We are no different from any other dog lovers who dream of having the perfect family portrait along with their pets and even having that special Christmas card to share with all our friends. But anyone with dogs knows how hard it is to get everyone to sit just right all at the same time and unless you have someone else take the picture, you add another complication when you use the self-timer on the camera. And so it was when I set out to make just such a special Christmas card last year. But now I thought it would be fun to share some of the outtakes from our little excursion that turned out pretty good in the end. So here is how we made our perfect Christmas card.
It all began with a Santa Claus hat. The first time I used it was when I wrote the story here on December 24, 2009, titled A Rottweiler Christmas story about the Santa Tiger meeting our new adopted Rottweiler, Axl and giving him a very important message. Here is one of the pictures and may I suggest your read the original post to see that message.
Then I attempted to pose our other Rottweilers, Ruff and Sassy wearing the same Santa Claus hat. That part didn't go as well because they were awake while Axl was asleep when I took his picture. Anyway, here's an outtake of my faithful assistant trying to get Ruff to wear the hat.
We did have better luck with little Sassy. It took only two attempts to get a decent shot of her wearing the Santa hat. Here is what that looked like. The right hand picture looked pretty good because, at least, Sassy had her eyes open and she had such an innocent look on her face.
So we went out and purchased four more Santa Claus hats. I don't think it was a planned thing, I just spotted them on display at the local Kroger supermarket and the idea just popped in my head. But having the hats and getting the Rottweilers to wear them was completely separate things. First of all, Sassy was pretty laid back and all we had to do was set the hat on her head and take the picture. This didn't work for the boys. So I came up with the idea of attaching an elastic chin strap which I could digitally remove later. But getting them to sit still was another matter.
Then there was the question about the 20-second timer on the camera. I needed that much time to move from behind the camera to get to the couch and sit behind Axl - and try to get Sassy to move in front of us. A lot can happen in 20-seconds. Like this.
But along the way I did get one fairly decent picture without Sassy and decided to try and work with this one. Here is the un-retouched version of what would be our final picture.
But those hats had to go. Ruff kept staring at the pom-pom which hung right above his eyes and because of their wide heads I couldn't get the pom-pom to hang down on the side. So I took the hat and made a separate photo of it, cut it out and pasted it on Ruff and Axl's heads.
But it still needed some shape changes so what you see above is slightly different from the finished picture below.
But there was one last item to be corrected. I needed to add Sassy to the final picture. So I took the better shot of her wearing her Santa hat from above, cut her from the photo and reversed it so she was looking up at me and pasted it into the final, final version of our perfect Christmas card. And here it is.