"Don't be so rambunctious," was her terminology for a little too much energy for the situation at hand.
I have heard from a few potential clients, "oh, my dog is not so well-behaved to sit for any type of portrait photo." Let me share something with you: even very well-trained dogs may have a problem with it.
1. Fear of or obsessive interest in new places/new things.
2. So many scents, so little time.
3. Those crazy lights.
4. General beyond happiness personality every day of the week.
I fully understand, and I have come prepared.
My official boot camp came from my experiences working with shelters. It was invaluable. Shelter dogs, out of their kennels, are sooooooooooooo happy to be out of them, and sooooooooooo happy for the attention, it becomes a challenge to get the two seconds needed for an expressive photo.
But it's never impossible.
Here's what I learned in boot camp.
- scout out your background beforehand (maybe a nice grassy area, or a fence nearby)
- if setting up a staged area, be sure the dog is walked by a volunteer prior to their photo
- bring high value treats or toys
- let the dog become familiar with your equipment and you
- work slowly; have patience
- it's safety first: always use leashes!
It's also why I do this next thing.
Set Up a Preliminary Consultation
This is by far a good usage of one hour. In a preliminary consult, the client brings his/her dog to the studio for a sit down chat, at which time the dog is only there to explore what the studio is about, and I get to observe the dog and its owner together.
This is definitely my path to success with dogs who have their own rules about sit and stay.
We also walk the grounds near the studio and give the dog a chance to sniff and explore the outside areas, where photographs are also possible. Some dogs just don't like confinement between four walls.
Or, we meet at the place a client tells me is their dog's favorite spot, and I do my preliminary consult there, getting to know the client, the dog, and their favorite place to be. I use this type of meeting to scout out good locations for photographs and note sun positioning at the time of day we meet.
My Bag of Tricks
Dog photographers often have mounds of experience with many types of animals, and they apply that experience to each individual situation.
I have a bag of tricks that are my go too items to grab a dog's attention, and while I never like to overuse them, there is enough variety to have at least one work with any given dog. They include:
- noise makers
- duck calls
- lure stick
- remote control shutter release
Unsure? Give me a call. Let's talk, and get that lovely photo of your prized possession(s) on your wall.
Click Into the Circle
I am part of a weekly blogging group of professional pet photographers located all over the planet. To see what others have blogged about in this week's topic, start here with St. Cloud, Twin Cities & Central MN dog photographer, Cahlean Klenke's blog post: My dog's not well behaved - how to make the best of your session with About A Dog Photography!
Then find the link at the end of each blog to click on to the next photographer. Enjoy and have a great weekend!