My Pet is Not Well Trained, Can We Get Photos?

I often talk to pet owners who tell me they are waiting to book a photography session until their pet is older and more well-trained. For some reason, people genuinely believe that their dog must have perfect obedience!

Honestly, it comes from embarrassment. People often worry their pet will enter my photo studio and act like a fool. Worse, they won’t get any cute photos.

I’m here to tell you just how wrong that is! Pet photos are for everybody and most pets (yes, even yours) can have great images.

Treat Catching Pet Photos in Colorado

Sitting for the Camera is Boring

I always try to get a handful of charismatic “traditional” portraits, but the more I do this, the more interested I am in seeing pets move and have fun during their photo session.

This often means that after spending some time conditioning your pet (more on this below) to the camera and studio lighting, I’m using treats, praise, and play to get them excited about things.

Treat-catching photos are some of my favorites! Dogs don’t need to be well-trained and perfectly obedient for those…they have to like treats. That’s it.

The Best Photos Happen When Dogs Are Being Dogs

Think about your pet as they live in your home.

Do they sit obediently at all times? Or do they chase balls, stick their noses into things, and run toward you with their tongue hanging out?

All I need from your pet is that they are comfortable being on my photography set, and interested in interacting with me. They don’t need to sit and look pretty. They don’t even need to stay on the set!

99% of the best photos come from only a few minutes of photography. The rest of the time is spent teaching your dog that being there is the best thing they could be doing that day.

This photo below is from when I pulled out the bubbles for Nutzo. For a brief moment, he drew his interest towards this novel thing and I captured one of my favorite images.

Nutzo isn’t sitting politely and looking at the camera, and that’s ok. He had a hard time staying on the set! Instead, in this photo, he’s being a dog. Curious about the world. I love the details in his whiskers and his chin (you know, that spot our dogs love to have scratched).

What Does a Pet Photo Session Look Like?

I’ll go into more detail about the process in another blog post, but it looks like this:

Once you’ve entered the studio with your pet, they will be allowed off-leash. You will supervise them to avoid any potty accidents, but otherwise they are free to roam and check things out!

While they are exploring, we will choose your backdrop colors and I will set our first choice up. Depending on your pet, I may interact with them, or I may leave them alone. For some dogs, I may surprise them with a bonus treat so they learn to associate me with good things!

Every pet is different.

Once I have the paper backdrop set and the lighting ready, I’ll trigger my flash to go off. As soon as I do this, your dog will receive a treat. After several repetitions, most dogs realize that the flash = treats and begin looking for them. It is at this point that your pet has begun to associate the paper backdrop and the flash with good things!

20+ minutes in and I still will not have asked your pet to sit, stay, or be obedient!

This photo below is of a red setter pup (he was young and wild and so much fun) who gave me this toothy grin in a split moment of focus where he was waiting for the flash to go off again.

Sit and Stay is For The End

Once I’ve spent some time getting your pet into their photo session with treats, praise, and play, most of them get tired and start to settle in.

It is at that point when I can get the classic sitting photos. But that’s never the focus, and I don’t need your pet being perfect for their session.

Bring me your wild dogs!

Interested in booking a pet photo session in my Studio? I’m looking for dogs of all ages and kinds to visit me in Lakewood, Colorado. $150 books your spot and I promise to make the entire process easy and fun!

Use the menu above to see my portfolio and session information, contact me directly to book or ask questions, or use my handy-dandy online booking page!

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My Pet is Not Well Trained, Can We Get Photos?

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