ALLLL THE PUPPIES. I absolutely love when they join my shoots. The waggly tails. Kisses. I’m for it. I don’t actually have a dog of my own so I live vicariously through my clients. But what’s the best way to incorporate them into your session? This is one of the top questions I get asked each year. Like anything else there is a lot of wisdom in planning to make it the best experience for not only you but also your fur babe. I’ve discovered a few keys for success!
1. Take your dog’s personality into account. Is she really anxious around strangers? A little nervous with a lot going on? Probably avoid busy downtown areas for your session. In large populated spots there are cars, moving lights, traffic noises, other people and animals. It’s an environment you can’t control and isn’t best left up to chance. An uncomfortable dog will translate to your images. Are they aggressive with other animals? Choose a more secluded area and not a main park where there might be tons of other pups present. The key is to get your dog comfortable and if there are a lot of triggers they won’t get there. You need to be realistic with expectations and do what you can to set them up for success! Only you know their temperament in that way.
2. Do you want your dog in all of the pictures or just a small portion? If we’re in the woods we can often put your leash around a tree a couple of feet from where we’re shooting but I often recommend having a ‘pup handler’ who can hold your babe or take them home once they’re done! Anyone from your best friend to your mom is welcome to join us. Many people tend to bring their dogs along for the very beginning of their session. That way they can be fully present with their dog straight out of the gate and then be warmed and ready to go for the rest of the shoot.
3. How is the weather? Just like you preparing for a scorching hot shoot with ice water and snacks- it’s super important to do the same with pets. Lots of owners will bring a collapsable water bowl, small cooler with treats and keep their dog in the car ac for as long as possible. Choosing your location for the season is key as well. For example, during a steamy, summer day sidewalks can burn paws. In that case I’d opt for a more grassy place like a park, trail or wooded area. Their safety is my #1!
4. What kind of pictures do you want with your dog? Choose a setting that aids the vibe you’re dreaming up. If you’re hoping for them to be able to freely run around, play with you and doing happy dog things- outdoorsy locations tend to work best. Think lakes and lowly populated parks where you can hop in the water and throw a ball. Just want to a few with you looking at the camera? Then location doesn’t play as big of a factor. Also, there’s not shame in bribery. Bring lots of treats, toys and be prepared for things to move a little slower whole they adjust to my camera.
There ya have it! Hopefully that helps you feel prepared for the next time you want to hop in front of the camera with your furry friend. Is there anything you would add? Can’t wait to love on all the doggos this year 😘