What to expect at your Pet Photography session

August 13, 2021  •  4 Comments

What should you expect if you are doing a pet photography session with VP Shoots Photography?  Well, for sure, it should be fun!  That's probably one of the most frequent comments we get from people when we do a pet photography session.  If it's not fun for all involved, then the photographs probably will not show your pet's best side.   Other comments I have heard include "I had no idea what all was involved!" or "I truly gained an appreciation of what you do and the patience you have. Amazing!"

In order to make writing this blog post easier, I will refer to your fur baby (babies) as dogs - but they might be some other type of animal.  Most of the time it is a dog, but not always! I always ask for an hour of time to work with you and your fur baby.

Step 1 - Introductions

The first step is a little meet and greet.  Often times it is the first time that we have met face to face especially if we are photographing a rescue dog for one of the local rescues.  We typically get out a little bit of our camera gear and come meet you and your dog.  If your dog is shy or timid, then at first we will focus our attention on you - the humans - and let your dog get more comfortable with us and all that stuff we have!

Step 2 - Dog meets camera

Once we have completed the meet and greet, it's time for us to get an idea of how your dog reacts to a camera.  First, I will take a few photographs of the area to see how it looks on camera.  Gives the dog a few minutes to see what is going on, but still not be a part of the action. 

Early in my pet photographing years with rescue dogs I had a beagle that was afraid of the camera.  I sat down, put my camera down - and with permission from the foster parent, I put a dog treat on my camera and waited for the beagle to come check it out.  This went on for a good 5 minutes.  At this point, the beagle trusted me enough to allow for photographs to be taken.  For this senior girl, I used open shade - I already knew that this dog wasn't going to handle any fancy lighting.

Sweetie - a senior beagleSweetie - a senior beagleSweetie a senior beagle poses for the camera

In some cases, I will use natural light and in others I will bring in artificial lighting - this depends on a number of things including your dog, what your dog can handle and what the lighting looks like.  Overall, these are determining factors that will help to make great portraits of your dog.

Step 3 - Dog becomes model

An important step as we begin is to confirm what motivates your dog - food, toys, noises? If it's food, confirming there are no allergies or using your treats. The next step after the dog has gotten some time to settle in and we have got our location (or at least the first location) chosen - it's time to get your dog into the location for photographs.  In the case of dogs, they are much like young children.  Short attention span, work fast and then change things up a bit.  Giving the dog a break every 10 minutes or so to do what dogs do (sometimes potty, sometimes love, others just take a break and move around).

Then we will continue to work with your dog over the course of about 30 minutes to capture various different photographs and show them off.  

Trooper was a rescue dog with Maxx and Me Pet Rescue back in 2019 - he was adopted a few weeks after we completed his photographs.  This young dog had been hit by a car and was taken in by Maxx and Me Pet Rescue, given the care he needed and healed.  He was named Trooper by the rescue because that name fit him so well - he was a 'Trooper' and did wonderful with his photo session with us.  Trooper's foster mom had this wonderful bench on the back patio area - we setup the bench in hopes that Trooper would be willing to sit on it for us.

Setting for dog photography sessionSetting for dog photography sessionPhotography setting for a dog portrait

As it was, Trooper had zero issues sitting up on the bench and hanging out while we took photographs of him!

Dog sitting on a benchDog sitting on a benchDog sitting on a bench for photography session

As the sun got lower in the sky, we decided to change things up and let Trooper stand up for a few photographs.

Dog standing by lakeDog standing by lakeDog posing in a stand position by lake

After this beautiful photograph, we called it a wrap and just played with Trooper for a little bit while talking with his foster mom.  What a great personality this boy had considering all that he had been through in his young life!

A couple of key points to keep in mind

1) Your dog will be a dog - don't worry if they aren't the best behaved, tend to wander off, have to go potty, whatever might be the case

2) Human parents need to relax and enjoy this whole process - your fur child will know if you're anything but that

3) We have patience - and we don't book sessions close together so time is not typically an issue, if your dog needs more time - we have the time to give them

Don't forget to check out the previous week's blog post about getting prepared to for your dog photography session.  Here's the link. We also put together this little cheat sheet on our website that might help if you're considering getting professional pet photographs. Click here

Interested in a Pet Photography Session?

If you would like to discuss or book a custom pet portrait session, send an email to [email protected] or give us a call/text Linda at 813-610-2671 in the Tampa Bay area (Hillsborough/Pinellas/Pasco/Polk counties in Florida).  We have flexible rates and packages to fit most everyone’s budget as we believe that having wonderful photographs of your pet is important to so many people.

Blogging with Pet Photographers

This is a personal project that I try to participate in each week (as much as possible).  This post is part of a 'blog circle' which is with several other Professional Pet Photographers around the world.  Each week a different theme is provided to the group and we, as pet photographers, interpret the theme in our own way.  Follow the link provided at the end of each of my blogs to the next pet photographer's blog - and when you arrive back at my blog - you've completed the entire circle of blogs for this theme.  For more pet photographers sharing their take on this theme, head over to Elaine Tweedy of I Got the Shot Photography explains the nuances of a pet photography session in the beautiful Endless Mountains of PA.




Trooper is so adorable
I love that you told a story with each piece of your session puzzle. That bench was adorable!
Angela Schneider(non-registered)
"Your dog will be a dog." AMEN! We should all want our dogs to be dogs for their photo shoots. It's kind of silly to expect perfect behavior and then try to express the personality we all know and love about our dogs.
Terri Jankelow(non-registered)
I love that description of the shy beagle and how you left a treat on your camera! It's a great way to handle those really shy dogs!
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