Including Your Dog In A Photoshoot

First of all, I love animals and I'm more than happy to involve them in your shoot. If you are thinking about bringing your dog to your photoshoot it is very important to talk to your photographer first. There are actually many different things that both you and the photographer need to think about when involving your furry friend.

I believe that pets are just as much a member of your family as anyone else but here are some of the things you need to consider...

  • No matter how well behaved your dog is, an outing is a very exciting thing for them and for some, it isn't something that occurs every day. This can make your pooch extra bouncy, excited and listening can be a bit more of a challenge.
  • How does your dog normally behave around strangers? If your dog hasn't met your photographer before, you need to consider if the way they normally behave around strangers could impact your photographer. I'm talking about things like injuries or equipment damage.
  • If you want to bring your dog on a location shoot it is important to either choose a location that you go to regularly with your dog, or to arrive quite early before the shoot. New and exciting smells can be quite distracting for your fur baby.
  • Some of my regular locations are nature reserves which don't allow dogs because of the native wildlife.
  • Treats are essential. Even dogs who haven't had much training before can be very responsive to treats which will be helpful for both the family and the photographer to help get those shots you want.
  • Make sure there is the option to tie up your dog, just in case things aren't going exactly to plan to help avoid disappointment. It doesn't matter if it's adults and dogs or children and dogs, they can be quite distracting. Children are often drawn to whatever the dog is doing and less likely to be looking at the camera. Adults can be equally distracted by the dog and their dog's behaviour. The more people in the shoot, the more likely it is that one or more people are looking at whatever the dog is doing. So, if you want a mixture of shots where everyone is looking at the camera as well as ones with the dog it's good to have options. You can purchase pegs that go in the ground that are relatively inexpensive.
  • Does the location have other dogs/wildlife? This can be another source of distraction for your dog too, so it's just something to think about.

The best shoots I've done involving dogs have been in a familiar place to the dog or at home where they are most comfortable. If this is something you're considering, talk to your photographer. You'll find that not all photographers allow animals in shoots, or that they have plenty of experience and are happy to help give you tips and advice and help you to include your furry family member.