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Make your pup's pictures profitable

All dressed up

Hold this for me

Balancing act

Balancing act: Expert level

I’m adorable


If it fits, I sits

Happy Holidays!

Just like a human...

...But still a dog

Wouldn't it be nice if someone paid you to take photos of your adorable puppy and put them on Instagram? If not in cash, maybe in free toys, treats and other dog necessities?

Well, guess what -- there are tons of brands, both dog-oriented and not, that would love to do just that: Give you free stuff in return for a cute, product-centered Instagram post. And why wouldn't they, points out Ninja's owner Cindy. "For the cost of sending over a few items, the brand is seen and liked by thousands of followers -- and targeted, too!"

But there are some things -- aside from thousands of followers -- that make one dog's Instagram more desirable as an advertising platform than another's. Here are 10 types of photos that you might want to think about posting if you're looking for someone to sponsor your dog's account.

(Special thanks to @ninjeeee and @mrbobabear for their pictures and tips.)

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Brands like to see that their product can be presented in a non-traditional way -- dressing up your dog won't just attract pet clothing brands. If you can get your pup to sit still and "wear" human items (especially on their head/face) like headphones, sunglasses, and hats, advertisers will take notice.

Caption by / Photo by Instagram user @ninjeeee

This one takes a little training, but if your dog is good at holding things in his mouth, he'll be great at holding promoted products in his mouth! Advertisers don't just want to see that your dog can look cute while standing next to something -- they want to see interaction (the more front-and-center, the better).

Caption by / Photo by Instagram user @mrbobabear

Who doesn't like to see a dog balancing something on his nose? (Even though Frenchies' noses are...not all there.) Teach your dog to balance a treat on his head and dog treat brands will come running.

Caption by / Photo by Instagram user @mrbobabear

If your dog is willing to let you pile things all over his body, that's even better. You don't need to be promoting a product to take a cute picture like this -- "Ninja loves Sprinkles, so we posted them as he ate them. This caught the attention of the Sprinkles VP of Marketing, so she sent us a gift card to get more," says Cindy.

Caption by / Photo by Instagram user @ninjeeee

Maybe your dog isn't great at tricks. But he/she can probably sit, right? If you can get your dog to sit and look cute next to an object, you could still have a shot at getting a sponsored post. This picture of Ninja could be an ad for either Nerf or Ezydog harnesses (though it's not an ad at all). If you use any prominently-placed products in a non-sponsored post, add brand hashtags anyway -- you never know when advertisers are looking through their Instagram tags.

Caption by / Photo by Instagram user @ninjeeee

If you're new to the pet Instagram game, a food photo is one of the easiest ad-friendly pictures you can take, assuming your dog likes to eat. For obvious reasons, you'll mostly snag pet food and treat companies with a photo like this, but free food is free food.

Caption by / Photo by Instagram user @ninjeeee

BarkBox, a subscription service that sends a box of toys and treats to your (pet's) doorstep each months, sponsors lots of pets on Instagram (#barkbox). This kind of photo is cute, will work for dogs and cats, and prominently shows the brand.

Caption by / Photo by Instagram user @mrbobabear

Lots of companies ramp up their marketing strategies around holidays (not just the gift-giving holidays), so they're looking for Instagram accounts where owners go all out and dress their dog up like a Mint Mojito Iced Coffee for Halloween, or offer "French Kisses" for Valentine's Day. If you want to appeal to advertisers, make sure you do special photoshoots for the major holidays.

Caption by / Photo by Instagram user @ninjeeee

Dogs doing human things -- like sitting in a swing or the child seat in a shopping cart -- is viral gold. Naturally, companies gravitate toward accounts with photos that are likely to go viral (in hopes that their products will be featured in posts that go viral).

Caption by / Photo by Instagram user @mrbobabear

All work and no play makes for a super boring Instagram account. If your pup's photos always look too perfect and posed, brands will shy away because product integration won't look natural. Make sure you post lots of pictures of your dog just being a dog (I'm sure you have plenty) in between those ad-friendly photos.

Caption by / Photo by Instagram user @ninjeeee
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