It happens nearly every time I do pet photos. Human and canine enter the room and within a few seconds human will say “I don’t know how you’re going to do this because [insert dog name here] isn’t very well behaved.” The statement is laden with shame and embarrassment, and is a tactical move – as if acknowledging it up front will somehow soften the harsh judgement that is certainly forthcoming from the photographer. Here’s what I want you to know: You’re not a bad person because your dog won’t sit! And I’m still going to make a great photograph!
If it offers any comfort, you should know that MOST dogs behave the way yours does. Consider their perspective: they are coming into a new environment that is filled with all sorts of delicious dog smells. They are meeting people they’ve never met before. And they are surrounded by scary electronic equipment that makes noises and flashes. I wouldn’t sit either! It is completely natural for dogs to want to run around and explore and sniff and evaluate. So we allow time for that. We know that after a little while this will allow the pup to focus on modeling. For some dogs it takes just a few minutes, and for others it can take longer. I’ll wait. I’ll use some of my time-tested tricks and noises and treats and whatever it takes to help [insert dog name here] look his or her best. And no matter how long it takes I won’t judge you!
Want to walk into your session with more confidence? Here are a few tips to help you prepare for great pet photos:
~Do some training with [insert dog name here] before the photo session. If [insert dog name here] wasn’t at the top of his/her obedience class, practice sit and stay a couple of times each day for a few days before the pictures. Use treats or toys or both as rewards. I am continually amazed at how quickly dogs can learn, and just a few training sessions will make a world of difference in front of the camera.
~Take [insert dog name here] for a walk before the photo session. If he/she has had some exercise [insert dog name here] will be happier and more relaxed. A walk for them is like a massage or a drink for us – it takes the edge off. If your dog has expended some energy on a walk he/she will have less to spend on reacting to all the stimuli that the photo area can present. Practice the sit and stay commands while you walk and you’ll really be helping!
~“OMG, there’s something attacking my head!!!” If you want [insert dog name here] to wear a costume or clothes or a hat, let him/her wear it before the shoot. A dog’s instincts tell him/her that something on his/her head is a threat and should be removed as soon as possible. Help [insert dog name here] understand that this thing on his/her head is not a threat and leaving it there leads to treats. He/she will be sporting a chapeau as often as possible! And the photos will be great!
~Relax! Know that we’re going to get great photos of your dog and that we’re not going to assess your intelligence, parenting skills, or character based on how [insert dog name here] behaves in the time we spend together. Come in ready to work with us to help [insert dog name here] be as comfortable as possible, and that will make for some terrific photos.
So really, it’s going to be alright. Your dog will not be the worst model I’ve ever met. I promise. Come…relax…have fun…and help us make great pictures.
For more information about booking a private photo session for your dog visit the Pricing page on my website.