Client Concerns – Part 1: But My Dog Won’t Sit Still

I hear it all the time. I’d say it’s probably the most common response I hear when I tell people I photograph dogs. This week alone, I’ve heard it three times: “Oh, I’d love to have photos of (insert dog’s name here), but my dog would never sit still.”

Well, I’ve got four words for you: hundredths of a second.

Hundredths of a second—that’s all I need. Do you realize how quick that is? Without getting into the sophisticated system of the brain-eye inner workings, the average human eye blinks at 1/3 of a second, significantly slower than what many digital SLR cameras are capable of in terms of shutter speed. If your dog can sit still for, say, 1/250 of a second, you will absolutely walk away from your session with gorgeous images of your four-legged friend.

And if he can’t (or won’t) sit still? Good. I’ll capture your dog’s spunkiness and energy; they’re likely among the very qualities and quirks that you love about him anyway.

playful dogs photographed around the greater Pittsburgh area

Your dog’s boundless energy and enthusiasm are a part of his unique charm and the very qualities that make him one-in-a-million. When you look back at his portraits, you’ll be reminded not only of what your dog looks like but also of his vibrant personality. The way he wags his tail, chases his favorite toy, or leaps into the air with high-flying joy—these are the moments that make your dog who he is. Capturing these candid expressions and actions adds authenticity to your portraits and allows you to relive those precious, unscripted moments day after day.

Believe me when I say that your dog will not be on his best behavior every second of your session—and that I don’t expect him to be! The reason why my time with my clients averages about one hour is to balance the time your dog spends in front of the camera with the time he needs to spend just being a dog. He needs time to get comfortable with me, the camera, and his surroundings, as well as time to play, explore, and just do dog things.

portraits of dogs taken during the fall season around the greater Pittsburgh area

Life with a dog is a whirlwind of memories, both the calm moments spent engrossed in couch cuddles and the exhilarating ones of chasing after a ball at a favorite park. By allowing yours to be himself during our time together, you’re giving him the freedom to express his truest self. This personalized approach results in artwork that is a genuine reflection of your dog’s character.

A dog’s life is a journey filled with adventure, growth, and companionship. From the puppy days of shark-toothed puppy chomps and aren’t-you-tired-yet? energy to the intimate moments of those senior years, your dog’s story is one worth celebrating. When you choose to capture that spirit as artwork, you’re preserving a chapter of that journey, of the joy and love you share. These portraits become a visual timeline, allowing you to see how your dog has grown and changed over the years. More importantly, it’s a tribute to the incredible bond you share and the adventures you’ve embarked on together.

So before you give me “but my dog won’t sit still,” remember: hundredths of a second.

This Client Concerns post is the first in a three-part blog series addressing the top three client concerns and myths I hear surrounding pet photography. 

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