Bringing Dogs to Your Photo Shoot
People create special bonds when it comes to their pets. This is something we understand very well being animal lovers and pet owners ourselves. However when we meet up with our couples or individuals to talk about the coming photo session they tend to be a little shy about the fact that they would really love their dogs to be part of it. Maybe they feel as though it causes trouble, or adds a level of difficulty we wouldn't want to deal with as photographers. If you happen to be someone that feels this way, don't be. On the contrary we believe your dog can be a wonderful addition to the photo shoot. They will bring an extra element to your photos that will make them that much more meaningful. Our ultimate goal is to provide you with photos that you absolutely love and will make you smile every time you walk by them in the hallway. Having said that, there are 5 important things to keep in mind for bringing your pooch to the shoot.
1. Have Patience
This is number one for a reason. Sometimes it's really easy to get frustrated when your dog isn't behaving the way you want them to. It's just like the child in the store that's screaming and the parent is so embarrassed that they can't control them. The parent gets irritated and is no longer having a good time. This is exactly what we want to avoid. We never want you to be at a point where you aren't enjoying yourself anymore, or you're regretting the fact that you brought your dog. You have to go in with realistic expectations. Dogs aren't always so different than us. They get excited when they get to go out, meet new people, or do new things just like we do. Keeping that in mind, you have to know that your dog probably won't turn into a movie star for the camera. There's a good chance they'll be kind of antsy. They may not want to sit or look at the camera all the time. That's okay because there are a few things we can do to help that a little. In the meantime try to smile and instead of getting frustrated think about how cute it is that they're so excited.
2. Calm Them Down Beforehand
One thing that can really help combat the antsiness in your dog is wearing them out a little before you come to the shoot. Take them for a walk or let them run around the park for a bit. You don't want them to be sleepy, but getting some of their energy out can really help. Your dog may be older and calm as it is, but even then I would say take them on at least a little walk. Because even if they're calm for the most part, they'll probably still get excited when you bring them out.
3. Treat and Toys
Treats or toys are a great way to get your dog to pay attention and look at the camera. They will be more willing to cooperate with you when they have incentives. In our case we have some dog treats that we will bring to the photo shoot as back up. However not all photographers will, and if your dog has a favorite treat or chew toy it is better that you provide that. It's just a matter of working with them and getting them to stay still and hopefully look a little happier when they know treats are coming their way. When it came to working with a 6 month old golden retriever puppy with endless amounts of energy, treats made a HUGE difference. Without them, getting her to sit still was an impossible feat. The second we pulled out a bag of her favorite treats we got a handful of cute pictures in no time. Never underestimate the power of an incentive.
4. Think About Your Dog's Personality
This ties into a lot of things when talking about bringing your dog to a photo session. You know your dog much better than we do, so you have to think about the way they will react in certain situations. If they are really hyper then calming them down beforehand will be more important than you think. Also, think about whether your dog is a little ADD or not. If they will be distracted by everything or they want to bark at people walking by then that's something your photographer needs to know. It's definitely possible to find locations where there won't be so many distractions for your dog if this is the case. We can work with you and figure it out. All is not lost! Another thing is bringing props. Props can be cute, but some dogs will be far too distracted by something on them that isn't normally there. They may just want to chew on it the whole time, or they may become agitated with something like a sign around their neck.
5. Have Fun With It
Always remember this step. You will have to let go of the perfect posed photo with your dog because that doesn't really happen most of the time. It can, but it's better if you just have fun. The photo above is a great example of that. It wasn't posed at all, and it's one of our favorites. The owners are just interacting and having a good time with their dogs. So stay patient, smile, and remember to have fun with it!