Capture the Perfect Moment

With the start of summer comes one of our most popular contests. Now in its fourth year, the Pet Valu Calendar Casting Call Photo Contest allows pet parents to enter their favourite photo for the chance to have their pet featured in our 2016 calendar.

All pets are beautiful, but snapping just the right photo can be tricky. We spoke with professional Pet Photographer Marcia Leeder. Marcia is a regular collaborator with Pet Valu, and one of pets that she photographed at the Pet Valu booth at Woofstock 2014 was featured in our 2015 Calendar. Here are Marcia’s expert tips on capturing the perfect moment:

What are your tips and tricks for getting a great photo of your pets?

  • Choose a location your pet can be comfortable and relaxed in. Whether that is indoors or outdoors, choose a place they are familiar with and are safe in.
  • Connect with your pets. Whether it’s talking to them or playing with them, always interact with your pets. It will not only strengthen your bond, it will help you be more aware of their body language, moods and personality quirks.
  • Use distractions to keep them interested. A treat, a toy or even calling them by their name will help you keep their attention long enough to press the shutter.
  • Use natural light (and avoid the dreaded green eye from the flash). Outdoors, there are endless lighting possibilities, but indoors can be limited. Use the light near a large window or patio door.
  • Have patience. Animals pick up on your energy, so keep it light and fun. Don’t forget to offer them a reward when you’re done.

Photo of two cats by Marcia Leeder

Is it harder to photograph dogs or cats?

I don’t think one is more challenging than the other. If you have dogs, then you probably have a better understanding of them. The same goes for cats. Although dogs and cats have general differences, each and every pet is unique. Take the time to get to know yours.

What is the biggest mistake you see when it comes to pictures of pets?

Lack of focus on their eyes. Animals are incredibly expressive and their eyes are an essential part of gauging their mood and can be extremely powerful in photographs.

Our theme this year is ‘capture the moment’ – what is your advice for capturing unique moments with pets?

Even though you know you pet better than anybody else, animals are endlessly unpredictable. Have your camera ready at all times. You never know when a fantastic moment is going to happen.

Photo of dog by Marcia Leeder

When you’ve captured the moment and are ready to enter your pet’s photo, head over to to enter the 4th Annual Calendar Casting Call Photo Contest. Hurry, entries close June 30th.

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