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What to Expect at Your Pet Portrait Session- Step 2

You did it- You booked your Pet Portrait Session! If you are following along in this 4 part series, you are all booked and anxiously waiting for your session. If you haven’t been following along, check out my other posts:

1.) Taking your first Step toward a pet portrait session- the inquiry process

2.) What to expect at your pet Portrait session- step 2

3.) What to expect after the session?- Step 3

4.) Delivery and Care of your Artwork from your Pet Portrait Session- Step 4

Your Pet Portrait Session- Step 2

Once you have tentatively reserved your session date and have returned your contract and retainer, you will receive a confirmation for your session. Now what?

First things are first. It is not time to be stressed out wondering if your dog will behave. I hopefully will have alleviated your fears during out zoom consultation. I will send you a session guide which provides you plenty of information regarding the session.

The session guide will reiterate some of the things we talked about during our zoom meeting. Number one that safety is the key and that leashes are used often when photographing animals. These can generally be removed during the final editing of your images.

The guide also offers suggestions on what to wear for your session. Generally neutrals work well with most situations, but also be careful to wear colors that compliment your dogs fur rather than match it. (ie. black clothes with black fur. Adding layers for visual interest or adding textures in the fabric can add dimension to your images.

Consider your pet’s outfit as well. If you have a special collar or adornments you wish to use, be sure they coordinate with the other colors being used. Otherwise bring a regular flat collar, even if your dog needs a harness for walking. We can always put the regular collar on once we arrived at our location. (I can not guarantee that I will be able to remove harnesses or gentle leaders from the ordered images)

The week prior to your Pet Portrait session

If you will be grooming your pet prior to the session, it is best to visit the groomers at least a few days before the session as new haircuts tend to look better after the first few days.

Send me a picture of the wall you would like to have your wall art displayed with an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper attached to the wall in order that the correct measurements can be determined.

The day of the Pet Portrait Session

If possible, please exercise your dog before the session. He is bound to be excited and this will help him burn some energy in order to relax him more quickly.

I always carry a stash of treats, but if your dog is picky or has special treats he loves, bring them along. Tiny treats are the best so that you pup maintains his stylish figure.

I will have squeeky’s and a variety of noises to get your dogs attention, but if he has a special toy be sure to bring that along.

Finally, make sure you bring water for your pet and yourself.

Introductions at your Pet Portrait Session

Every dog has his own personality and confidence when introduced to strangers. I have found it best when working with rescue animals that they need to approach you in their own time. When we first meet for our session, I will let your dog approach me, if he is ready to so that he can determine that I am not a threat. If I have my camera in hand, I try to keep it at my side so that he he doesn’t feel threatened by that big black box with an eye. I will give him a chance to sniff the camera. Once he appears comfortable with me, I may click the shutter button a couple time to see how he reacts.

Your Job at the Photo Session

  • Your number one job is to RELAX. I don’t expect your dog to be perfect, and we have just introduced him to a new situation that he may not know how to handle. If he feels your stress, He is going to be stressed as well- So take a breath and let it out slow and have fun.
  • I will be putting you to work. I will instruct you how it is best to hold the leash in order that it may be removed in post-production. If we are taking images of you and your dog together, there may be times that I ask you to look at me rather than the dog! Then there will other times that I just want to capture you enjoying each other’s company and capturing the bond you feel for each other.
  • I will take my cues from your dog. If I feel he is becoming stressed, we may take a break to give him some time to regroup and get some loving from you.

A job complete- well this part

For my standard session we will spend 1-1 1/2 hours of fun and then you and your pet can go home take a nice long rest and chill. My work on the other hand is only partly done.

Next post will dive into Step 3- What happens after the session.

Are you ready to dive into the process? Start with your free inquiry session. Choose ONE of the below buttons.

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.

aspen the dog

ASPEN is waiting for his forever home.

Please contact Friends of Second Chance.

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

Capture your journey with your pet. Nancy Kieffer is a pet and nature photographer serving  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. Travel assignments welcomed.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Elaine

    Your post reminds me I need to develop a guide. Also, a good point about taking cues from the dog on stress or just being tired of cooperating.

    1. N Kieffer

      My own dog does not like being a model. I need to give him frequent breaks.

  2. Terri

    I love how you give your clients a countdown to prepare with what to do a week prior.

    1. N Kieffer

      thanks, sometimes clients are so excited about the session- they forget about the grooming until last minute.

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