Last July 4th, the world lost a strong, intelligent and wonderful woman when my Aunt Cathy passed away from cancer. Her daughter, my cousin Marissa has been a beacon of strength in the face of this tragedy. Next week, she is honoring her mother’s legacy by joining with JABS in Cutchogue, their much-loved gym, for a LifeRide fundraiser to benefit Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
There will be a group LifeRide session, raffles, 50/50 and more. I’m donating a basket to their raffle with a gift certificate for a free photo session and a $100 print credit. I’ll be there supporting my amazing cousin, so come down and say hi, and help support this wonderful cause.
My dog nephew is very used to me sticking my camera in his face, because I've been doing so since my sister Lisa adopted him as a puppy in 2009. What he never got used to was walking up a flight of stairs. Ash is terrified of steps and refuses to go up them. So since my studio is upstairs, I carried him to the top. Now, I'm used to my Gracey's little 17 pound frame, so I needed a little break once I got Ash's 45 pounds up there. Phew.
After 9 years, Ash knows when he gets to the studio, it's time for business. I sat him down on the rug and that's where he stayed until we were done. He didn't even complain when I draped fake roses over his head. Such a good model. Look out for some more really exciting photos from Ash in the near future!
Here are my favorite photos from his Valentine's Day shoot. Enjoy!
Schedule a photo session for your furry Valentine!
Everyone knows that dogs are very important members of the family unit. They're sweet, they're affectionate, and they don't talk back or clog up the DVR with their reality TV shows.
Fido's your best friend, so he deserves more than a blurry cell phone pic in your family's photo album! If you're looking to have a beautiful photo session for your pup, follow these guidelines to make sure your buddy's photographs come out as amazing as he is.
Figure out the When and the Where
Are you planning to shoot in the studio or outdoors? If you plan on an outdoor session, consider the time of year. In spring and autumn, your dog should be fine to stay outdoors for the length of a photo session, but a long-haired dog might not be as comfortable shooting in the height of summer, just as a short-haired dog might not be able to handle a snowy session in the winter.
Choose your location wisely. Always call ahead to make sure that both dogs and professional photography are allowed at your desired location. Here on Long Island, there are countless beaches to choose from, but there are many that don’t allow pets, so make sure you can bring your pup before you get your heart set on a location.
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.
Talk to Your Photographer about Your Dog
Every dog needs to be handled differently. Some don’t like their bellies touched. For others, paws are a no-go. My Gracey (the cute chihuahua under the heart garland up there) is terrified of anyone who bends down over her. Let your photographer know if there's a way your dog doesn't like to be handled, which may scare it or cause it to become anxious or aggressive. The last thing I want to do as a pet photographer is make my subject uncomfortable, so let me know how I can avoid that.
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.
What to Bring
An outfit, bandana, special blanket or favorite toy can really enhance a session. Make sure that whatever you want to bring is not going to get your dog too riled up. A dog that is too focused on getting at his favorite monkey toy will not be paying attention to the camera.
It’s a good idea to bring a bowl and a bottle of water in case your dog needs a break to rehydrate. Bringing some of your dog’s treats is also a good idea, but use these as a last resort to get a dog to look at the camera, because they can make some dogs a little slobbery.
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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Schedule a pet photo session with me! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (631)256-7476.
Long Island, NY