How To Do A Photoshoot With Pets

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.

Abbie Maternity Shoot 8

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!

Lindsey & Tyler (4)

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!

Trude Family (1)

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!

Sydney Zane 1

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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The Goofiest Valentine’s Gift Ever

I love my husband, and he tried really hard on this gift. Before I get into the story, let me just … show you:


That lady in the picture is supposed to be me. It’s based off this picture:


Sigh. I don’t think the artist’s intention was to make me look 30 years older, but that’s what happened. But there is a backstory here, I promise.

Three years ago on Valentine’s Day, I woke up and found my 21-year-old cat had died in the living room. I was devastated. I had him since he was just a kitten, and I was completely torn up inside.


Now, every year on Valentine’s Day, my amazing husband not only buys me a gift, but also buys Babybun a memorial gift. Here is his gift from a different year:


This year, he thought it would be adorable if he hired an artist to do a digital portrait of me with Babybun on my lap. He sent over the picture of me you saw above, and the one of Babybun you saw above. He sent an example image of how he wanted the portrait (with him on my lap). I think this is where it went wrong. This is the “example” he sent:


This is literally a picture from the board game “13 Dead End Drive.” Look a little closer, in the middle:


I think they took the image just a little too seriously …

At least they didn’t make Babybun look as angry as the other cat?

And, believe me, I appreciate Bryan’s effort. But even he knew it was a side splitter. He gave it to me and said: “It was supposed to be really cute, but instead it turned out hilarious.”

I mean, Babybun certainly gave me a lot of laughs in life, so what better way to honor him?