How to Successfully Capture Pets in Costume on Film

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Petco Fans Share Ways to Help Successfully Photograph Pets in Costume this Halloween

Every pet parent is familiar with the moment when their pet does something extra adorable, but the camera is nowhere in sight and the moment quickly passes by. This Halloween, over 15 percent of pet parents will dress their pets for the holiday, but many will never be able to fully capture that “Kodak moment” because it’s often difficult to get pets to sit still long enough to get a great photo. To help, Petco™ asked their one million plus Facebook fans for their solutions. The fans shared their tips and advice on how to get the best photo of pets in costume.

Let Individual Personality Shine: All pets are not alike. Some pets are shy, some are divas and others are bad to the bone. Letting a pet’s personality shine in photos is a must. For Halloween, first decide what costume best suits them. Perhaps the pet is the “king of the jungle” and would look best in a lion’s mane or maybe they prefer an underwater adventure as a sparkly mermaid. Petco has a variety of adorable costumes for every pet personality from alligators to dinosaurs to giraffes. For dogs that prefer not to wear full costume, try a skeleton harness with a skull hat and matching booties. Cats can even get in on the action with a variety of fun disguises like a hula girl or a western cowboy outfit with a cowboy mouse in the saddle. If the pet likes a good snack this advice from Petco Facebook fan Lacey Williams should work well, “I always say treat so the perfect head tilt occurs!”

Prep Time: When capturing photos of pets in Halloween costumes, it’s important to let pets get used to the costume prior to their big shoot. Purchase the outfit well in advance, but dress the pet just before their photo shoot so they don’t grow tired of the costume midway through the escapade. This is especially important for cats, as they can quickly become tired of the charade. Facebook fan Linda S. Graham recommends prepping your pets with a little training. She says, “Well-trained dogs do well when you want them to pose or come to you.” Petco offers Positive Dog Training classes at many of their locations to help dogs become well-behaved and camera-ready.

Location, location, location: Choosing the right setting for the photo shoot is key. A place that pets are comfortable with, like a bed, is ideal. Choosing a place that pets can be themselves will help to capture them at their best. Facebook fan Crystal Yoak suggests, “I always let my dog run off, then call her back when she is in beautiful scenery. They always look extra excited and happy when they come back running to their owners.” For themed photo shoots like Halloween, decorate the area with some toys such as the Petco brand Dracula Blockhead Doll will add to the look and feel of the photo. Toys can also keep pets occupied so they are less focused on the camera and more focused on being their adorable selves. For a one-of-a-kind photo shoot, set the stage with Halloween-themed Angry Birds plush toys for dogs. This year’s release is available exclusively at Petco and Unleashed by Petco in October and features the Red Bird as a vampire, Blue Bird as a mummy, egg-shaped White Bird as a pirate and the Green Pig as a ghost.

Don’t get Flashy: Most amateur photographers do best with sunlight, rather than artificial flash, so open windows in the home to allow as much natural light in as possible. However, in the middle of the day, the sun shines its brightest and does not provide ideal light for taking photos. Instead, shoot in the morning or evenings to avoid photos becoming washed out. Turning off the flash also helps eliminate red eyes. However, be sure to increase the ISO and shutter speed on the camera to decrease blurriness. Pets move quickly and dart around, so getting a clear photo may take some practice. Tallahassee Big Dog Rescue also says, “Bring treats or a squeaky toy, have great lighting and lucky timing.”

Have Fun: Having fun with pets is the most important thing to ensure great photos. Get down on their level, roll around with them and shoot away. If the photographer is having fun, most of the time the pet will too! Plus, getting down at their level makes for wonderful photos at a unique angle. Petco Facebook fan Colleen Baker Hotchkiss says, “To get action shots, lay on the ground and have a friend throw a ball toward you. It’s a great way to get shots of all four legs in the air.” Since pets don’t get to trick or treat, reward them with all-natural treats like Old Mother Hubbard, which come in mini sizes so mealtime isn’t compromised.

Sharing is Caring: It’s no fun if that perfect photo can’t be shared with others! Now that photography skills have been mastered, make sure to show off that pet photo to friends and family. Plus, on Petco’s Facebook page you can enter your photo for a chance to win a Grand Prize of $5,000 in the Howloween “Make a Scene” Photo Contest. Simply enter your photos pets dressed in costume complete with a festive background through the photo contest tab at the top of the page. Be sure to post photos beginning Sept. 28, 2012 at:

For more information on Petco’s Halloween selection visit

About Petco
Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that provides the products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. Everything we do is guided by our vision for Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World. We operate more than 1,150 stores nationwide, including more than 50 Unleashed by Petco locations, a smaller format neighborhood shop, and The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has raised more than $100 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support approximately 8,000 local animal welfare groups across the country to help find homes for more than 250,000 animals through in-store adoption events every year.


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Holly Hitchcock