Recommended Types of Collars for Your Dog’s Photography Session

One of the first things many Bark & Gold Photography clients do in preparation for their upcoming photography session is treat their furry friend to a new collar. In this week’s blog circle post, I’m joining 10 other pet photographers from around the world to share our recommended collars, leashes, gear, and more. If you’ve ever wondered what types of collars pet photographers recommend and why, well…we’ve got you covered!

Flat Collars

For many, flat collars are the standard go-to. I personally prefer this style because they photograph well and make leash removals easier. They’re also available in a variety of colors and patterns so you’re guaranteed to find one that complements your dog’s coloring, your clothing, and the location where we’ll be shooting. Unlike leashes, collars are not removed during post-processing, so it’s important that you love the one your dog will be wearing. The same applies to any tags your dog typically wears.

If you plan to incorporate bandanas, bow ties, or collar flowers, these types of accessories tend to fit more easily and look better with a flat collar. Just remember to account for the width and thickness of the collar, especially for bandanas, to ensure the bandana fits appropriately and looks its best in your final portraits.

Martingale Collars

For sighthounds or dogs who can easily slip out of a flat collar, a martingale collar is a possible alternative. A martingale collar features two loops: a larger one that goes around your dog’s neck and adjusts down, and a smaller that discourages pulling by evenly tightening around the neck. Unfortunately, this extra loop means that you must be even more aware of how you hold the leash and the placement of this loop. We always want that loop behind the dog, not to the side or in front where that loop may show the pull and become challenging (and occasionally impossible) to remove in your final images.

Buckleless Collars

If you don’t necessarily love the look of or need a martingale, but you also don’t want to see the buckle clasp that many flat collars have, a buckleless collar may be the way to go. It fits similarly to a flat collar, but without the unsightly buckle; instead this type of collar is designed to be a large loop that essentially fits the dog’s neck and adjusts down to size. I love when a dog goes buckleless because I know that no matter the angle I’m shooting from, that collar is going to look fan-freakin’-tastic!

Beaded Collars

If you’re looking for a more unique option that photographs beautifully, check out the handmade collars from Hypnotic Dog, a southern California-based husband and wife company that specializes in acrylic resin, ceramic, semi-precious gemstone, and wooden beaded collars. With designs that range from playfully vibrant to tastefully glamorous, Hypnotic Dog has found a way to combine function with fashion.

One of the details I love most about these beaded collars, in particular, is the variety of closures, including my favorite and Hypnotic Dog’s most popular, the O-ring. Its martingale chain and buckle-style look equally as lovely in portraits and provide a bit more peace of mind and security in ensuring your dog does not slip out of her collar. Keep in mind that style should never take precedence over safety.

Tips for Ensuring Your Dog’s Collar Photographs Well

As you go about selecting a collar for your dog’s session, remember that it will photograph best if it:

  • Is clean and well-fitted. It is often difficult to completely clean a collar or fix the fit during post-processing.
  • Complements your dog’s coloring and the location where we’ll be shooting. Avoid extremely bright colors, overly busy prints, logos, or words.
  • Complements your clothing, if you plan to join in any photos.
  • Has a limited number of tags. An excessive number can become overly distracting and take the focus off your dog’s sweet face.

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 “The Experience” in the menu and be sure to join the VIP list.


This post is a part of the Content Marketing for Pet Photographers blog circle. To see what the next pawesome photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “Collars I Recommend,” check out Tammy Snyder Photography, sharing the benefits of using a long leash when photographing dogs and the people they love in Southeastern PA and the Tri-State Region. 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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