Believe me, I get it. Having your photo taken can feel so.stinking.awkward.
I can already hear that tiny whisper in the back of your mind growing louder as you grumble to yourself about those 10 pounds you “need” to lose, about how you’re not photogenic, and about how you booked this session for pet photos, not photos of yourself, but hear me out.
Stop. This isn’t about you.
It’s about the intuitive offer of a sweet snuggle when you need it most. The warmth of a fuzzy chin resting on your leg. A reason to smile. Visual reminders that give meaning and emotion when words fail. Family.
I’m going to be upfront with you: if you’re looking for a photographer who will pose you down to your fingernails, I’m not your girl. It’s just not my thing. If, however, you want someone who approaches your session with patient, creative, and no-pressure techniques, you’ll appreciate my focus on natural, candid, and expressive images created from an emphasis on genuine emotion and the documenting of joy and love through small moments in time.
When it comes to helping clients loosen up in front of the camera, nothing works better than doing so alongside their dog. OK, that and my hilarious “bells and whistles.” as my clients endearingly refer my lanyard of calls, squeakers, and various noisemakers. Seriously, if you don’t laugh at the sight of my plastic blue-lip whistle or when you see the head tilt your pup’s going to give at the sound of my animal calls, something is terribly wrong (and not with me–I’m allowed to look and sound as silly as necessary to get the shot)!
So, if I’m not posing you per se, how can you trust that you’ll look relaxed and comfortable in your photos? It’s easy: I subtly coach or guide you through some various natural interactions with your dog. For example, I may ask you to get on his level, caress his face, and simply tell him how much you love him. I may ask you to have him give you his paw while you tell him what a good boy he is. I may have you look down at him and call his name so he’s looking back up at you. And I may even catch you off-guard when you’re least expecting it. Honestly, those are the ones that surprise my clients and that they always end up loving the most.
I’ve found that any interaction with their dog helps people let their guard down. Posture is more confident, smiles are more natural, and an inner joy just radiates out from both you and your dog. One of the best ways to draw that out of my clients is through play. I’ve covered in the past why play can be an important part of your pet photography session and emphasize its benefits even more in terms of helping you loosen up. You have to admit, it’s nearly impossible not to smile while watching your loyal companion race back to you with his favorite ball in his mouth and his gigantic tongue sloshing out of the side of his mouth, which resembles one of the biggest, goofiest grins you’ve ever seen and even more challenging to worry about how good your hair looks while you’re throwing a flying disc for him to fetch.
While the heart of the Bark & Gold Photography experience is all about celebrating the joy and love between Pittsburgh pets and their people, I will never insist that you be in any photos with your furry friend, but I’m sure as heck going to encourage you to do so. I’ve never once had a client look back with regret that they joined in a few photos. I have, however, had those who regretted not.
Join in, you’ll thank me later.
This post is a part of a photography blog circle featuring photographers specializing in a variety of niches. To see what the next photographer is sharing for our weekly theme, “Loosen Up,” check out Amy Tedrow with Amy Tedrow Photography, photography and branding solutions for lifestyle, business, or non-profit organizational needs. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.
4 thoughts on “Join In, You’ll Thank Me Later”
I love the idea of “subtly coaching”! Great article Jes!
Thanks, Amy! I’ve found that people need that bit of reassurance and guidance to feel that what they’re doing or how they’re posing, which can feel awkward, to know they’re doing it “right.”
I love the bells and whistles and noise makers! I think they even made my head tilt!!!
That would not surprise me! They work for everyone…pets, kids, and even adults!