Whether you've had photos done for yourself or never had a professional photo session, having a dog photography experience is a bit different from what you might be expecting. But there are a few similarities that we can draw from a typical photo session.
Here are my 6 best tips to help you prepare (yourself and your doggy friends) for your next dog-centered photo session.
1 // A little play goes a long way
Unless your dog is a senior pup, they probably have endless amounts of energy (and even our senior dogs can surprise us)! This tip is #1 because it can be crucial to getting your boundless ball of fluff to focus on the tasks we ask them to do. Be sure to at least take them out for a decent sized walk (include lots of play for the more working/energetic dogs) before the session, but not so much that they are too tired to want to cooperate.
2 // Don't feed them right before the session
Dogs are food motivated (aren't we all) and we want to make sure that your dog is going to be interested in the yummy treats that we have for them. So feeding a little earlier or skipping the afternoon snack can make a huge difference in getting them to want to interact with the camera in a way that will result in your beautiful fine art images.
3 // Have them groomed a couple days before
Instead of planning out wardrobe styles, dog's need to be groomed to help them look their best. If you have a favorite coat style or look for your canine companion, make sure to have them groomed a couple of days prior to their session.
I do not recommend having them groomed the same day, as that can be quite the experience in itself and we don't want to overwhelm them with too much excitement in one day.
4 // Bring a simple flat collar or a favorite flashy one
If you are looking for photos that doesn't have a collar or leash included then you'll want to bring a collar that is flat and simple. This makes it much easier to edit out. However, if you have a fancy favorite that you love seeing your dog in, be sure to bring that and just let me know so I can leave it in the photos. You can absolutely do both as well.
If your dog needs to be walked with a harness, we can absolutely have them wear their harness whenever we are walking around or exploring, and then just switch out of it when it's time for photos.
5 // Pack like you would for going to the park
A photo session for your dog is similar to any other outing with them in that you should bring all the usual necessities such as water, toys and poop bags (because poo happens). Even though I'll have toys and treats as well, consider bringing their favorite toys and treats as well so they have something familiar that they love (I try to find the tastiest treats, but some dogs only want what they are familiar with).
6 // Most importantly, relax
The most important thing for a successful dog photography session is for your dog to be their adorable, doggy self. They pick up on your energy the most and it will show in the photos if you're stressed out. Try to relax and remember that it's okay if they won't sit perfectly still or look at the camera every time I ask. You hired a dog photographer because I'm skilled in working with dogs of all temperaments and you will get great photos even if you think your dog is being "the worst". Relax, have fun, and always smile while playing with your dog.
Preparing for a dog photo session doesn't have to be any harder then getting ready to go to the dog park. And I'll always be there to answer any questions and remind you what to pack for your custom experience.