You’ve probably figured out by now how much I love pets (in all shapes and sizes). In my opinion, pets can be just as much a part of the family as your children and having beautiful photos of them is not really optional! I recently had the privilege of photographing not one, but two tabby cats: Cupcake & Muffin. Their Mom, Alexis, reached out to me to arrange a birthday session for them both.
We hired the Studio Hampton Roads in Virginia Beach which had amazing natural light and replicated Cupcake & Muffin’s home environment. Pet sessions are always an adventure: this one included Cupcake climbing into a small cupboard in the wall and refusing to come out until bribed with treats. We spent most of the session following them around as they explored the studio! Their favourite was sitting in the bookshelf, which made for an adorable photo.
Looking back on this wonderful session, I thought of a few FAQs and tips that might be helpful when preparing for your own pet photography experience. Below are 8 tips for getting the most out of pet photography:
Some of the most meaningful pet photos are the ones that capture their connection with you, their owner. Even if you’re wanting images predominantly of your pet, prepare to be in the photos at some point. Wear clothes that you love, but make sure they’re comfortable. You’ll want to be able to get down on the floor with your pet, play, run and have fun! As with any session, avoid busy patterns, logos and super bright colours – we don’t want them to detract from the subjects!
(mostly for dogs, but some cats can do with a brush too!)
Just like humans, you want your pets to look the best for their session. Feel free to give your dog a bath before their photoshoot. If your dog has a longer coat a good brush never goes awry! If your dog regularly gets clipped feel free to take them for a trim, just make sure you do it early enough to have their coat at the length you love it. Many people don’t love the very short coat look when their dog is first clipped, so if that’s you – don’t have your pooch groomed the day before!
A little bribery never goes astray when trying to get your pet to pay attention or stay in a specific spot – (spot the tin of cat food hidden behind the party ribbon in this photo!) If your pet has a favourite squeaky toy or packet of treats please bring them along, we’ll use that to get their attention and get them looking directly at the camera. Have a think about the phrases you use to get your dog excited too: “wanna go for a walk?!” is always a winner!
Pets can be unpredictable at the best of times, so after a car drive to a new place, don’t count on them being their usual selves! Leave some extra time for them to get used to their environment and have a play around before expecting them to sit still for photos. Better yet, arrange to have the session in your own backyard!
This one’s for dogs! Consider the breed and needs of your dog – are they young and energetic? take them out for a walk or run before the session to burn some energy. But don’t let them get totally exhausted, we still want their energy and personality to shine through!
Most cat images are taken inside, and I’d highly recommend picking a location where they can be free to roam without escaping! We hired the Studio Hampton Roads for this session, and it was perfect for variety, amazing light, and having a contained environment.
Unless you have an exceptionally well-behaved dog, you’ll want to do your session in a park or open area that is fenced in with minimal distractions. I’ll work with you to pick the perfect location, but things to think about are:
Or better still, if you’re able to: use your own backyard!
Most pets won’t behave perfectly for the entire session, and that’s completely ok! It only takes a fraction of a second to get THE shot, so the most important thing is not to stress! Your pets pick up on what you’re feeling, so the best tip I can give for fantastic images is to relax and have fun. No matter what, we will always get great images! We want to capture the personality of your pet, which will happen the best if they’re having fun and being themselves.
Like all sessions with CTP, we begin with the end in mind and that means thinking about how you want to display the images from your session. We’ll design the session around the place in your home that you want to display your images. Whether it’s a timeless wall art display, story box, or album, it’ll compliment your personal style and home decor. You can take a look at some of the printed products we offer here.
During the pre-consultation and design session you’ll get to see the different options for yourself so you can start thinking about which you love the most. The Heirloom Album is a favourite with most families and you can even have the cover personalised with your pet’s name. Here’s a peek at the album Alexis ordered:
Live in the Hampton Roads area and want to book a session? Feel free to reach out via my contact page or give me a call on 757 418 7777 so we can start planning. Expect me to do a happy dance when I get your inquiry, cos pet photography makes my heart sing
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