A dog photoshoot can be daunting for humans, let alone dogs!
So if you have a nervous or reactive pooch, you might think a dog photoshoot is out of your reach.
Will my dog sit still for long enough to get good photos? How can I keep my dog under control? Will the photographer be experienced enough to handle my dog? Will the photographer treat my dog with respect? These are just a few questions I’m asked by concerned dog parents.
But rest assured, you really don’t have to worry.
It’s a heart-breaking topic, because I’m sure it prevents a lot of dog parents having beautiful images of their beloved fluffy family members.
I want every dog owner to have the most beautiful images of their dog possible: professional dog photos that will mean the world to them after their loyal companion has gone.
Dog photoshoots that are accessible for all dogs
I’ve collated this blog to show you there are a few simple steps you can take to help keep your fur baby calm during a dog photography session.
I have worked with countless canine companions over the years, and I can safely say that no matter what personality your pooch is, I’ll be sure to capture gorgeous shots of them.
As a Frankfurt dog photographer, I take my time to get to know every dog.
I don’t show my camera right at the start – I get them used to it first. Let’s be honest, how would you like a huge lens shoved in your face?
I get down to their level and maybe tempt them with one (or two!) treats – I show them I’m not a threat, and that they can have fun with me. That way we’ll be sure to get some fun dog pics.
I always factor in break times, as it’s hard work being a doggie model. And I never force any dog into doing something they don’t want to do – that would be silly and make awful pet photography.
So what are some simple steps you can take to help your dog stay at ease during their photo session? Read on to find out….
1. Host your dog photoshoot in familiar surroundings
Unfamiliar surroundings can make some dogs nervous. They can even make some humans nervous too! And that’s understandable: new sights, new sounds, and lots of new smells to take in.
As a Hessen pet photographer, I know to always arrange a dog photoshoot location with you that is familiar to you and your dog.
A favourite spot you head to for regular dog walks, a park or even your own back garden, are perfect possible locations.
Familiarity is the key to keeping your dog focussed. If the shoot happens in a location they know, they are less likely to get distracted, or want to run off and explore.
Your dog’s attention most of the time during a dog photoshoot, should be on you, their ball or my camera.
2. Dogs feel safe with their favourite toys
Every dog has one – a favourite toy. Let’s face it, some humans have one too!
This could come in the shape of a ball, squeaky chew, or of the more fluffy toy variety.
Whatever your dog’s fave, it can be used to great effect – especially if it squeaks!
I usually ask the owner to stand behind me and use the toy to grab the dog’s attention. This can lead to some fabulous expressions and head tilts – the recipe for plenty of fun dog pictures.
3. Food is your dog’s best friend!
Talking of recipes, food treats are a staple on any dog photoshoot (above image by Felix Wolf from Pixabay ).
Now I’m not advocating bribery, but well, sometimes a little bit here and there doesn’t go amiss!
We all love a tasty treat, right? Well, you probably know this already, but your dog does too!
So what’s your dog’s fave food? Are they a sucker for peanut butter? Or do they crave cream cheese? Whatever they love, bring it along!
Now the trick with treats is to reward good behaviour only. Only give them a treat once they have done what you asked, e.g. sat still for a length of time or gave you their paw.
High-value treats work really well in these circumstances: those treats that only come out on special occasions.
4. Keep yourself calm during a pet photoshoot
If you are nervous about your dog photography session, your pup will be too.
Nothing unsettles a dog more than when their owner is unsettled – they pick up very keenly on these types of energies.
So try to enjoy this time with your dog. Take this opportunity to relax, play with your fur baby, and know that you are in very good hands.
As a Frankfurt photographer, I have years of experience with many shapes and sizes of dogs, and I always make sure I walk away from every shoot with a set of stunning keepsake images for owners.
5. Stay close and have your dog’s lead ready
If your dog is still nervous or over-excited, it might be best to keep them on a lead.
I recommend a long training lead, which will enable you to keep hold of your dog at all times, but still be far enough away to be out of the shots I take.
But you don’t want to see horrible leads in your shots, you cry! Never fear, it’s not a problem – I can digitally remove it in Photoshop when I’m editing the photos. There’ll be no trace that the lead was ever there.
If your dog is reactive, it’s fine to keep a muzzle on until I’m ready to take a shot. You can stay near your dog, just out of shot, and be ready to add the muzzle again once the shots are taken.
Want to see what wonderful images I’ll capture of your beloved furry friend? Get in touch to book your Frankfurt dog photography session.
I really hope you found this blog useful. If you enjoyed this, you might like this one too: My 5 top tips for capturing fun dog pictures.
Take a look at my other dog shots over on Instagram.
Such a great set of tips Clare.