How to Prepare for Your Pet Photo Session

Photography is all about capturing the moments that matter most to you, holding onto memories for years to come. So, what better way to celebrate your love for your dog than with a professional dog photo session?

If you’ve never had professional photos taken of your dog, you may be unsure how to prepare. After all, dog sessions are quite different from family or other portrait sessions. For one thing, you don’t have to worry about dressing your dog like you do a child, but there are plenty of other things to take into consideration.

That’s why, as a dog photographer, I put together this handy guide on how to prepare for and get the most out of your dog photo session!

Walk it out­—or take a nap
You want your furry friend to feel relaxed during their session, so take them for a nice long walk in the morning before the time at the studio. Getting some exercise is especially important if your dog is high-energy, since the more they run around, the easier it will be for your photographer to capture portraits that are just perfect.

However, if you have an older dog who is more low-energy, they may just need some time to rest and sleep before their session. You know your dog’s personality and what works best for them so you can plan accordingly.

Bring a few favorite things
Prior to your session, pack a bag of your dog’s favorite toys and treats. A little reward can go a long way in helping your dog to sit and pose for pictures. Squeaky toys are always a great hit and help encourage your dog to make some of those adorable, playful expressions. Toys and treats are also a great way to get your pup to look at the camera.

Pack a bag
In addition to favorite treats and toys, pack some water and a bowl, as well as bags for picking up waste, a brush for grooming, and your best collar and leash. I have all that here in the studio, but it never hurts to have backups. These items will also be perfect if we booked you for an outdoor session.

Get groomed
If you regularly take your dog to a groomer, try to schedule an appointment the week before your session to ensure that your dog is looking silky and clean. If you groom at home, take some time to give your dog a bath and brush them before your session. And don’t forget to trim those nails!

Brush up on basic commands
Getting great photos will partly depend on how well your dog obeys basic commands. So take some time in the weeks before your session to brush up on sit, stay, down, and any other commands your pup knows. However, if your dog doesn’t know any of these commands or is just too excited during your session to listen, don’t worry! I know how to engage with any breed or personality, and I will be patient and work with you and your dog to get amazing photos.

Choose your own outfit
While this photoshoot may be all about your dog, you want to look good too! Take some time to pick out your own outfit: something casual and comfortable that will allow you to easily move around and play with your dog. As far as shoes, go for something that is comfortable for walking, like a nice pair of sneakers. You want to feel comfortable but also look good in photos if you’d like to jump in for a couple. If you’re not sure what to wear, don’t be afraid to ask, but solid colors always work great.

Talk to your photographer
If your dog has any behavioral issues or anxieties, let your photographer know ahead of time so they can be prepared. This can be especially important when choosing locations, so tell your photographer if your dog has any specific fears, like traffic noises or other dogs, that could affect where they want to shoot.

Be patient
I get it—you paid for a professional photo session, and you want some awesome images of your dog to hang on your walls and share with family and friends. It can be frustrating when your dog just isn’t cooperating, won’t pay attention, or even actively ignores commands. Or maybe your dog is incredibly shy and won’t show off the charming personality they have at home.

Regardless of your dog’s personality, I will get photos you’ll love. Just relax, have fun, and trust me! I’ve worked with every kind of dog, from the anxious to the over-active, and sometimes all it takes is a few treats and a whole lot of patience to get the photos you want. So, if your dog is acting up, don’t yell at them or use a stern tone. Let’s just keep things light and fun. Trust me, your photos will turn out great!

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