Tonya Perme Photography | Preparing for a Dog Photography Session on Location

Preparing for a Dog Photography Session on Location

Preparing for a Pet Photography Session: Dogs on Location

You've booked your dog's photography session!  Now what? 
Here are a few tips to prepare for a successful and fun photography session on location.

YOUR PET

Exercise
Consider the personality and needs of your dog.  If you have a young, super energetic dog or high energy breed, taking them for a walk or run prior to the photography session can be helpful!   However, you don’t want to exhaust them completely, as we want their personality to shine during our session. We can spend the first part of the session getting some action shots while they burn off some energy, then we'll move on to posed shots.

Grooming
This is a personal preference, how do you like your dog to look?  It doesn't matter to me if your pup is groomed or scruffy, I think they are cute no matter what.  Think about how you like them to look and how you'll prefer them in the future.  

Accessories
I love 'naked dogs'.  But if it feels funny to you to see your dog without a collar then by all means, we'll keep it on.  Have a special collar? Bring it.

Treats/Toys
I'll have some squeaky toys and treats on hand but you are welcome to bring any favorites.  We may not use them but it can be good to have them on hand.  Also, if your dog has any food allergies be sure to bring high value treats that they can have.  Sometimes it helpful to feed them a bit less on their meal prior to the session.

YOU

Will you be in the photos?  What to wear
You want to wear what you feel comfortable in - for style and comfort.  Expect to get down on the ground to be in the photos.  It's best to avoid solid white and solid black, stripes, logos and bold patterns as well as super bright neon colors.  We don't want to clothing to be a distraction in the photos, we want the eye to be drawn to the subjects.  I find that neutrals or solid colors and soft patterns are best. 

Patience is Key
You're excited and you want to get great shots!  You might be worried that your pet is too (fill in the blank: hyper, shy, untrained, etc) but what I know from my years of experience is that we will get great shots no matter what!  Your pet picks up on what you are feeling so it's best to relax and have fun!  From my perspective, your pet is not doing anything wrong.  My motto is "if they move 100 times, bring them back 101".  Stern tones and commands can cause a pet to shut down.  We don't want that, we want personality so it's best to keep things light and fun (and yes, sometimes a little chaos ensues).  Our goal is to get a variety of shots from posed to fun candids.  Sometimes the posed shots come first as they settle but sometimes we'll let them release a little energy first and once they settle we'll go for the posed stuff.  The flow of the session will be adjusted to allow for your pet to feel most comfortable.

 

 

 

 

GENERAL

  • Photography sessions are not timed, on average it takes about an hour for one pet, depending on their energy level and how much variety we go for.  I'll shoot until I feel I've gotten as many great shots as possible.
  • What gets your pup excited?  When we're shooting I'll be using squeaky toys, sounds and phrases to get them to perk up and look directly at the camera.  Give some thought to what gets your pup's ears up.  Where's the BALL? Wanna go for a walk?  Where's (name of familiar buddy or family member)?  Food motivated pets will alert to the sound of a crinkly treat bag (which I'll have on hand).  The trick with sounds and phrases is they must be used sparingly.  
  • It's teamwork!  Expect to help with a bit of wrangling and know that I will direct you as to what is most helpful as we go through the session.
  • For posed shots we will ask your pet to sit, lay-down and (the hardest one) stand-stay.  However, it's more important to me that we get personality in the photos than a perfect sit or pose.  Usually, throughout the course of a session even an active dog will calm and find natural positions. 
  • When we arrive at the location we'll take a few minutes to chat about our goals and your pup and I will get acquainted.  Please block a few hours for the session in case it goes longer than expected.
  • Safety first!  Let me know any concerns you have about other dogs, roads (a solid recall is always good), or any other concerns... I want you to feel comfortable.

 

Handy Items to have on hand:

  • water
  • extra waste bags
  • treats
  • a favorite toy
  • a towel for cleanup
  • a comb or brush
  • special collar (unclip the tags if possible)
  • clothing layers (for you) in case it gets windy
  • snacks and water for you, too.

 

 

 

These are just a few tips for preparing. 
Please let us know any special concerns you may have so we can be sure to set you up for a great photo session!

 

SanFranciscoDogPhotographySanFranciscoDogPhotography

 

Related: Choosing a Location for your pet photography session


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