Shoot Preparation

Don't worry, there's a first time for everything.

Here are some tips to keep the shoot relaxed, fun, and producing great images that you will want to hold on to forever:

  • To keep your dog focused, one human owner is generally best - check with me if you want to bring other humans besides yourself.

  • If your dog normally goes to the groomer, schedule the grooming a few days in advance of the shoot to avoid that ‘new haircut’ look. Trim your dog’s nails as needed - they really show in photographs. If your dog has tear stains and you don’t want to see them in photographs, discuss this with your groomer. Yes, I can Photoshop certain things out of the image - but the best images have the least amount of editing and retouching. 

  • If your dog needs to stay on leash for their safety or the safety of others, not to worry: I can edit out leashes in Photoshop. But do bring a long lead so we can show your dog in his element.

  • Please do bring some of your dog’s favorite treats and toys - but don’t break them out right away, especially if your dog is very treat motivated, as she can be driven to distraction by them. Don’t bring dry or crunchy treats otherwise she’ll be focused on finding crumbs. If your dog is not very treat motivated, consider delaying or reducing the quantity of dinner and we’ll replace that with treats during the shoot.

  • Similarly, please leave the squeaky toys and trigger words to me - if we use them too often, they lose their power to create that adorable head tilt or excited expression.

  • I’m happy to try to include you in some of the photos as well - although most of the shoot will be centered on just your dog. If you do want to be in some photos, please wear solid-colored clothing in darkish, neutral colors (no white!). Think of yourself as an accessory to your dog, and wear colors accordingly: don’t wear black cashmere if your dog is a white husky - every bit of fur will show on your clothing.

  • It pays to think ahead: do you have a fun collar that you’d like to see your dog in? (If it’s safe to do so, I prefer to remove tags as they tend to be distracting.)

  • To ensure that your dog is comfortable, please walk them just beforehand (especially for studio shoots). If your dog is one of those fun C-R-A-Z-Y dogs - give them enough exercise so that they can hold a sit/stay, but still have energy for some running shots. If your dog is more mellow, or senior, please make sure that he or she isn't too tired for the shoot - we don't want an exhausted dog.

  • I'll be carrying lots of gear and therefore only a little water: please do bring water for your dog.

  • Remember - this is a fun treat - just relax and go with it and your dog will too!


Above all, the portrait session should be fun - for your dog, for you, and for me! Your dog will largely drive the pace of the shoot. Don’t worry if your dog doesn’t seem to be ‘cooperating’ - we’re going to go with the flow and see where your dog’s nose and temperament take us.

We’ll spend the first few minutes letting your dog get used to me, my assistant if I bring one, and the lens.