How To Prepare For A Professional Photo Shoot With Your Dog

How To Prepare For A Professional Photo Shoot With Your Dog

Prepare for Success with your dog's photo shoot

Anyone who owns a dog knows that they are an important part of the family so it's only natural that you may want to have your dog photographed professionally.
Now you’ve scheduled a professional photo session for your own dog and the day is quickly approaching. To make the most of a professional dog photo shoot, it’s important to get ready so here are my tips to help you and your dog prepare.

Studio or Outdoors?

The primary thing is to choose a location where your dog will be comfortable. If your dog is outgoing and confident in new locations then a studio photo shoot will be fine. I have posted previously about how I photographed Benji, a dachshund in my Kendal studio.
If your dog is anxious or nervous then they may prefer to be photographed at home or at an outdoor location they are familiar with.
I offer both studio pet photo shoots and outdoor location (or at home) photo shoots.

Photograph showing a Cocker Spaniel dog running through long grass
A few months ago I photographed Winnie, a Shih Poo dog outdoors at her home near Cockermouth which I wrote about in a previous post. You can read  about Winnie's photo shoot here.

Grooming your dog before their pet portrait

If your dog needs regular grooming you may wish to do this before the photo shoot appointment. Being groomed and photographed on the same day might be a bit too much for your dog, however you could book a grooming appointment a couple of days ahead of the photo shoot. If your dog is very active then it also minimises the time you need to try and keep them clean!
If you have a breed of dog that is 'scruffy' around the face, you may want to trim some of the hairs so that the eyes are more visible in the photos. Nails should also be trimmed so that your dog is presented at their best when it comes to the photo shoot.

Black and white photograph of a Jack Russell Shih Tzu cross breed dog

Practice some basic commands with your dog

A refresher on basic commands is always helpful! Practice them a few days before the photo shoot. Sit and Stay are the main two however it's always useful to work on the down or lie down command. Have a handful of treats, ask your dog to sit, then reward him for doing it. Once that is mastered, try to extend the time your dog holds this position before giving the treat.
Don't worry if your dog doesn't respond to obedience commands, I pride myself on always getting a great set of photos!

On the day of the photo shoot

If your dog's usual feeding time is before the photo shoot session I recommend giving a smaller amount of food than normal. Your dog is more likely to respond to food treats during their photo shoot and because they will probably have more treats than normal it helps to balance out the total amount of food they will consume on the day.
If you have an active dog, it's best to walk your dog about an hour before the photo shoot. This will allow them to run off some of their energy. If your dog is older or has mobility problems then it's best to give them quiet time before their photo shoot. Don't wear your dog out completely though as I want to capture their true personality!

What to bring to your dog's photo shoot

Here are the essentials to bring:
  • Your dog's favourite food treats. Bring more than you think you will need
  • Your dog's favourite toys. These might be in some of the photos so you may want to buy new ones or make sure they are clean and tidy.
  • Waste bags
  • Their best collar and a lead. If you have a retractable lead bring this too.
  • A brush for grooming and a towel you can clean and dry your dog with
  • Water for outdoor shoots. We have a bowl and water at the studio so you won't need to bring water if your dog is having a studio shoot.

What I will bring to your dog's photo shoot

The studio can be set up with a variety of studio lights and backgrounds so I will create a set up that suits the type, personality and size of dog I am photographing. For outdoor photo shoots and dog portraits at your home I will bring everything I may need including lights, lenses, backup camera, spare batteries etc. I use Canon's professional level equipment and even though I may not use everything I bring, I will have it with me so I am prepared for any situation.

Photograph of Cockerpoo puppy


All that is left is to relax and enjoy your dog's photo shoot! You can see more examples of my dog photography and find out more about my pet studio photo shoot or location pet photo shoot. If you have any questions about booking a pet photo shoot please contact the studio. I hope the post was useful to you. If you have any comments or questions I would love to hear them.

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