Preparing for your Pet Photography Session

Fabulous, you’ve booked your pet photography session!! To get the absolute best, there are a few things that you may want to consider in preparing for your pet photography session!

♥ Exercise

If you have a super crazy nutty dog or another high energy breed pet, taking them for a good walk or run around prior to the photography session can pay off!   You don’t want to exhaust them completely, as their personality and playfulness needs to shine through during the session but just enough so that they aren’t completely over the top when we start, and so we can capture the some quieter moments towards the end of our session.

♥ Grooming

Like people, your pets need to look their best for their photos!  Many people want to give their pets (dogs in particular) a bath before their photo shoot and that’s awesome – please go ahead.  For most pets though, a good brush can be sufficient to have them looking their stylish best.

If the session is for a dog that is regularly clipped, consider taking them for a traditional specific breed cut – this will help make their eyes, physique and features more visible for their particular breed.  Conversely, if you are one of the many people who don’t love the very short coat look when your dog is first clipped, its best not to have it done the day before the photography session!!  Consider scheduling their grooming appointment so their coat is looking as you love it most at the time of the session or asking your groomer for a longer clip on this occasion.

If your pet has tear stains under their eyes, it is worthwhile purchasing special products to eliminate the reddish stains.

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♥ Accessories

Do you have a favourite collar for your pet?  Do you love to dress your pet in a fabulous little bow tie or jacket that you have for them.  If this is you – then bring those accessories for your pet along and we will incorporate them in the session to create a mixture of meaningful photos for you.

♥ What gets them excited?

All pets have something that gets them really excited.  What words, actions or things can be used in your session to achieve that excited, inquisitive or happy look from your pet?  Be sure to let me know what it is that gets your dog really excited so that I will have a trick or two up my sleeve during the session!!  Also read on about treats, toys & things as very often these are play a roll in getting your pet excited.

♥ Treats

For food motivated pets, treats and snacks are the ultimate go-to means of keeping them focused for their photos and especially when working with more than one dog. Their favourite snacks work as a great reward for staying still or for performing tricks.

While I have a ready supply of 100% nat­ural, healthy treats for use dur­ing our ses­sion, if there are treats that you know your pet loves – bring them along as that will guarantee a receptive pet!!  It is best that your pet does not know that you have brought treats with you as I will decide when during the session it’s the best time to bring them out.

Be sure to let me know if your pet has any par­tic­u­lar food allergies.

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♥ Toys & Things

A pet’s favorite things will help get the most emotive and personal shots.  Having your pet’s favourite toys, blankets, or even a much loved chewed up old shoe, at the session is great to get their attention or to reward them.  I do have toys and props for use during a session, however nothing is better than your pets own favourite things – they are familiar with them and when you look back on the photos they will hold greater meaning for you.

♥  Arrive a little early

Plan to arrive a few minutes early for your session. This will allow your pet time to meet the photographer and get used to the smells and sounds of a new place.  If it’s been a little bit of a car ride it also gives you a chance to take your dog for a little loo walk without it being during your session time.

♥ Your Assistance

Your pets know you and are most comfortable with you being close to them.  For dogs, they have also probably been through some training, schooling or obedience lessons with you.  For these reasons, you will make the best photographer’s assistance with your pet on the day!!  I will often ask for your assistance  with directing your pet, gaining their attention and keeping them focused.

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♥ Don’t Worry, Don’t Stress

Your pet probably won’t behave perfectly for the whole session, if at all!  Your pet may not do exactly as you are wanting them to do.  It happens – pets are unpredictable and don’t take photography direction all too well!.  For most pets, professional photography is a new experience and often in a new and strange place. Don’t worry that your pet is not performing as they ought to or would normally do – it only takes me a fraction of a second to get THE shot.

And, therefore, try not to stress!  Our pets easily pick up on our stress, and most of the time it’ll rub of on them. So as much as possible, try to relax.

Kerry Martin

Kerry is 'Top Dog' here at Puppy Tales. With her own adored dogs, she completely gets that your four legged furry buddy is absolutely part of the family. That they sleep on the bed, that you want to take them everywhere, that you plan holidays so they’re included & that their presence makes your life incredible.