5 Tips to Prepare You for Your Dog’s Session

If you’re investing in dog photography for the first time, knowing what to expect from your pet’s session and exactly how to best prepare for it can leave you feeling excited, optimistic…and perhaps a little uncertain. Maybe you don’t know anyone who’s had professional pet photos taken and you’re not sure how it all works. Maybe you want to join in the four-legged fun, but it’s been a while since you yourself have been in front of the camera and you’re feeling a little timid. If you’re like many, maybe you’re skeptical that your fur baby will even cooperate for your photographer.

Let me start by saying that these feelings are all totally normal and that, regardless of your initial concerns, you (and your dog) are absolutely going to love your Bark & Gold Photography experience!

If you fall into one of the above categories, I offer you the following five tips to help you feel more prepared for your dog’s session.

1. Bring the essentials.

Packing your dog’s favorite treats and toys is fairly easy to remember, but there are a few other session essentials you’ll want to bring to your session as well, including formal documentation of vaccinations, a list of any dietary restrictions or allergies, etc. Different photographers may require different paperwork or forms, so be sure to check with yours prior to your session.

2. Arrive early.

If you’re not early, you’re late. Just kidding…kind of. Plan to arrive to your session location at least 15 minutes before your scheduled meeting time. This will provide your pooch with enough time to meet his photographer, take a bathroom break before the session starts, and get acclimated with the new sights, sounds, and smells of an unfamiliar place.

3. Limit the paw-parazzi.

Bringing along another person to act as an assistant can often be very helpful. I recommend inviting just one other person who can step into the role of your assistant, helping control noise makers or squeaky toys, distribute treats, or hold your pet’s leash, and gaining your pet’s attention throughout the session.

Bringing along a paw-parazzi entourage, however, may be distracting and confusing for your dog. When too many of your pet’s favorite people are present, he may not know who to focus on or where to look, which can make capturing the images I want to deliver to you a challenge. This is why I’ve found that for my sessions, two is the magic number!

4. Consider your clothing.

If you’ve chosen to be in photos with your pet, your clothing becomes an important detail of your session. While your first instinct may be to dress to impress, I always find that simple works best. Think denim paired with neutral colors and plain tops pairs. If more than one person will be posing with your pup, remember that your photo will look more cohesive if you coordinate, not match. If you’re at a loss, my Pinterest board has some suggestions on outfits and colors that will look amazing on-camera.

young couple poses with two rescue dogs at North Park in Gibsonia

Keep in mind that our session may require you to move around or get down at your dog’s level, so be sure your outfit is comfortable and allows for some mobility without the risk of a wardrobe malfunction. (Ladies, watch for low-cut tops and super short skirts.)

I also recommend avoiding busy prints, bold patterns, logos, and anything black or white. If you’ve got a shedder on your hands, you know how easily dog hair shows up against black. White, on the other hand, tends to draw the eye toward it and we want to keep the focus on your sweet fur baby.

Finally, don’t forget about your shoes (or foot care, if you’ll be wearing sandals or open-toed footwear). Your dog spends a lot of time down by your feet and you’ll appreciate them looking their best for photos.

5. Relax!

Bark & Gold Photography sessions are designed to be low-pressure and relaxed. Sometimes your pet will be cooperative and pose patiently for my ideas whereas other times he may stubborn or decide that he’s in charge of the direction his session will go. Both are totally OK. The best thing you can do when this happens is go with the flow.

Because animals in general are incredibly in-tune with our attitude, emotions, and demeanor, your dog will likely feed off your energy. A calm, relaxed owner equals a calm, relaxed dog and a calm, relaxed dog almost always guarantees great photos. Try to relax, smile, and approach your session with an open mind and upbeat attitude.


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, visit “Your Session” in the menu.

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