• Gareth Partington

A Christmas Photoshoot With a Pretty Puppy

For a Christmas card in 2020 I decided to photograph my puppy and see if I could create a magical Christmas photo. It turned out to be a little more tricky than I anticipated, as a puppy is not one for sitting still for very long.


I usually create very dark cartoons for my Christmas cards but this year I had not planned enough to time to draw and paint the design, so I resorted to setting up a studio in the house and seeing what I could produce.


The problem with puppies


Now as cute as my puppy is he is not one for sitting still, in fact trying to keep him stationary is a very hard task indeed, I can use high reward foods such as chicken but when you have set up some strange lights, stuck a camera in his face, it was all a little overwhelming.


The next problem with a is a puppy is they love to bite everything and I mean everything! He investigated the light stands with his mouth, the camera and then decided that the backdrop I asked him to sit on was far more tasty than any treat I could offer.

As frustrating as it was I could not get cross with him, I was asking him to do something very alien to his world and he was having such a lovely time.


Thinking on your feet


So as I tried to photograph Harvey it was getting impossible to get him to look at me or sit where I needed him too, so I decided to change tact. If he wouldn't obey me in terms of direction, I would just let him explore and hope I could perhaps capture him in the light.

There was this photo here where he sat on the background and looked down. He looked very sad and as soon I pressed the shutter I thought perhaps I could use this as one of the photos for the card. I knew there was going to be a fair bit of Photoshop to fill in the ripped background but I wanted to add snow and colour grade it anyhow so I wasn't too worried.


Happy Christmas


These are the final two photos I created for my Christmas card. The first was on the front of the card.

I promise I've been a good boy this year


You can see I filled in the floor with some snow type colouring and added the falling snow. It would have been much better to use real snow or had some textures in real life but Harvey would have just eaten the stuff. I love how sad he looks, if you ever meet him you will see he is the happiest bouncy puppy ever.


The second photo was used inside the card.

So where's my presents?


To get his shot I ended up putting a bed down for him to lie on and crouched low in order to be at his level. I had given up trying to get him to sit or look at me so just followed what ever he did. If he lay down then so did I.


For his first studio shoot he did very well as it was all very new to him. When I made up and distributed the Christmas cards everyone was pleased to receive one and commented on how good he was. Little did they know he had been tearing round the living room eating all my studio equipment.


Have you ever created a Christmas photo shoot or do you make your own cards? I've always thought about putting together a calendar at the end of the year but I never get round to this. Perhaps it's something I could try and do in 2021. What do you think? Let me know in the comments, email or direct message me.


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