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GENERAL INFORMATION
1. How To Enter: You can enter either via Facebook or by visiting our contest entry page. 
2. Eligibility:
a. Open and offered to all persons over the age of 18.
b. Employees and directors Only Natural Pet Store ("Sponsor") and its parent, subsidiaries and affiliated companies, advertising, promotion or production agencies, and their immediate family members or individuals residing in their same household, are not eligible to win the contest.
c. Winner Selection and Criteria: One (1) photo will be selected by popular vote of the members of the Only Natural Pet Store and by meeting criteria outlined below and moderated by an officially appointed employee of Only Natural Pet Store. The decision of the judge is final and binding in all matters relating to judging this Promotion. Only Natural Pet Store will notify winner by email. The winning photo must meet the following criteria:
  • Photo must be original, unpublished, and not copyrighted.
  • Photo must show at least one dog or one cat.
  • Your odds of of being chosen increase if your photo features active pets representing the Only Natural Pet lifestyle, are in focus, and are composed well See below for tips on how to photograph your pet.
d. Prizes: One 1st place image with a dog and one 1st place image with a cat will receive a $150 gift card that can be redeemed at www.onlynaturalpet.com only. One 2nd place winner will receive a $75 gift card that can be redeemed at www.onlynaturalpet.com. One 3rd place winner will receive a $50 gift card that can be redeemed at www.onlynaturalpet.com. There will be 2 runner up prizes of $25 gift cards that can be redeemed at www.onlynaturalpet.com.
 
GENERAL RULES
1. Sponsor and its agencies are not responsible for lost, late, damaged, delayed, incomplete, corrupted or misdirected entries, whether caused by electronic, network, software or computer failures and malfunctions of any kind or by human error. Sponsor assumes no responsibility for undeliverable e-mails resulting from any form of active or passive e-mail filtering by a user's Internet service provider and/or e-mail client, insufficient space in user's e-mail account to receive e-mail, or for any other technical reason.
2. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to cancel or terminate the Promotion (or any portion thereof) if fraud, misconduct or technical failures, including computer virus, bug, or other technical problems, destroy or threaten to destroy the integrity of the Promotion. Sponsor may elect, if feasible and in its sole discretion, to choose winners from among all eligible entries received prior to the time of such a forced termination.
3. In the event a dispute arises regarding specific winner entitled to receive prize, entry will be deemed made by the "authorized e-mail account holder," which shall mean the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.
4. Any damage made to the Website will also be the responsibility of the authorized e-mail account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. Any attempt by an individual to damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of this Promotion may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from and to prosecute any such individual to the full extent of the law.
5. By participating in this Promotion, entrant agrees to be bound by these Official Rules and by the decisions of the judges, which are final. By submitting a photo, the user is agreeing to "accept" the terms of use listed at the point of entry, which will include very broad permission for Only Natural Pet Store and its agents to post any entered photo on websites and to use it anywhere in any context, including advertising, without additional compensation. The terms of use are incorporated by reference and made part of these rules.
6. Upon a finding on non-compliance with these Official Rules and requirements, or if prize/prize notification is returned as non-deliverable, or if a winner is found to be ineligible, such prize will be forfeited and may be awarded to an alternate winner selected by Sponsor's judges.
7. The Promotion is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. It is void where prohibited by law. Winner is responsible for any tax due on winning amount.
8. Entrants who participate in this Promotion hereby waive and release, and agree to hold harmless the Sponsors, its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, distributors, licensors, advertising and promotion agencies and all of their respective officers, directors, employees and representatives and agents, from and against, any and all rights, claims and causes of action of any kind whatsoever that may arise from their participation in this promotion and/or their acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any good obtained with the prize gift cards.
 
RELEASE AND LICENSE
In consideration of entering my photo in the Only Natural Pet Store Photo Contest, I hereby grant to Only Natural Pet, its employees, agents, licensees and personnel who are acting on its behalf ("Only Natural Pet"), the absolute and irrevocable right and permission throughout the world and in perpetuity, with respect to the linked digital photo of my dog, cat, me and/or others (if applicable), as well as my image, likeness, name, testimonials, statements, if any, or other related items (the "Authorized Material"):
1. To use, re-use, publish, re-publish, post on a website, transmit, modify and edit the Authorized Material, in whole or in part, severally or in conjunction with other materials, in any medium now or hereafter known, for commercial, promotional and educational purposes and for any other purpose whatsoever, including without limitation, publicity, marketing, advertising, fundraising and/or trade, and
2. To claim and register copyrights in any materials created by Only Natural Pet Store based on, derived from or incorporating all or part of any of the Authorized Material in Only Natural Pet Store's own name or any other name that it may choose.
As a condition for entering my photo in the promotion, I certify that I have the written consent of all other identifiable persons, children and animals in the photo (other than myself or my own children and animals) to be bound by the terms of this Release and License.
I hereby release and discharge Only Natural Pet Store from any and all claims and demands whatsoever arising out of or in connection with the use of the Authorized Material or any reproduction thereof and waive any further claim for compensation in connection with the use of the Authorized Material. I acknowledge that the Authorized Material may be altered or modified and waive any right to inspect or approve the finished product.
This Release and License shall inure to the benefit of Only Natural Pet Store successors and assigns and shall be binding upon my heirs, successors, assigns and legal representatives.
 
TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHING PETS
1. Start with Your Pet’s Personality
Before you start photographing your pet ask yourself ‘what sets it apart from other animals?’ Think about what type of personality it has and then attempt to capture some of that in your shots. For example if everyone knows your pet as a sleepy, lazy or placid little thing set up your photo shoot around it’s bed or where it goes after a meal to lie in the sun and you’ll have every chance of capturing a shot that sums your pet right up. Alternatively if your pet is hyperactive, inquisitive and always on the move it might be better to do your shoot at a local park where it’s racing around, jumping for balls or playing with other animals.
2. Think about Context
In choosing the location to photograph your pet you might want to consider a variety of other factors also. For starters choose a place where your pet will be comfortable and at ease. Also consider the familiarity of the location and the emotions that it will evoke in you as the pets owner. For example you might have a place that you and your pet have had some special moments together that will mean a lot in the future as you look back over your shots. Lastly consider the background of your shots. Ultimately you don’t want your backgrounds to be distracting from your photo – sometimes the best locations are the plainest ones – a large patch of green grass, a well lit room with white walls and plain carpet etc can be ideal. Of course this can also be tool plain and sterile – my motto is that if the different elements in the background of the shot don’t add to it avoid them.
3. Get in Close
Pets come in all shapes and sizes but in most cases they are smaller than a human and as a result they tend to end up getting a little lost in photos unless you make an effort to get up close to them. Of course getting close is not always easy, especially if you have a pet that likes to move around, but it’s worth making the effort as the detail that can be gained and the personality that can be captured by an up close and personal photo shoot with a pet can really lift a photo to a new level. If you can’t physically get close to your pet get your camera equipped with a zoom lens. The added benefit of a long focal length is that it will help with isolating your pet in terms of depth of field (ie give you a nice blurry background so that your pet is center of attention with no distractions).
4. Get On Their Level
Get down on your pets level where you can look upon them eye to eye. Images taken by a photographer standing up and looking down on their level not only leave you too far away from your subject but they also mean the shots end up having a very ‘human perspective’. Getting down on your pets level means you enter their world and get a glimpse of what life looks like from their angle – you’ll be impressed by the results as they are more personal and have a real element of intimacy.
5. Mix Up Your Framing
Pets, like human subjects’ look different from different angles and framing them in a variety of ways can bring out different perspectives to your shots. In your photo shoot take some tightly cropped facial shots (even focussing right in on single features like eyes, noses, ears, whiskers etc) but also make sure you take three quarter body shots as well as full body shots. In this way you end up with a series of shots that give viewers of your photos a full perspective on who your pet is.
6. Lighting
Light makes any photograph what it is and when it comes to pets it’s especially important. In general I wouldn’t recommend using a flash as they tend to distract pets and in some cases will even frighten them. The other issue with flashes is that they can create spooky red-eye problems with some animals (in the same way they do with humans). Natural light is a much better option than using a flash and so where possible outside photo shoots tend to work best (or at least in a well lit window inside). The only exception I would give for using a flash is when your pet has very dark (or black) fur as it tends to absorb light and a flash can add detail. With dark fury pets you might want to slightly over expose your images for this same reason. Alternatively with white pets you run the risk of over exposing shots so try to find a location out of direct sunlight and definitely avoid a flash.
7. Include People
One of the best things you can do to add context to a shot is to include the special people in the life of your pet in the image. Shots with the owner or other family members interacting with your pet can make the images incredibly special for years to come. You might like to try posed shots but sometimes it’s the candid shots of owner and pet at play (or snoozing together in front of a fire) that really capture the character of the pet and evoke emotion.
8. Freeze the Action
Many pets present a challenge to photographers because they are active and always on the move. The key with any subject that’s on the move is to freeze their action by using a fast shutter speed. Most digital cameras these days will allow you to shoot in full manual mode if you feel confident to get the mix between shutter and aperture right – alternatively you can work in shutter priority mode where you set the shutter speed and the camera automatically does the rest by picking a good aperture to work with your shutter speed. The last alternative is to use ‘sports’ mode which will mean the camera will select the fastest shutter speed possible for your situation. Once you’ve got your shutter speed nice and fast make sure your camera is always at the ready so you can anticipate the actions of your pet. If they are a fast mover you might also want to consider shooting in continuous mode (burst mode) to take a quick series of shots in a row. This can also lead to a wonderful sequence of shots that work well together.
9. Be Playful
Pets can be playful little critters and rather than attempting to contain this to get them posed for that special shot it’s often very effective to go with their playfulness and make it a central feature of your image. Include their toys, stimulate them to look longingly into your camera by holding a special treat above your head or take a picture with them sitting on top of you mid wrestle etc. Make your photo shoot a fun experience for both you and your pet and your shots are likely to reflect it.
10. Catch them Unaware
Posed shots can be fun and effective but one thing I love to do (whether it be with animals or people) is to photograph them candidly paparazzi style. I have very fond memories of stalking a friend’s dog as he played in a back yard one day. I took shots while he dug up flowers, as he buried a bone, as he fell chased a bee around and ask he sat contentedly with his head sticking out of his dog house. The whole time I photographed him he was barely aware of my presence so the shots were very natural without me distracting the dog from his ‘business’.
For more information about photographing pets and to see some great pics, check out Digital Photography School's How To Photograph Pets page.
 

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