I am a perfectionist - I dream about photography, I am constantly learning and updating my knowledge and work obsessively at being the best I can at work that I love. I control and direct as much as is possible about the session which I structure and time around the sunrise/sunset. That being said, and in order to manage expectations, I stress to every client that this is outdoor, off leash dog photography, and dogs will be dogs (which is why we love them so much). We are not looking for perfection from the dogs - we want their personality to shine through, we want them to have fun, and that is what I aim to try to capture for you.
If your dog is regularly groomed, it would be great timing to get a groom done in the days leading up to your shoot. A quick nail trim also looks great.
Harness vs Collars
Unless your dog needs to wear a harness for safety reasons, I would strongly recommend your dog wear a collar for the photoshoot. If the collar is old, I might suggest treating them to a new one, or letting them go ‘naked’. I am unable to remove a harness in photoshop. We may also leash your dog at points during the session, and it is far easier to remove a leash in photoshop if they are wearing a collar.
Want to be included in an image?
Whilst the session is all about dogs, if you’d like me to include you in a couple of images with your dog, please do put some thought into what you are wearing. Choose outfits that make you feel like your best self. I would avoid any big logos or wild designs as they can distract from the dog. It’s always a nice touch to wear something that subtly connects you to your dog - let’s say you have for example red nail varnish, (or a scarf, lipstick, hat, shoes) etc and your dog has a red collar. Or your dog has blue eyes, you might want to wear something that features a hint of blue too.
The morning / afternoon of the shoot
Please arrive no later than the agreed time. The different locations/backdrops of the session have been purposefully chosen to work with the position of the sun, so if we start late, we will not only miss the sunrise /sunset, but the rest of the shoot won’t be as ideal as it can be. The beautifully saturated colours of the golden hour only last 15 minutes or so and we need time to acclimatize your dog to the camera and flash. I like to encourage sunrise sessions where timing allows - whilst I know it’s tough to get up early, it’s not only the best time photographically in terms of light and colour, but also there are less distractions around for your dog at this time.
We go through a lot of treats during a typical photo shoot so I strongly advise against feeding your dog prior to the session. Please bring some peanut butter and a selection of your dogs favourite treats. I will bring some liver treats, but it’s essential for you to have high value treats on standby. You will need more than you think you will need - we go through a lot of treats!
During the shoot
I will acclimatize your dog to the flash/camera and once they are comfortable we’ll go straight into the session. When I am doing close up work with your dog, I will need yourself or a friend to assist by holding the lighting/ strobe (you do not need any experience and full direction will be given). The strobe weights approximately 10lbs, and can get heavy after a while so if you have any concerns about this, please do get in touch to discuss. If you would prefer that we bring in an assistant this can be arranged at additional cost. At any point during the session, if you wanted to take any behind the scenes photos or video we always welcome any footage you can send or tag us in!
Training and tricks
If you want to incorporate a high five, a treat catch, a roll over, or any other tricks you might like your dog to do feel free to practice in the lead up to the photoshoot session. These extras are absolutely not essential, these are just for fun if you wanted to try them.