WHY SHOULD I BOOK A PET PHOTOSHOOT?
Our pets are precious, be they a horse, dog, cat or a budgerigar. They teach us compassion, understanding and most importantly give us a boost when we feel down. Traits that quickly see them earn them their own branch on our family tree.
Although, pets are more than just a source of support and entertainment – they get us active, both physically and socially. It’s often rumoured that dog ownership increases your chances of finding love, just as owning a cat gives you 10 more IQ points (I see you blushing).
So, what with our pets doing SO much for us, it’s only right that we return the favour – right? If you’re after a unique way to do so, then putting them in the spotlight on their very own pet photography shoot could be just what you’re looking for.
WHAT HAPPENS ON A PET PHOTOSHOOT?
Fun, fun… and the odd pose here and there, but mostly fun.
Pet photography with me is all about capturing both your pet’s character and charm. One of the reasons I prefer to take my pet-related shoots on location. It’s out in the open where we’ll catch your four-legged friend being their most natural – the secret behind the best pet portraiture.
On the day of the shoot I’ll be chasing two shots in particular: portraits and action shots. A portrait could be your dog sitting on command and giving puppy eyes to the camera (cute!). Whereas an action shot could be your horse mid gallop or your rabbit poised for their next hop.
As their family, you’re also a HUGE part of their life so I’d always encourage you to star in some of their photographs too. If you ask me, pet photography that captures the relationship between you and your pet tends to be some of the most magical. Saying that, this is your pet’s day, so don’t try and steal their spotlight. Besides, they’ve earned it.
*If you’ve got an idea that doesn’t involve a shoot on location, I do also have a studio we can use, or we could even hold the shoot at your house if you’re after pictures with a more homely vibe.
WHEN SHOULD I BOOK MY PET PHOTOGRAPHY?
To establish when to book your pet photoshoot, you first need to narrow down the type of images you’re after. Do you prefer more candid shots or something more posed? Do you want them to be bright or atmospheric? And what’s your thoughts on location?
Once you’ve established this, we can target specific times of day and weather conditions to ensure your shots meet, and hopefully exceed your expectations. While usually pet shoots fall during the day, I’d encourage you not to rule out sunsets. Not only do they add a bit more drama to your photos but they’re also perfect for silhouettes.
Booking 12 weeks in advance is my usual advice, especially if you’re after a certain date or time. But that’s not to say that last minute bookings are impossible – in some cases they can fit in rather well. Only I wouldn’t rely on this being the case as I don’t like to disappoint.
*If your pet is heavily pampered, it’s never a bad idea to book your shoot around their grooming schedule or if they’re a horse, a quiet period in their racing calendar.
PET PHOTOGRAPHY: YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
How do I make my dog smile for pictures?
Expressions are what add personality to your pet’s pictures, so it’s good to know how to unlock their smile.
The easiest way to do so is catch your dog when they’re relaxed; a hyper dog only ups the difficulty. Then simply tell them to ‘smile’. A high pitched voice typically works best, similar to that you’d use when talking to a baby.
Do this a few times until you see them smile. And when you do, reward them with a treat. Repeat this a couple of times, not going overboard with the treats of course, and there you have it. Your dog’s shoot ready!
What if I have two pets? Can I get both in my pet photography?
One hundred percent!
In fact, this is a popular option. So even if you wanted me to photograph three, four or five of your pets in the same shoot, I’d be more than happy – that’s providing they’d all behave of course.
*If this is something you’re interested in, it’s worth baring in mind that having more than one model may affect the length of the shoot.
I can’t think where’d be a good location - any suggestions?
I’ve a list of ‘go-to’ spots that I use on a regular basis, so if you’re struggling you needn’t worry.
Saying that, if you’re not fond of doing your pet photography on location and would rather me come direct to you, I can do that too. If this is more what you’re thinking, I would ask you to send me a picture of your garden first, just so I know what I’m working with.
My dog needs to stay on their leash - is a pet photoshoot still an option for me?
Yes! Yes! Yes!
We can get some of the best shots while your dog’s on their leash, especially if you’re willing to be a model too.
Picture this: you stood candidly in the background holding back your dog who’s pulling just ever so slightly on their leash. Meanwhile I’m down low at your dog’s level catching them in the foreground, smiling towards my camera.
But, if you’d rather not star in the shots, I can always using my editing wizardry to take the lead out completely. The choice is yours.
Our pet’s ‘not the best’ around new people. Could this affect the quality of our shots?
While this could slow down your photoshoot, it certainly won’t stop it. If it’d ease them on the day, I’d happily come and meet them before the shoot. Besides, it’d be a good time for us to discuss locations as well.
My pet has health issues. Does this make a pet photography a ‘No No’?
Quite the opposite – it makes it a ‘Yes Yes’!
If this is the case I’ll do my very best to accommodate an early shoot. And while this may influence the location or type of shot we’re able to achieve, it certainly won’t stop us getting some characterful shots of your companion in their best light.
It’s not sunny - will it affect my shots?
Yes. But not necessarily in a bad way.
Dark clouds can be very atmospheric, so can fog and even rain. In fact catching your pet in the rain, splashing through a puddles is great way to vary up your shots. How many dogs do you see emerging out of fog?
Plus, if the sun does decide to show itself after a shower, we can make full use of it and capture their glistening coat, as well as that moment they shake themselves dry.
Do I need to bring anything to my pet photoshoot?
While it’s not essential, I would advise bringing some treats. They work wonders for encouraging your pet to be good poser, as well as giving them an incentive to be active – what we want if we’re looking to get some dynamic action shots.
Their favourite toy’s another good thing to bear in mind, especially if it squeaks. With toys like this, it usually just takes is a couple of squeaks to have them running straight for my camera. Bullseye.
Does pet photography include horses? I’m after some equestrian shots.
Pet photography with me definitely includes horses – they’re one of my favourite animals! So majestic in the way they move and such a joy to photograph, especially if you agree to do a few laps of the paddock so I can get some action shots.
What do I need to wear to my pet photoshoot?
This is completely up to you, although I do have some advice.
Keep it minimalistic. This is your pet’s time in the spotlight, so avoid any garish neon colours, intricate patterns or ostentatious logos that could steer the attention away from them. A stylish jumper and some trousers usually does the job. If you choose a rural location, a pair of wellingtons can also be a good option.
It’s my dog’s birthday. Can we ramp up my pet photography up a notch?
We certainly can.
If it’s your dog’s special day, we can turn their pet photoshoot into a cake smash for no extra charge! Now I must stress this would be using a dog-friendly cake (don’t want any upset stomachs), which I would have specially made for your shoot.
If you like the sound of this added quirk, do let me know when you’re booking as it may affect the date of your shoot.
Would my pet photograph better if they were groomed or left natural?
I’ll leave this ball in your court, as it depends on your pet specifically.
Personally, I’d say in the case of most dog breeds and certainly with horses, grooming will enhance your pet photography. If you’re not sure, you may want to schedule your shoot a couple of weeks after they’ve been groomed so they’re looking well looked after but not overly prim and proper.
How many shots can I expect from a pet photography shoot?
Lots. On a typical shoot I can take a couple of hundred images. How many you receive depends on the package that you opt for, how many poses we try out and how picture friendly our model is.