Dog Photography - Session Preparation Guide
Congratulations on booking your Dog Photo Session! I'm so excited to meet you and your furry friend soon. I hope you are similarly excited to get started, create beautiful photographs and stunning artwork for your home.
My number one priority is to ensure both your dog and yourself enjoy the photography experience. When we meet on the day of your session, we'll take a moment, have a chat, go over our game plan and most importantly, let your dog get used to me and my camera. We'll then jump into the session, have fun with your dog and create a variety of beautiful images for you to choose from after your session.
Please feel free to join my private client Facebook group, in there you can ask any questions you might have and I will be posting useful guides and tips, as well as upcoming events and special offers.
To get the most from your photography experience, please have a look through my session preparation guide for tips on how how to prepare both your dog and yourself. If you have any questions or concerns at the end of the preparation guide, please do get in touch! I'm always here to help and am more than happy to answer any additional questions.
Give your dog a good brush and perhaps even a bath the day before your session, getting rid of as much loose hair, dust and dirt as possible and leaving a beautiful shiny coat. Don't forget to check the nails and give them a trim if needed, overly long nails don't look good in photographs.
If your dog has long fur I would additionally recommend carefully trimming the fur around the eyes before the session. We wouldn't want to hide their wonderful expressions!
Depending on your dogs breed, you might want to have them professionally groomed, if your dogs grooming includes a hair cut, I recommend timing it right so that your dog looks his or her best. The best time for a hair cut is normally around a week before the session, but you know your dog and their coat best!
I recommend having a clean collar and lead for your photo session, ideally muted colours rather than super bright. Ideally leave the harness at home, as they don't photograph well and they are very difficult to remove in postproduction.
This could be the perfect excuse for a new purchase! Check out Hound Heart Collars and The Crafty Cow for beautiful one of a kind handmade collars and accessories, both ladies local to Aberdeen/Shire and are very talented.
Exercise or rest
You'll know your dog and their energy level best. High energy dogs can benefit from going for a walk and have a run around before the photo session. Just leave enough time for you to clean up your dog again and give him or her a little rest before the session starts - heavily panting dogs isn't the best look in photographs.
On the other hand, if your dog is quite laid back and not very excitable, it might not be necessary to exercise before the session.
Brush up on basic commands
Just the basics - sit, down, stay, etc. They don't need to be perfect or do any fancy tricks!
Perhaps visit the photo session location, especially if your dog is very excitable and has never been there before or hasn't been there in a while.
But, please don't worry, if your dog isn't on their best behaviour on the day of the session! I promise I will still be able to capture beautiful images for you. Remember, dogs are very empathic and will pick up your energy - the more relaxed you are, the more your dog will as well. Your dogs only job is to have fun and look gorgeous!
If you need any help, here are a couple of highly recommended local ladies who would be able to give you pointers.
Keep your dog in his or her daily routine as much as possible. Although, I would recommend feeding them a smaller portion, if it's their feed time just before the session. They can have the rest of the meal afterwards. Let’s be honest, a dog who can be bribed with food makes a great model!
Preparing your Dog for the Session
A lot of my clients ask for a good mixture of photographs, some of their dogs on their own and some with them and their dogs together. I love photographing the special bond and connection between an animal and their owner and always encourage you to be in at least a few of the images yourself.
Have a look through my style guide and please let me know if you have any questions.
Wardrobe options and styles
Choosing your outfit for the session is the fun part! There are countless options, think of casual, smart-casual, country or if you like even full glam. See some examples below.
Most importantly, I always recommend wearing something you feel comfortable in, ideally stay away from baggy clothing, bright colours and busy pattern. Muted colours photograph really well, perhaps even colour coordinate with your dog.
Jumpers, Jeans, a floaty top or plain t-shirt or dress with country boots, trainers or any other fun pair of shoes.
Casual / Smart Look
Smart jumpers, fitted trousers, smart jeans, shirt with tall boots or smart ankle boots.
Tweed jacket, blouse or shirt, waistcoat, fitted trousers with smart tall boots. If you show your dog, perhaps even your show outfit.
Scarfs, hats, necklace, bracelets or watches.
If you need any styling help, you might want to consider a colour and style analysis and consultation. Check out Rosee Elliott, who is a fantastic colour and style consultant with House of Colour.
Hair and Makeup
This one is more for the ladies. If you fancy the full pamper package, I'd be more than happy to arrange a hair and makeup artist for the day of your session (at an additional charge), or I can recommend some fantastic MUA's for you to get in touch with yourself.
You can of course also do your own hair and makeup! A couple of tips for long hair. If you would like to have your hair down in the photos, try not to tie it into a tight ponytail, as you'll end up with a big crease in your hair. Best to either have it either in a very loose ponytail or loosely plaited, or even better not tied up at all.
We all love to take advantage of any sunny days and head out to enjoy the sunshine at any opportunity. In the run-up to your photo session, make sure you are well protected from the UV rays, watch for tan lines and sunburn, as both don't photograph well.
Preparing yourself for the Session
Your Session Check List
Things to remember for your dog
Clean Lead and Collar
Any other Accessories
Favourite Toys (ideally clean)
Towel or wipes
Things to remember for yourself
Appropriate clothing (extra layers, waterproofs)
Comfortable shoes (walking boots or wellies for example)
Water and perhaps a wee snack for longer shoots
Clean clothes, if you'd like to be in the photos as well
Hairbrush (for long hair)
Makeup bag for potential makeup top-ups
What happens after the Session?
Once we finish our session and I got my last cuddles from your dog, we'll say our good-byes and I will head home, where I will upload and back up all of your gorgeous photographs, to make sure they are all safe!
I then start the post-processing, in the first run I select my favourite images from your session and get rid of any duplicates, closed eyes and other unflattering moments. In the second run, I go through the selected images again and hand edit every single one of them to perfection.
Approx 10-14 days after your session, I will upload your images to my online viewing gallery (normally between 30-40 images). I then send you an exciting email with the link and your password, so that you can view your images for the very first time. At the same time, we also arrange your ordering appointment.
Your ordering appointment can take place in the comfort of your own home or another mutually agreed location. At your ordering appointment, I will show you my stunning product samples and you decide which sizes and styles you would like to purchase. I am happy to advise and give you my opinion on what would work well, but I promise - no hard sales!
Your order can be paid for by bank transfer, card or cash.
Approx 2 week after placing your product order, it'll be time for the big product reveal! After double-checking your printed products, I will hand-deliver these to you. All you have to do is hang them on the wall, sit back and enjoy your new artwork.
All products are handmade to the highest standards and produced by professional printing labs here in the UK.