Dog photography isn't a largely talked about genre in the photography world. A lot of people didn't even know there were such people that specialized in dog and pet photography! I know...insanity right?! But hey, that's okay! We pet photographers are making our way up in the world and really making it known that we exist! So since we aren't a largely talked about genre, there's naturally a lot of questions that people have about it. I decided that for this blog post, I'd go to Instagram for the subject matter and ask my followers their questions about dog photography and what I do!
How do you get dogs to stay off leash?
What if I told you...they had their leashes on! (Insert dramatic gasp) I will be completely honest and tell you that 99.999999999% of the dogs I photograph have a leash on the entire shoot. It's just too risky to let the dogs off leash if the owners aren't completely sure the dog won't run off AND has an excellent recall. The safety of your dogs is my number one priority. So...where do those leashes go? Well, easy. I coach my clients on how to hold the leash for the session so that I can waive my magic photo editing wand and make that leash disappear! I would much rather spend a whole 3.7 seconds getting rid of the leash while editing than risk your dog bolting because you never know! Our Bella was an extremely well trained dog with a solid recall but if there was a rabbit...mom who? GONE.
My dog never listens. How do you get dogs to behave and look at the camera?
Oh boy if I had a dollar for every person that told me they would love professional pictures of their dogs but didn't want to spend money because they didn't believe their dogs would listen...I'd be opening my dog sanctuary on 500 acres of land TOMORROW. Most of the dogs I'm photographing have a normal amount of training. They know sit. And that's cool! I don't need a dog to be an award winning obedience champion. In fact, you could bring me a dog that doesn't know any commands. I use a mix of my dog training background and understanding of dog behavior with my secret technique. Wanna know what it is? Okay you twisted my arm. Noises. If you read that and made a face, I understand! But honestly, most dogs will respond to weird intriguing noises. If it doesn't get me a head tilt, it will certainly get them to look at me. And to be even more honest, most of my photos aren't posed. I just let the dog be a dog and have fun with it!
How do you come up with your reel ideas or video content?
I wish I could say that there is a well thought out science to this buuuuuut...it's actually really easy. For my reels/videos, I like to educate, show off and have fun! Some of my videos are tips and tricks on how to train your dog to do certain things whether it be basic commands or "show tricks". Other videos I like to feature real client products to give potential clients a look at some of the awesome artwork they can get at their ordering appointment! Or I will show off some behind the scenes of a beautiful location with my clients pups during the actual shoot! Then of course, having fun and doing what's trendy! Instagram Reels and TikTok are so fun and I'd really like to put out more content with those to do all of the above listed and so my followers can get to know me a little better!
Can you book a session for nervous dogs?
You 100% absolutely can! I have worked with nervous dogs, bite history dogs, aggressive dogs...you name it! As a trainer, I've been exposed to all kinds of different behavioral quirks with dogs and how to handle them and help them. So naturally, I can work with these sort of behaviors during photo sessions too! I always recommend calm and quiet locations where the chances of seeing another dog or person are pretty slim. If we should happen upon another person or pup, I immediately jump into action to advocate for your dog by asking that person to please keep their distance as my client's pup is nervous. That being said, I have zoom lenses that allow me to keep a distance from your dog myself. So if your dog isn't okay with a strange person shoving a giant lens in their face, it's no problem! The less stress for the dog the better!
How hard is it to photograph dogs?
No harder than it is to photograph anything else in my opinion. Each genre of photography has its difficulties here and there. Dogs are easy for me because of my training background and because I've always personally had dogs! Anyone could be a dog photographer, but if someone is coming into it with no experience with dogs it can be tricky with certain situations like dogs with anxiety. Like anything else, it takes learning and practice! I definitely am still learning all the time with dog training AND photography. Education never stops with those!
Do you allow humans in your dog photoshoots?
Yes! While my sessions primarily revolve around the dog I do encourage the owners to sneak into a few shots. We dog moms and dads take TONS of pictures of our pups on our phones regularly. We might grab a selfie with them here and there but it's really hard to capture the genuine interaction between a dog and their owner with a selfie. Having a tangible memory of how your dog looked at you or you and your dog playing their favorite game like fetch is priceless. It's not about having the perfect day to grab the most perfectly posed shot of you and your dog. It's about catching you and your dog in the moment like I'm not even there and you two are just on a day out.
Do you prefer digitals or prints?
I cannot stress enough the importance of getting prints! Yes, digitals are nice to have to share on social media for your aunt Barb in North Carolina. But what if social media disappeared? What if you drop your phone and it shatters into a million pieces? What if your computer finally gives out because it's been hanging with you since you started college? Technology fails. It fails way more than we like to think about. But you know what? Aunt Barb has photo albums on photo albums with every holiday and birthday neatly placed in her TV stand or book shelf from the last 20 years. I don't care what type of session you are doing whether it be from your wedding, a birthday smash cake session for your one year old, or your best fur friend...GET THE PRINTS. At the end of the day, you can't put a price on your most precious memories.