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The holidays are coming, so prepare to deck your halls and your pets! ‘Tis the season for adorable pet photos to share online or send to family. But capturing fetching shots of your furry friends takes more than just point-and-shoot. Follow these tips so your pet looks paw-some and you can avoid any cat-tastrophes!

First, scout a location to set the stage for a heartwarming photo. Get creative! A Christmas tree is a classic; in front of the fireplace is great; snap Fluffy helping bake holiday treats, or posing in front of a wreath-adorned door. Just make sure your decor is pet-safe.

Next, dress your pet in their Christmas best! A Santa hat, a decorative collar, or pair of antlers can work wonders. For bonus points, get matching sweaters or accessories for a group photo with the whole family. But make sure costumes aren’t irritating or stressful. The goal is cheerful, not grumpy!

Getting pets to focus their attention on you is key for great shots. Treats or a favorite toy will help your pet to cooperate. Have someone else on hand to reward your buddy for being a good model during the photo shoot. When composing your shot, focus on your pet’s eyes. A sharp, well-lit gaze can create an emotional connection in your photos that will draw viewers in.

Pets can be unpredictable, so take dozens of shots to increase your chances of getting some gems. Keep Fluffy and Fido engaged with happy talk and snap away as they move around naturally. You’ll be able to select the best ones after the photo shoot.

A few more tips: Avoid using a flash as it can wash out the image, scare your pet, or give them a spooky “green eye.” Take some photos from above and some at eye level. Use different angles, front on, profile, and even from the rear! If you have small critters you want to include, they can be fast movers; have someone hold them and move in for a close-up. Pay attention to what is in the background; look at your entire scene.

With a little preparation and creativity, you’ll have fun taking Christmas photos of your furry friends. Say “cheese” and get ready to capture all the memories this holiday season.