Preparing for your photoshoot
Having a photoshoot can be a daunting process, especially if you're not sure what to expect! When I speak to pet owners, their main concern is usually regarding how their dog may behave, or how to handle their dog during the session - this is most prevalent if the dog is unable to go off-lead. In this short guide, I will go through what you as the pet owner need to do in order to prepare for your session with me, along with how I overcome certain issues!
- Don't worry if your dog is not fully trained, or has behavioural issues!
In an ideal world, all dogs would be perfectly well-behaved with excellent behaviour. Unfortunately, that's rarely the case - but what that DOES mean is that, over the years, I have learnt how to use these behaviours to my advantage and create beautiful images with even the most difficult of subjects.
During the initial booking process, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire - this is absolutely vital in helping me get to know you and your pet, and anything I may need to prepare for ahead of time! This is particularly vital if the dog has any behavioural issues or fears. Knowing about your dog's behaviour and preferences is how I tailor your session to be unique to you - I never want to put any of the dogs I meet under stress or create any fear, so it helps massively that I know their quirks beforehand.
Although a sit command is helpful - there is NO necessary training required to get awesome photos of your dog. There are plenty of ways we can work around a dog that doesn't have solid commands. This brings me to my next point...
- If your dog needs to remain on lead...
Whether it be for lack of recall, prey drive or reactivity/aggression issues (or even just personal preference!) all dogs can remain on lead for their photoshoot. I am able to edit out a lead and collar from your images after the session and will guide you on the day on how to hold your lead, as well as where to stand, to make my editing job a little easier! Safety is the number ONE priority for all of my sessions, so I usually ask that dogs are kept on lead anyway unless they are exceptionally well-trained - it just makes things easier for everyone! I use the same approach whether it's a studio or outdoor session.
- TREAT YOUR FOUR-LEGGED FRIEND TO A LITTLE PAMPER BEFORE YOUR SESSION
To get your pooch looking their best, a good bath, brush and nail trim the day before your session is usually enough. For certain breeds who are normally shaved, I recommend doing so 1-2 weeks BEFORE your session to allow to coat to settle. Avoid muddy walks in the days leading up to your session, or you might need to bathe your pup again!
- BURN OFF THAT EXCESS ENERGY...
Now, you don't want to completely wear out your dog before their session, but if they are particularly energetic it would be a good idea to take them out to burn off some extra energy a few hours before their session, making them easier to handle overall. For most dogs, their normal morning walk or a quick play in the garden is usually enough.
- Bring a helper
If your dog is known to be a little unruly, excitable, or they're in general a large dog - it may be a good idea to bring a helper to aid in setting up for the shots or carrying a few things for you. Having an extra pair of hands is never a bad idea, and often they are super helpful for me too, as the dog will know them.
Whether it's his favourite toy or some high-value treats, bring along some items to help keep your dog motivated! If your dog is known to become transfixed by food or toys, it may also be better to leave these items at home. Only you will know this - and hopefully me, too, once you fill out your questionnaire! If you forget to bring treats, I will usually have some on me. If your dog isn't known to become transfixed, but for some reason gets a little too excited by the toys or treats, we can use this to our advantage and capture some fun shots instead!
- What if your dog is scared of the studio lights?
Every dog that comes into the studio will go through a desensitization process - this is standard with all of my sessions and an important step I never skip. The lights are bright and do make noise when they flash, which for some dogs can be very nerve-wracking. Going through a desensitization process at the beginning of the session allows for your dog to acclimate to the light and sound before being tasked to perform any tricks or pose for a photo. As always, if you have any burning questions, you are more than welcome to contact me via the form below. I will be more than happy to answer any questions you have!