Q&A: Puppies and Posing

To get some inspiration flowing for week 34’s theme of Q&A, I asked within the Photography Blog Circle Facebook group what questions my fellow photographers have about each other’s businesses or niches. Two questions that immediately caught my eye connected directly to two areas I know my clients wonder about as well, both focused on the two p‘s: puppies and posing.

Posing Pooches

April with April Ohl Photography hit me with the big one I believe most people are curious about when they see my final images: “How do you get the dogs to pose?”

The reality is that 90% of dogs truly don’t pose. Yes, there are some I work with on occasion who are exceptional in their tricks and training, but more of than not, the dogs I’m photographing resemble your everyday canine companions. Of course, it is helpful to know basic commands, but it is certainly not required. Patience and anticipating exactly when to take the shot far outweighs good behavior. What you see as crazy, hyper, or just plain “bad” (yes, those are all actual words past clients have used to describe their dogs) is not at all uncommon and nothing like what I see from behind the lens! I believe the most fetching shots are those of dogs just being dogs.

If you’re thinking, My dog would never… or you’re finding yourself circling back to the leash excuse, keep in mind that nearly every dog I photograph is leashed and all leashes are removed during post-processing. There, we can kick the leash excuse to the curb. And because I take a no-pressure, relaxed approach at a pace set by your furry friend, your session never requires your dog to sit, stay, and behave for hours (or even minutes) on end. I know I’d get bored with that, so I can only imagine how your dog would feel as well.

So, how do I get the dogs I work with to pose? The short answer is I don’t. I don’t expect it and neither should you.

Puppies: The Hummingbirds of the Dog World

And that leads us into the second question, which I received from Michael of Holl Photography, who specifically wanted to know, “How do you get puppies to sit still for a photo?” A photographer himself, Mike added a sweet Australian Shepherd/German Shorthaired Pointer mix to his family just a few months ago and has been capturing her growth in photos, so I know he will relate when I say that puppies are basically the hummingbirds of the dog world, which means you’re not getting them to sit still for very long!

Delightfully fuzzy, happily inquisitive, ridiculously adorable: all of the yeses. Traditionally well-trained: not a chance. Yet that’s exactly what I love about working with them and why I created my Puppy Love Sessions, designed specifically to capture the playfulness, energy, and sweetness of your puppy, from ages three months to one year, over two seasons.

GSD jumping to catch a flying disc at Mingo Creek Park near Washington

Puppy-hood should be remembered through more than blurry Instagram shots, but I get how challenging it can be to photograph your floofy, feisty friend when you’re trying to play photographer, trainer, treat dispenser, attention-getter, and pup parent. (I mean, up until about three-years-old, Hunter was basically a caffeinated four-legged toddler given a box of permanent markers and left unsupervised.) And forget trying to get in any of those shots, am I right? Oh! Oh! And don’t even get me started on the chronic condition known to those of us in the pet photography world as “photographer’s dog syndrome.” (Hunter’s been a longtime sufferer.)

During your Puppy Love Sessions, I do all the “heavy lifting” so you can actually relax, laugh, and have images that are both technically beautiful and full of personality because that’s exactly what we’re going to get. That means being OK with your puppy not necessarily having mastered the perfect sit and stay and instead embracing her zany zoomies, those oh-no-you-didn’t moments when we’ve got her right where we want her and she decides a roly-poly romp is more fun, and a head tilt so intense that you question how her sweet little noggin is still on her body as she hears a what-was-that?! sound from my noisemaker lanyard.

Making Magic from Memories

I thrive on these unscripted, magical, entertaining, and sometimes chaotic moments. Rest assured that hundredths of a second (and a few of my own tricks) is all I need to capture gorgeous photos of your furry friend and all the ways you love them. If you would like to book one of three Bark & Gold Photography session options for your pet, click here or give me a call at 724-913-BARK (2275). For more information on Bark & Gold Photography sessions, visit “The Experience” in the menu and be sure to share your email on my homepage to join the VIP list.


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, “Q&A,” check out Gretchen Ciccone with GCiccone Photography, capturing special moments. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.

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2 thoughts on “Q&A: Puppies and Posing

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      Thank you so much for that! It never feels like magic at the time, but I’ll admit that I sometimes do look back and think, How in the world did I get that?

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