Tips on How to Prepare Your Dog for a Photo Shoot

Tips on How to Prepare Your Dog for a Photo Shoot

There are a number of ways you can help ensure that your photographer can capture some great images of your beloved fur baby. There are a number of things you can do, both before and during your session as well that will get you and your dog ready. Below are some general tips that will help you and your canine companion get ready for the shoot.


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Preparing your Dog for their Session

  • Choose a location your dog is familiar and comfortable with. If your dog is very nervous or shy, your home may be the best option. Only choose a studio session, if you feel your dog will do well in a new environment.
  • For the weeks coming up to your session, work with your dog on sit/stay commands. Use positive reinforcement and practice daily in short intervals (10-15 minutes).
  • Plan to take your dog for a good walk about an hour before the shoot.
  • Don’t feed your dog a full meal before a shoot; otherwise they will be less alert and most likely in the mood for a nap.
  • Only bring treats if your dog is food driven and you don’t think they will respond otherwise. We like to try not to use treats, as dogs can become fixated on them and may also salivate more than usual; not so nice in photos 😉  PLEASE NOTE: If doing a session at my home studio, please do not bring treats. Treats will be provided if needed.
  • Your dog should be bathed two days before and brushed out the day before. You know how your dog will look his or her best, but if you do choose to have your dog trimmed, we recommend you have that done a week before the sitting rather than on the same day in case the cut is too short, or not exactly what you expected. This allows a little time to grow out. A grooming and portrait session on the same day can also be a lot of stress for many dogs.
  • If you are doing an in-studio session, please be sure to trim your dog’s nails to avoid and scratches or damage to furniture, props, or flooring.
  • Bring a toy or two that your dog loves!
  • Bring plenty of water so your dog does not get overheated while on location.
  • A few days before your session practice with your dog and hold them in long Sit and Stay positions.
  • Slobber rags are a great idea, if you have a dog that tends to be a little messy when excited 😉
  • If you opt for a location that requires leashes, try to bring a very thin 4-6 foot simple leash (like a show leash), since it is thin enough that removing the leash in post-processing is much easier. If you don’t have one, don’t worry; I always carry a few with me. Avoid bright colors, or thick collars and leashes.
  • Your tone of voice and body language translate very effectively to your dog and their mood. Use compassionate authority. Never discipline or yell at your dog during a session, this will only increase their anxiety. With soothing talk, positive reinforcement and patient repetition, your dog will eventually figure out what you want him to do.
  • Please make us aware of any aggression issues your dog may have so that we can be sensitive to those concerns. We understand that some dogs have special needs; aggression, anxiety, fear of new things, nervousness/timidity, etc., but we will discuss all of these issues in the pre-shoot consultation.

We want you and your dog to enjoy the experience and get wonderful pieces of art for your home! Please contact me with any other questions you may have.

Call or email today to book your session!