photos with pets

6 Tips On Taking Portraits With Pets

Have you ever had a client that wanted to include a family pet in their photos? It can be exciting because they can really turn out great and is a fun way to mis up the typical family or couple portrait... but it is important that you plan ahead and know what you are doing. Pets, kind of like children, can be very unpredictable when you are photographing them so we have a few tips that will make for an smooth session, amazing photos and a very happy client! 

Photo credit: Tracey Buyce Photography

Photo credit: Tracey Buyce Photography

1. Talk With the Client Ahead of Time

It is important with any session you are photographing to meet with your client ahead of time, especially when they are going to be including their family pet in the photograph. It is good to learn specifics about the pet before the day of in case you need to plan to do things a little differently than you normally would. For example, does the dog really hate being around someone who wears a hat? If you like wearing a hat while you are working, that is good to know so you do not wear one that day. Or, perhaps they get really hyper in the morning. If that is the case, it may be best to do the shoot in the late afternoon or evening when they are more calm. 

You also want to make sure you give them some tips for preparing their pet. If they want to have their long-haired dog groomed before the shoot, doing so at least 5 days before is best to help any potential shedding that could come along with the grooming. It is also a good idea to tell your client that they may want to take your pet (if it is a dog) on a long walk or run earlier in the day, so that they will be a little more tired than normal. 

It also may not be a bad idea to go a step further and plan a meeting with the client and their pet. If you feel like you should be around the pet to introduce yourself and get a better sense of how they act may be helpful for you. Make sure you know whether or not they will be including the pet in all of their photos or in just a few, that way you can both plan ahead and the family can have someone on hand to watch or take the dog home if needed. 

2. Bring Treats

Having treats with you during your shoot is a great way to get the animals attention while you are trying to snap a photo. Holding that yummy treat up by the camera lens is the perfect way to have them look right at the camera! 

Soft treats tend to be better to use during a photo shoot because hard treats may crumble and could make a mess... you already have enough to think about, you do not have to worry about cleaning up on top of it! 

3. Have Fun and Be Silly

Pets bring out the best in us and they love when you are having fun. It can be easy to be silly and make a fool out of yourself and that may be important during the photo shoot to keeping the pet's attention. Don't be embarrassed to jump around and do what you need to do in order to keep the animal happy. 

Photo credit:  Allen Taylor Photography

4. Keep Shooting Even If The Pet Is Not Cooperating

Sometimes you will find that the animal will just not cooperate and that is okay! Pets can be very unpredictable while taking photos just like they can be in every day life! Just because the dog, bird or rabbit is not doing exactly what you had hoped, keep snapping photos because you never know what you are going to get. If the dog likes to bark, capture it in a photo... those are the memories the family or couple will love to see, and many times those unpredictable photos are the ones that turn out the best, because everyone is having fun, even the pet!  

5. Don't Worry Too Much On Posing

Most family pets do not really sit still and wasting your time trying pose them with their pet and have them all actually hold that position is probably not going to work too well. It may be more beneficial to you to guide the couple or the family on what they should be doing, and then just take photos as they move around, snuggle and play with their pet. 

6. Capture Photos From Different Perspectives

Like any of photos, having shots from many different angles and perspectives is nice. If you are photographing a bride and groom with their horse on their farm, taking a photo from beneath the large creature may be really great. Or, if you have the family playing with their dog, getting an aerial shot from above may showoff the beautiful landscape as well as them playing. 

Photo credit:  Artful Paws Photography

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