5 Tips for Choosing a Session Location

The initial anxieties that may race through your mind after booking your pet photography session can become overwhelming quickly.

“There’s no way my dog will sit still for photos! He can’t be off a leash! And he certainly hasn’t mastered many cues or tricks.”

“What am I going to wear?! I’m not sure I even want to be in photos!”

“I’d love a unique location, but I have no idea where to begin.”

These concerns are not only totally valid, they’re very common for anyone investing in professional pet photography for the first time. In this post, I take the guesswork out of one of the more challenging aspects of planning your session, choosing a location, with five tips to help you narrow down potential places to take your dog’s photos.

Start by asking yourself the following questions. Your answers will reveal what’s most important to you and lead you down the path to a gorgeous location.

1. is this location safe and pet-friendly?

Your dog’s well-being and safety are my top priority during our time together. The location should never take precedence over an animal’s welfare. This is non-negotiable. If the answer to this question isn’t a resounding yes, let’s consider elsewhere.

If your desired location is safe, we then need to look into whether it’s also pet-friendly. Some places may require us to keep your four-legger leashed or restricted to certain pet-approved areas whereas other spots, like a friend’s private acreage, will give your dog unlimited room to romp and explore freely.

In the event that a location you are hoping for is not pet-friendly, it is a good idea to have a plan B. I have an extensive list of safe, pet-friendly locations throughout the region that I provide to my clients who may not know where to turn for their session.

2. does this location have special meaning to me or my dog?

I encourage my pet parents to first think of places that they enjoy spending time with their dog, places where their dog is at his happiest. For some, that may be a secluded trail through the woods near their home or even their backyard. For others, a sprawling neighborhood park or a bustling urban spot close to their favorite dog-friendly dining patio may be more their style. Wherever you choose, you can’t go wrong with a place that has meaning. Meaning adds significance to your final images and significance results in memories.

3. is this a place where my dog will feel comfortable and relaxeD?

I cannot emphasize enough the value I place on your dog’s security and health. If he does not feel comfortable and relaxed in a particular location, it will come through in your photos. You’re investing in images that you will hold on to for decades. You want your pet to shine with expressive eyes, a big smile (yes, I believe all dogs smile), and body language that exudes confidence and ease.

Allow me to add that you do not need to search for the most stunning surroundings for your session. Strategic placement of your pet coupled with my “photographer’s eye” for elements like patterns, texture, lighting, and color can transform even the most ho-hum location into a winning scene for your final images.


The season, time of day, weather, and even popularity of a location will all factor into how well a potential place will work for your session. This is where your photographer can be of particular help as he or she has likely scouted great locations or shot there before. If you’re set on a certain location, try to visit it during the time of year or day that you’ve scheduled your session. Consider the light, the scenery, any activities happening in or around the location or venue, etc.

5. will this location give me the style i crave for my pet’s photos?

Do you want an architectural, trendy urban vibe? Maybe you wish to see your dog running through an open field lined by a rustic fence or splashing about in a lake. Perhaps you prefer more of a documentary-style session within your home. Each of these locations will produce a diverse style for your final images and should ultimately complement the final products you wish to display in your home.

Signature wall art pieces, like luxurious framed canvases and traditional framed prints, are among my clients’ favorite products. As you narrow down your session spots, consider how you wish to enjoy your images. An artisan wood piece, for instance, will look as beautiful paired with earthy, natural decor whereas an eye-catching framed and matted print will be a standout piece in a modern home filled with clean lines.

If you would like to book a Bark & Gold Photography session for your pet, click here or give me a call at 724-913-BARK (2275). For more information on Bark & Gold Photography sessions, browse the “Experience” page from the menu.

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