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!

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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.

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Celebrating Joy and Gratitude

Nancy Kieffer

Join me in celebrating a season of thanks, exploring gratitude practices, and embracing joyful living. Explore the profound connections with family, friends, and furbabies that make life truly enriching. This Black Friday, consider an alternative – spending the day in joy and gratitude. Come share your thankful moments with us as we navigate the beauty of grateful living.

Lessons from a Senior Dog

Nancy Kieffer

Working as a pet photographer as well as volunteering in a rescue, I have been blessed with getting to know a number of senior dogs. While I lost my Midnight at a young age, I was very fortunate to have Shamus with me for many years. Shamus was my clown, but boy did he know how to live! His wisdom grew as the years pressed on. I learned that each day spent with my senior dog was a lesson on the importance of living in the present, cherishing our bond and embracing our everlasting friendship.