Protect Your Dog
Make sure your dog is up to date on all of its vaccinations and is currently on flea and tick preventatives at the time of your session. Sticking to these guidelines will protect both your dog and all the other dogs that may come into the photographer’s studio.
What to Do Before Your Session
Walk your dog 1-2 hours before your session time to expend some energy. A dog whose been tired out a little will be much more obedient for photos.
If you’re going to get your dog groomed before the session, try to make that appointment a day or two before the photo session. Doing both in one day might be too much for some dogs, and a stressed out dog doesn’t photograph well.
If you have some time, practice sit and stay commands with your dog for a few weeks before the session. Bonus tip: my dog Gracey’s trainer had me teach her the “watch” command for when she barks at other dogs on our walks/makes my cat’s life a living hell. It’s also come in very handy when I want her to look at me for a photo. To teach this command, say your dog’s name and “watch!”. Reward them when they look you in the eye. Point to your face when you say the command if you like to add hand gestures to your training.
Patience is the Name of the Game
I have endless amounts of patience. That’s why I am particularly well-equipped for newborn and pet photography. At a mini session event last year, I had an owner tell me “there’s no way we’re going to get a decent photo of my dog, she’s too nervous”. I just sat there, casually throwing a few treats to the dog for a while. Eventually she calmed down and was able to sit, and her photos became my favorite ones from the entire day. A lot of times, the first 20 minutes of the session will just be the dog situating themselves, especially in the studio, which is a new place full of different smells. Don’t get frustrated if your dog doesn’t seem to be sitting still for photos. Most people don’t realize how fast a camera shutter can be. I can catch a beautiful moment that you didn’t even notice happened because it was so fast. Plus, dogs can pick up on their owner’s frustrations and it can make them behave even worse if they feel you getting stressed. Keep calm and have fun and your dog will too!
I hope this post helps you and your pet have a really successful photo session!
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