You are currently viewing 4 tips to capturing images of your “Wild Child” at your Pet Photography Session
brown and black dog

4 tips to capturing images of your “Wild Child” at your Pet Photography Session

My last 2 dogs, after some training, were pretty well behaved when I asked them to sit and stay. Then I brought Declan home! He is my ‘wild child’. He will sit and stay, until such time as he sees something more interesting. Then he is off to the races. And boy can he run. I definitely understand the frustration and anxiety a person may have when their dog is not listening to them.

Declan is not my only challenge. Over the past 7 years of working with shelter dogs I might have had just a few…or maybe hundreds that were not ready to stay in one place. Along the way, I have learned a few tricks to reign them in or to get them to stop for 1 split second, to capture the image.


1.) Leashes

Leashes in several lengths come in handy. It might surprise you to know that most of the dogs I take photographs of have leashes on. I wouldn’t want to take any risks with your dog. If he is already in a challenging state, the added stress of a person sticking a camera in his face may just be too much. I will instruct you to bring your dog on leash to the session. We can often conduct most of the photos with that leash. I may give you instructions on how to hold the leash, so that it would be easier to remove when I am post-processing the image. I also bring along a 30 foot leash in for any action photos we want to capture.

While photoshop is very useful, it can’t fix everything. Harnesses and Gentle leaders are hard to remove in photoshop. When we have our consultation we can discuss possible secure locations for the session in order that we can avoid using these restrictions.

2.) Sounds

Being on the leash will confine him a little, but it won’t make him look at the camera. For that I have noises. I might bark, meow, neigh or make some other weird noises that make Fido STOP for just a split second to look at me. If my homemade sounds don’t work, I also have some noises on a phone app that might work. While noises are helpful, they can’t be used too often or else the dog gets desensitized to the sound.

white, tan and brown dog
white, tan and brown dog rescue


Does your dog have a favorite toy? I would suggest bringing it to the photo session. Holding the toy or throwing a ball may help relax your dog and get some of the most natural and familiar poses your dog will strike.

4.) Treats

Treats are used if the other tricks have not worked. I don’t want to start with treats too early as your pet may become more food focused making it even more difficult to get your dogs attention. Once the session is over he will be having celebratory treats and hugs.

It’s an International circle!

Join the fun! This group of International Professional Pet Photographers bring you information on our weekly topics. While we focus on one broad subject, we may each have a different spin on it or provide you with additional information from our world of pet photography. Follow the next link to view how the next amazing photographer tackles this weeks challenge.  Follow each link at the end of each blog until you return to me. Then you have successfully completed our blog circle. Enjoy!

+++++ NOW head over to:

Nicole Hrustyk of Pawtraits by Nicole in Las Vegas, Nevada, shares her tips and tricks on how any dog can be a doggy model.

Come and find your Best Friend!

Second Chance has a unique program near Syracuse N.Y. where inmates train the rescued dogs. This program gives both the dogs and the inmates a second chance in life.  Appointments currently required related to Covid-19 protocols.

Meet Will!

He is such an adorable dog, but has waiting for a forever home for a while now. He loves playing with his ball, but he loves to cuddle too. He is dog selective and would Be best in a home without small children.

Please contact Friends of Second Chance.

Friends of Second Chance Canine Adoption Shelter
6660 E. Seneca Turnpike
Jamesville, NY 13078

Jamesville Second Chance

Capture your journey with your pet. Nancy Kieffer is a Certified Professional Pet, Equine and Nature Photographer Through Professional Photographers of America (PPA). Nancy serves Central New York, the Adirondacks and Beyond.  Capture how you share your life with your pet! It may be a vacation adventure or curled up on the couch with you. Travel assignments welcomed.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Carol

    Lots of good insider info as to how sessions work – even with the wildest of personalities!

  2. Darlene

    I love that term “wild child”! Great tips for the session! I also bring a long line for action shots – so much fun to be able to capture the dogs running!

  3. Angela Schneider

    The problem children not only make us better at our jobs but they’re so much more fun!

  4. Nicole

    Great tips! Will is a ham!

  5. Tracy Allard

    Aw, I love Will (and that is a major smooch!) – and I agree with you, that there’s no better training ground to be a pet photographer than volunteering with a local shelter, that is the definition of “on-the-job training” (and does so much good too!).

  6. Elaine

    It looks like all of us professional dog photogs are on the very same page with this week’s subject! Great points for sure!

  7. Cahlean

    Great tips for helping capture a “wild child” during a session!

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