TOP tips for a relaxed photo shooting with your dog and a smooth course of events on the day of the shooting. What you should keep in mind when photographing dogs to get the perfect picture?
You would also like to have really nice pictures of you and your dog, but are you still unsure if this is possible with your dog in reality?
How you can best prepare your dog for your photo shoot together and what your dog should “bring along” in return, you will learn in this article.
Because yes, even from young, impetuous dogs, with a little preparation, an (dog) experienced photographer and a good portion of patience, beautiful portraits can be created.
Before the photo shoot:
You should consider this before the shooting:
Basically, everything you practice with your dog before the photo shoot or adjust to your dog’s needs (e.g. the choice of location) will make the photo shoot itself a lot easier for you and will contribute to a great extent to creating exactly the pictures you want. That’s why it is all the more important to know your dog well and to know which situations might stress him and how to avoid them easily during a photo shoot.
1. Rest training & visit shooting location
Also with a photo shooting, as so often in dog training, patience and calmness is the decisive success factor. And, as is well known, these can also be trained. How? By regularly introducing your dog to unknown places/situations and keeping expectations as “low” as possible. In other words: not much really happens at the new, unknown place, except that your dog learns that nothing exciting happens there. 😉
Implementation in practice:
Once the shooting location has been determined, you can visit it with your dog before the day of the shooting and get to know it together in peace and quiet. Let your dog sniff a little bit on the spot, let him explore the surroundings on a loose leash or even in a free run (if possible), but refrain from any ball games or activities that might “push up” your dog.
Take a blanket and a book with you and make yourself comfortable with your dog on a bench or in the greenery. Depending on how appealing the environmental influences are for your dog, it sometimes goes faster and sometimes slower until your dog relaxes more and more, sits down or even lies down. Chewing articles are also helpful.
Very important: take water and sufficient treats with you and make sure you reward your dog properly. 😉
This has the big advantage that your dog will not only get to know the shooting location on the day of the shooting and will therefore be much less excited. Especially with young dogs it is recommended to integrate these trips over a longer period of time as an exercise into the daily routine.
2. The right choice of location
Another simple way to make the photo shoot easier for your dog is to choose the right location in coordination with your photographer. Especially if you are planning a shooting together in nature or in urban surroundings, it is important to pay attention to the needs of your dog.
For example, if your dog is still very young, impetuous or quickly stressed out, a shooting in the city would not be recommendable, because too many stimuli can come at him and overstrain him.
Young dogs and puppies should ideally be photographed in a familiar and unattractive environment. A shooting in your own four walls would also be an ideal alternative in this case. However, if your dog has always been used to the city and is relaxed, there is nothing against a shooting in an urban environment. However, if you decide to shoot in the city centre, it is particularly important to make sure that the dog cannot run onto any busy road and is secured at all times.
3. Practice special tricks
Do you have a special photo wish, such as a portrait, where your dog lays his head down completely relaxed, crosses his paws stylishly or “waves” into the camera? So of course it is a good idea to practice these tricks well in advance. 😉 Some dogs do offer some of these cute poses on their own, but if you want to make sure that he does this on the day of your photo shoot, it is best to condition this behaviour well and allow enough time for training. Then you will definitely be able to realize your photo ideas. 😊
Tips for a successful photo shooting
1. Low workload before the shooting
Many pet owners underestimate how exhausting a photo shoot can be for the dog (or for all involved 😉). Especially young dogs, which are not yet able to concentrate for a long period of time, should not be additionally stressed on the day of the photo shooting. That means concretely: renounce long walks and all dog sports as well as training units. The photo shoot will definitely be busy enough and your dog will be guaranteed to sleep soundly afterwards. 😉
2. Right reward
With the right reward the photo shoot will be much easier for your dog to handle, because he will be rewarded directly for the behaviour shown, he will also be much more motivated to work with you and the photographer. Of course, everything that your dog likes is allowed: treats of any kind, but also vegetable cubes and other delicacies are well suited. Not to forget: verbal praise, caresses or his favourite toy can also be helpful during the photo shoot. As always, it is important to take care of your dog to find out what he really likes and what he might even find unpleasant. (You can read more about the right reward here).
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3. Short shooting phases & breaks
Sufficient, short breaks during the photo shooting with dogs are indispensable. The shooting phases in which your dog really has to concentrate should be kept as short as possible so that your dog continues to have fun and his ability to concentrate is not exhausted after a short time. A responsible, experienced dog photographer will take this into account in any case.
4. Observe appeasement signals
On many social media channels they are unfortunately shown almost daily: stressed dogs, which are panting, yawning and with their ears laid back. Especially these photos, where the dogs look so supposedly happy and “funny grinning”, are often snapshots of clearly stressed dogs.
During a photo shoot you should therefore pay special attention to your dog’s behaviour and calming signals and react in time if he shows them.
Likewise, your darling can be afraid of the flash, the devices (camera, equipment, …). If you have a frightened dog, show him all this in advance in peace. A trainer can also help you with this.
Dog photography is with an experienced dog photographer in any case well realizable, as long as the needs and appeasement signals of your dog are met. And once again it shows how in many areas of dog training, patience, preparation and the right reward is the be-all and end-all. Have fun with your photo shooting and great pictures!