I was asked how to coordinate a photoshoot that involves the family pets. The number one answer: Patience. Pets don’t listen like people do.
Animals can tell if you’re stressed out. And if you’re stressed out, they’re gonna be stressed out. So, take a few deep breaths, you’ll get the shots! It just may take a little longer than you’re used to when working with non-furry companions.
Location is important, too. If you take a pet to a super active park — they’re gonna get distracted and want to smell all the new smells, and go see all the new things.
Try to pick a quiet park, a scenic backyard (yours, the client’s, a friend’s), etc. Stay away from dog parks! Wayyy too much excitement!
And a bit off the cuff, but barking helps. I am not kidding. If the dogs aren’t looking at me … I will bark. It works!
Another great tip is to ask the pet owners to bring a few favorite toys, especially any that make noise. You can hold them above the camera and squeak them! Treats work, too!
If all else fails — let the pet run! Sometimes getting rid of that energy is the trick! And then, you can always get some nice action shots that way, too! And if kiddos are around — let them run with their pet, too!!
So, let’s summarize!
- Be patient
- Don’t stress
- Avoid high-traffic places and dog parks
- DO use quiet places, off the beaten path, or utilize your backyard or a friend’s yard
- DO ask the owners to bring the pet’s fav. toys, especially any that make noise
- DO let the pet run and burn off some energy if it’s needed! Maybe even play some tug of war to build trust and help wear good ol’ pup out
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