Would you believe I’ve never done an on-location shoot with Remington? I’ve thought about it many times but it always seems easier to just have him model in the backyard or in our home. When I decided to take him to Legler Barn Museum last night to help with an example shot for my upcoming sofa sessions, I learned that even the most perfect and well behaved model can be unpredictable in a new and public setting.
I now have even more empathy for my clients who bring their uber excited pets to meet me. Their hyper and distracted behavior makes total sense now. Remington – who has effortlessly been in front of the camera almost every day for 7 years – turned into a complete spaz when I tried to situate him on the sofa and smile for me. New park, new smells and PEOPLE!!! There was only one other couple at the park, but he was still easily distracted, panting with excitement and barking as he tried to sneak a peek at what he might be missing out on. I have to admit that I probably felt exactly like most of my clients do at this point. “Seriously? What was I thinking having my dog professionally photographed? This is a disaster!”
Now of course I’ve learned quite a few tricks over the past 7 years of photographing only pets. I have no doubt that I can capture your pet and provide you with wonderful memories. With that said, this experience was eye opening and helped me realize I should better educate future clients. Here are some tips you might find helpful if you have an upcoming session.
Arrive early to the outdoor location we choose. Be sure to walk your pet and help them become familiar with the new smells and atmosphere.
Stay calm yourself. Dogs sense their owner’s anxiety and frustration and will likely mirror your behavior which causes even more chaos.
If you have multiple dogs, bring a friend or helper to assist you. It can be difficult to keep some pets secure when it’s not their turn to be in every photo. Having another set of hands can be quite beneficial.
Bring any personal toys or favorite snacks your pet might enjoy. I will have a supply of Pupperoni treats and my own squeak toys, but sometimes pets are more comfortable with items they are familiar with.
Choose your own backyard or home setting if you feel your pet will be most comfortable there.