If you are like me your dogs are your life, you couldn't dream of any family, engagement, or wedding photos without them. After having two puppies of my own for the last year and multiple years of having four-legged friends tag along on shoots I have learned a few tricks to help you for your shoot!
1. Bribe a friend(s) and/or family with beer or food.
Ask someone that you and your dogs know and trust. For our family photos this year I asked my parents to come along, Indy & Bossley are obsessed with them and they were the key to getting great shots! While it's important to have dog caregivers during the photos you take with your pets, their most important role will be taking your dog(s) away or to another area when you are done taking photos with them. Dogs have an even shorter attention span than children and in my experience dogs take their best photos in the first 7 minutes. So call your friends and family and get ready to bribe them with beer and food, you'll be glad you did!
2. Prepare your Dog(s)
Help your dog to burn off some energy before the shoot. Take them on a hike, walk, to the dog park, or daycare prior to your shoot, this will help them sit, stay, or lay down, and generally relax during the session. I always talk to Indy & Bossley and explain what's going to happen (must be all my years in childcare) I let them know the night before what we are doing, and what I want from them. Not sure if they understand or even care, but Indy (our great dane/black lab mix) really always seems to respond as if she understands. It's also important to prepare them with whatever they are going to be wearing (now I don't just mean cloths!) Make sure they have had several walks or hikes with the harness, collar or leader you want them to wear in photos. put your dog(s) in the best position to succeed. Just as it's important for you to wear comfortable cloths, the same goes for your dog(s).
3. Pick a place they know
When choosing a location for your photoshoot make sure you pick a place that your dogs know well. Maybe it's a park you often go to, or maybe it's just the backyard. Try to pick an area where other dogs aren't going in close proximity to you. Often times you can consult your photographer to help choose a location where they aren't a lot of distractions around you such as a quiet wooded area, or a large field. If your dogs are going to be off leash for the photos make sure you that you have performed this feat before and that the dog(s) can be trusted in this environment.
4. Bring treats
Treats are a great way to get our pets to listen to commands and stay engaged. I know Indy & Bossley have done great with consistent treat and pats. Also if you have treats that you can fill with peanut butter or something that can occupy them for a little longer than a Milk Bone this can help to encourage the results and behavior that you want.
This could seem so basic, but your pet feeds off your energy, just like children they aren't going to relax into situations where they aren't comfortable. Most professional cameras shoot 7+ frames per second, which means if you can get your dog(s) to sit for ONE second - we've done our job! If they know you are anxious or getting frustrated with them they won't give us the desired results. Enjoy the process, the love a fur-parent has their dog(s) is beautiful - let it shine through in your photo shoot and you'll both enjoy the process ; )
5. Reward them afterwards
Make sure you reward your dog(s) after the photo shoot, take them to the dog park or give them a peanut-butter filled Kong. You know their favorite treats and activities. People always ask me how I get Indy & Bossley to sit and pose for me so much, and it's simple. They know that if they do what Mommy is asking they will be rewarded in fun and tasty ways.
there are no rules, or great nuggets of wisdom when it comes to taking their photos... sometimes they let you...sometimes they don't.
We can't wait to see you for your next photoshoot!
Enjoy some recent snaps of Indy & Bossley @TheKayPack #TheKayPack