I love photographing dogs. 1) I get to pet dogs for my job, and how awesome is that? 2) I get to see how much love these dogs bring into their families. 3) Dogs are fun!
When I do pet sessions, I want them to be as fun for my clients as they are for me. So I definitely don’t want my clients to stress about whether their dogs will “behave.”
I put that word in quotes because as far as getting a good photo of your dog, it’s best when they act exactly like the dog you know and love. Does he roll in the grass and run around like an animal? Perfect! Does she bark at leaves? That’s the spirit! Does he jump as high as your shoulder? Oh, gurrrl, I’ve been there.
That ball of energy is my dog. Years of photographing him has given me ample practice on how to capture a crazy animal in just the right way. Here are my best tips for getting some great shots:
1. Make SURE You Exercise Them Before The Session.
There’s a quote in the Jack Russell community: A tired Jack is a happy Jack. Wiser words have not been spoken. Make sure before your session that your dogs get a good workout and are ready to for the paparazzi. You don’t want them too tired… sleeping puppies are always cute, but not always what we want for a photo shoot. Just a quick sprint to get the jitters out is fine. We’ll have plenty of time to play during the shoot, but getting the initial “zoomies” out can help.
2. BRING SNACKS!
Because who doesn’t love food. Bring your dog’s absolute favorite treats, and have them ready during the shoot. I always bring treats, too (grain-free, organic, made in the USA because Ranger is a spoiled hipster), but having their own special treats provides a little more incentive. If you can get something extra smelly and enticing, that’s even better.
3. Get there a little early.
I’m not talking an hour, but about 15 minutes early will give your dog some time to sniff around and get a little more comfortable with the area. The more comfortable the dog is, the more likely we are to get those big puppy smiles.
4. Relax and Enjoy!
The best photos happen when everyone is having a good time, so leave the stressing to me. You and your dog have a unique connection, and that’s what we really want to capture. So take the opportunity to spend some quality time with Fido and pay no attention to the girl behind the camera. If you have a shot you definitely want to capture, let me know beforehand and I’ll make sure we get it in. Otherwise, it’s literally a walk in the park.
5. Practice “Sit” and “Stay.”
I put this one last because, while it’s important, If your dog isn’t great with it, that’s OK. It’s not a deal-breaker. I’ll be getting a ton of candid photos, but I’ll also want to capture a few shots of you with the dog, or just Bowser doing his thing. Tricks like “sit” and “stay” definitely help there. Patience, however, is key.
Here’s an article with some tips for getting “sit” down pat – the illustrations really make it. https://www.wikihow.pet/Teach-Your-Dog-to-Sit