Oh how I love dogs! They add such an element of serendipity to every photography session which I find exciting and fun. Anyone who knows me knows that I am also a big fan of dogs. I firmly believe that they are a part of a family, so they are always welcome to any family photography session or senior portrait session I shoot. In fact, I’ve even had brides include their dogs in their wedding photography! I’ve had experience with photographing dogs over the years, so here are some of my tips for including dogs in photo sessions.
Tips for Including Dogs in Photo Sessions
Whenever a family shows up with a dog I am sure to greet the dog first, then ignore it while I greet the rest of the family. I don’t want to give too much attention to the dog right away… I already know I have a limited time with it looking at me, and I need that time spent looking at me when I have my camera ready!
Family Photos First
First I start out with the family. I get them warmed up first and get them used to the camera. While I am photographing them, the dog either stays with me or is tended to by another family member. I let the kids run around and play and get used to me taking their pictures.
Give 100% Attention to the Dog
When it’s time to include the pup, I let the other people know that all of my attention is going to the dog and they need to pay attention to me. Even if I am not making eye contact with them, they will need to listen to my directions. This allows me to concentrate keeping the dog’s attention by holding a treat, calling the dog’s name and getting it into position. The family is often shocked by how well their puppy behaves.
Speed is Key
I take pictures of really quickly! Once the dog is in position I may shoot 15 images in less than a minute. After I feel like I’ve got at least one good image, I will let the dog go wander a little bit and then will set up for the next shot. The key is speed. Those inquisitive, happy looks a dog can get are fleeting. Once my camera and I are no longer interesting, it’s hard to keep the pup’s interest. That’s why I try to be as fast as possible.
Everyone Loves Treats!
A variety of treats is one of my best tools in getting dogs to look at me during photos. It’s funny, as I’m holding up the treat the people tend to look toward it too. Maybe I should bring treats for toddlers to family photography sessions, too!
Dogs are our family, too and I firmly believe that all members of the family should be remembered in family photography sessions. If you are interested in a seriously fun photography session, please make sure to get in touch. I can’t wait to meet you, your family, and any furry four legged friends you decide to bring along!