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How to prepare for your pet photography session

September 4, 2016

Here are some tips to make sure your pet is prepared for their photo session. All of the following recommendations are completely optional so don't feel obligated to do them, and if you have questions feel free to give me a call on 07905607499 or email martyn@aspphotography.net.

 

What to do in the run up.

One of the first things I recommend is having your pet groomed a week or so beforehand. Mainly for dogs I appreciate but it can apply to any animal that can be groomed. It is best for your dog to have a clean but natural looking appearance so I recommend grooming far enough in advance that it doesn't look too unnatural. The timescale depends entirely on how often this is done normally and the look you wish your animal to have. Again if grooming is not something you normally do then don't do it, it is your pet and they should look like they do. It's just something to consider. However, if your dog has long fur we do recommend trimming fur around the eyes before the session. I wouldn't want to hide their distinctive twinkle!

 

I also recommend working a bit on your dog's training the week before the session. This only applies if your dog is actually trained. Mainly just review sit and stay and practice it a bit but feel free to let me know anything they can do that would make a good shot. If your dog is not well trained do not worry at all. To be honest most dogs I work with are not perfectly trained, and some are not trained at all.

 

On the day

For those dogs with a high energy level, I suggest taking your dog for a walk shortly before the session (nowhere muddy!). This allows them to run off some energy, and makes them a little easier to work with. You don’t want to exhaust them completely, as their personality and playfulness needs to shine through during the session but just enough so that they aren’t completely over the top when we start, and so we can capture the some quieter moments towards the end of our session. However with new people and new smells it is understandable that they are still likely to have a ton of energy and inquisitiveness when I start photographing.  

Another thing I recommend is to give your dog less food than usual the day of their pet portrait session. This could involve giving them half a bowl of food for dinner or just less throughout the day. If they are treat motivated this means your dogs are more likely to respond favourably at the session since they are hungry and want the treats. If your dog will do anything for treats then you can likely feed them normally the day of the session since they will still want the treats we are offering anyway.

 

What we need to know

What words, actions or things can be used in your session to achieve that excited, inquisitive or happy look from your pet?  Be sure to let me know what it is that gets your dog really excited so that I will have a trick or two up my sleeve during the session!! 

 

While I have a ready supply of 100% natural, healthy treats for use dur­ing our ses­sion, if there are treats that you know your pet loves. bring them along as that will guarantee a more receptive animal!! It is best that your pet does not know that you have brought treats with you as I will decide when during the session it’s the best time to bring them out. If your pet has any par­tic­u­lar food allergies or might react to different foodstuffs please ask me what treats I am currently using so you can decide if they are suitable for your pet.

 

What to Bring

There are some things you may want to bring to your pet's photography session. Feel free to bring anyone else who wishes to be in the photographs. Do you have a favourite collar for your pet? Do you love to dress your pet in a fabulous neckerchief or jacket that you have for them. If this is you, then bring those accessories for your pet along and we will incorporate them in the session to create a mixture of meaningful photos for you. In addition I recommend bringing the following:

  • Nice Properly Fitting Collar (important since this will likely be in most images)

  • Lead

  • Treats (optional)

  • Doggie Jacket (if it is colder out)

  • Favorite Outside Toys (optional but a good idea)

  • Most importantly your pet!!

Generally we will bring extras of all of the above as well, so if you forget anything or don't want to bring any of the above, then no worries. For the lead you will want to bring your own to transport your dog to and from the location. However, after that I will use a house line if possible which is easier to edit out in photos. I don’t bring toys for your pet as that would mean multiple animals all chewing the same thing! Plus the photo is about your animal and his or her favourite things, not about getting over excited at a new toy! I will however bring the following:

  • Extra lead

  • Various Treats

  • Water and Bowl

 

What you need to do on the day

 

Plan to arrive a few minutes early for your session. This will allow your pet time to meet me.  If it’s been a little bit of a car ride it also gives you a chance to take your dog for a little loo walk without it being during your session time. 

Your pet probably won’t behave perfectly for the whole session, if at all!  Your pet may not do exactly as you are wanting them to do.  It happens – pets are unpredictable and don’t take photography direction all too well!.  For most pets, professional photography is a new experience. Don’t worry that your pet is not performing as you feel they ought to or would normally do – it only takes me a fraction of a second to get THE shot.

And, therefore, try not to stress!  Our pets easily pick up on our stress, and most of the time it’ll rub of on them. So as much as possible, try to relax and enjoy the session.

 

All of the above are simply reccomendations and not absolutes. You must do what you are comfortable with and nothing more. The aim of the shoot is for everyone to be relaxed and happy and for us to get the best shots that are possible. If you have any queries at all please do not hesitate to contact me on 07905607499 or martyn@aspphotography.net

 

 

 

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