finicky felines into the position Rodriguez is hoping to capture and quickly move on to the next shot as our cats attempt to hike in opposite directions.

It’s no surprise that Rodriguez reports humans are in fact easier to photograph and can usually work through a lovely 90-minute session. “A session with pets can sometimes be as quick as 30 minutes,” explains Rodriguez. “Your pet can get bored or simply not want to cooperate so we have to maximize the time we have while we have their full attention.” Once your pet’s attention span is shot, says Rodriguez, simply give your pet a needed break or transition to candid shots of your pet playing and exploring.

4. Matchy, Matchy

couple sits with cats in matching shirts

Photo credit:  Roberto Rodriguez Photography

Okay fine, this isn’t a professional photographer’s advice. But how cute is matching outfits to your pet? So far, we’ve matched flannels, Christmas sweaters, and jackets with our cats. Don’t tell my fiancé that PJs are next. If your pet isn’t up for clothing, or if clothing isn’t special to your fur family, opt for a simple bandana or the most comfortable of all for your pet—nothing! Picture day isn’t the best day to introduce something new to your pet, so set aside time a few weeks before the shoot to introduce them to their new attire.

Speaking of looking their best, don’t skip your pooch’s regular grooming session the week of the shoot, and follow up with a brushing session the morning of.

5. Fur Family Photos Aren’t Just for the Holidays

married couple poses with their dog

Photo credit:  Roberto Rodriguez Photography

Including pets in weddings and wedding photos is definitely a growing trend," Rodriguez says. “I've had couples do everything from including their dog as a ring bearer, to simply making a trip home between their ceremony and reception so they could walk their dog and get a few photos with them.”

Most importantly, be ready for the unexpected. Our pets aren’t perfect, and their quirks and funny antics are what make them so special (and their photos so great)! When the unexpected happens outside of your perfect fur family photos, Figo Pet Insurance will help you worry less and get back to playing more.


Janelle is a cat mum to two resident adventure kitties, Lyra and Atlas, and numerous cat and kitten fosters. Janelle and her furry family enjoy filling their days with hiking, kayaking, and seeking out the best cat-friendly destinations around the Pacific Northwest. You can follow Janelle, her adventure kitties, and adoptable fosters at @paws_pdx.

Protect your pet from the unexpected with Figo Pet Insurance, rated “Best Pet Insurance” by Reviews.com since 2017.

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