Getting photos of your pet should be a positive, fun experience for both of you.
The photographer you identify must be looking for that picture-perfect moment, able and looking to nail the personality, athleticism . . . or just his or her magical spirit. Ultimately, you should be the proud owner of an album you treasure.
WHERE TO BEGIN
Lindsay Hile of Sit, Stay, Pet Photography says a great pet photographer spends time getting to know you and your pet before shooting. Then they should take a wide variety of shots and try lots of different things . . . upping the chance of capturing amazing photos you’ll love.
LOCATION/LIFESTYLE VS IN-STUDIO
Some pet photographers work strictly in studio, often giving their work a signature look. Others shoot on site, either in your home or outdoor settings. Consider which will best suit your pet. Shy pets may shine best at home, while active, athletic companions show their true spirit — and therefore most shining selves — outdoors.
If you’d like an outdoor shoot, be sure to discuss it with prospective photographers. Do you want the shoot at your dog’s favorite park? Are the photos for holiday cards? Will people also be in the shots?
According to Hile, “The best backdrops are usually the simplest ones — free of distracting elements. This can mean a pretty forest or park setting, a cityscape, or interesting architecture. I put a lot of thought in the location and always scout different new spots for each shoot that's tailored for each dog.”
PREPARATION HELPS MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SHOOT
• Let your dog burn off some energy.
Hile says, “If your dog has a ton of energy, it’s a great idea to take them for a long walk beforehand so they won’t be too hyper during the photo shoot. Then make sure they’re clean and groomed the way you like best, remove any eye goop, and check to ensure it’s a collar you like.”
• Patience is key.
Brush up on basic commands – your pet’s readiness to sit, stay and down will really help!
“It's essential to keep the pet interested and his or her focus can be lost very quickly,” says Hile. “So it's necessary to try lots of different tactics to hold their interest. I have to keep in tune with the pet to make sure they’re having fun, otherwise I've lost them and even if I can get them to look at the camera, they don't look happy. Most of the pets I work with aren't super-well trained, so I have to work hard to keep them engaged.”
• Consider what toys, treats or even special person will make your dog comfortable.
• Show up with a good attitude and give lots of praise.
PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT...
Photographing working dogs in their element is hot. Dogs like Shepherds or Cowherds, search and rescue, mobility, guide dogs, companionship and K-9 police dogs are increasingly in the spotlight.
Even if yours is just a couch potato, hiking or work companion, the right photographer and setting will let your dog’s true colors shine!
Hile is seeing “lots of adorable accounts” on Instagram with dogs in human clothing against white backdrops. People love humanizing their animals!
As a Certified Vet Tech, longtime PR veteran and content marketing expert, Christy Caplan brings her unique understanding of social and digital media to connect dog lovers to brands both on and offline. She lives with three hounds – two Doxies and a Beagle/Basset Hound mix, who constantly teach her about life and companionship. Follow Christy atmylifewithdogspdx.com.