Pet photography Tips & Tricks

Great Dane dog looking off camera on white background.

9 tips and tricks for photographing even the wiggliest of dogs

Worried that your dog is not trained well enough for a photo shoot? Just about all my clients think that they have the one dog that is too wild or shy to have a successful photo shoot. They are worried that they will be embarrassed by their dogs shenanigans or will waste their precious time and money.
Hopefully this list will put your mind at ease and you will feel as confident as I am that I can capture wall-worthy images of your dog, too!

1. Dedicated photo studio
I have a pet photography studio in San Luis Obispo that is dedicated to creating the perfect environment for you and your dog. In this controlled space, you can set your worries aside. If your dog is distracted by the typical hustle and bustle of everyday life (not to mention other people and animals!) then you will love the distraction free setting. Your dog can be off leash with no worries about anyone doing a runner! Bonus: I even have a playlist with calming music!

2. Time is on our side
Depending on their personality, some dogs will be more or less eager to participate in a photo shoot. And that’s okay! I mean, very likely, this is their first time doing this. People are typically nervous to have their photos taken so why should our dogs be any different? I never worry about if we will get great images, I know it’s just a matter of when. That’s why I only schedule one photo shoot in the morning and one in the afternoon. I make sure that we have just the right amount of time to help each dog adjust to the environment to ensure we capture pet portraits that you will be thrilled to hang on the walls of your home.

3. Patience is a virtue
This might just be the most important characteristic and the one that separates a professional pet photographer from the rest of the pack (pun intended!). Dogs pick up on our energy and if we become stressed or anxious, they know it. Fortunately, I have a deep well of patience. From wild and wiggly to tentative and timid, I know that each dog showing up for their photo shoot will be different and it’s my job to meet them where they are.

4. There’s an app for that
Does your dog tilt his head in the most adorable way when you say a certain word? For my girl Rosie there are a few words that stop her in her tracks. Treat, dinner, breakfast…hmmm, I’m sensing a theme here. For other dogs, they might jump for joy when you say walk. Or mention their best dog friend and their ears lift like antennae (So cute!). Even if your dog doesn’t have a favorite word, don’t fret. I have at my disposal an arsenal of noise making devices, including an app that is sure to help train your dogs attention on me and my camera. It might not be for long, but I will be ready!

5. Elevating the experience
Have you ever noticed that your dog likes to walk on a path or will amble along a line in the road? Rosie does this all the time. Similarly, getting dogs or puppies just a little bit off the floor is a great technique for helping them to stay in place for their photo shoot. I have a variety of cool props for this very reason. The props can be hidden under a backdrop or become part of the scene depending on what type of pet portrait we are aiming to create for you.

6. Another reason? You!
I talk about this elsewhere, but being in a few of the photos with your pet is something that I highly recommend. No pressure, of course! Your pet is special, most certainly, and so is the relationship that is unique to the two of you. Those images might just become your most prized possession in the years to come. But I digress … another benefit to being in the photos with your wiggly dog? They are less wiggly when you are right there with them, helping them along.

7. Photoshop anyone?
I never tire of the magic of Photoshop. Do you know how many tools there are to remove a leash (not to mention drool?) Thankfully, so many! It takes time and expertise, but it’s always good to know that  popping a leash on a dog is an option if it helps them to feel secure and to stay still.

8. I’ve walked a mile in your shoes
My dog can do some tricks. Spin, roll over, back up. So fun and cute! But exercising her on a leash is where I really have to, exercise, my patience. One of these days we will work on this, but, for now, my very determined dog sets the oh-so-slow pace with much stopping to read the sniffs. All this is to say that most of us don’t have perfectly trained dogs, myself included. Did I tell you about the time my dog Zac peed on a stranger’s leg? No? I’ll save that for another time, over a cup of coffee. For now, you just need to know that my photo studio is a no judgement zone when it comes to training.

9. The pet photography consult
Before arriving for your pet’s photo shoot, we will have had a chat so that I can learn what you love most about your pet. I’ll also ask a series of easy questions that will help me to provide you and your dog with the best possible service and outcome. Of course, I’m also very happy to answer any questions you may have so you can relax and enjoy the experience!

Now that you’ve read a little about my tips and tricks for helping all sorts of dogs have fun and successful photo shoots, I hope you won’t let your pet’s wiggly nature deter you from being in touch. I would be honored to be your pet photographer. Click on the button below to schedule a no obligation phone consultation.