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"5 Tips for Getting Your Pet Camera-Ready for a Photo Session"

So you've finally done it! You've booked your dream photo session with me and your beloved companions!

If you booked online, and filled out the handy-dandy form, I will be contacting you within 24 hours via phone call. If we have already spoken and your session date has been confirmed, it's time to talk prep!

Lucky for you, I do the majority of the heavy lifting with prep. But, if you really want things to run smoothly, let's go over these essential tips for getting your pets camera-ready!

#1: Put their Best Paw Forward! Brush, Trim, & Clean Your Pet

I love when owners come to their session with their pet fresh from the salon, nails trimmed (no creepy talons please!), tear stains and eye boogies cleaned up, and a coat looking like a shampoo commercial!

It makes a really big difference in the final images, especially with long-hair dogs like collies, golden retrievers, and newfoundlands! Short haired dogs can get away with less grooming, but it's good to do a dander control shampoo if they show a lot of flakes, and make sure to trim those talons!

If your pet is super stressed out by grooming, make sure to do it a few days prior so they don't carry that stress to their session. If you must skip it altogether than at least do a light brushing if your dog has long hair. Most importantly, do what works for your pet and keep it low stress for them.

That being said, don't expect them to stay squeaky clean in the Colorado wilderness, especially if your session includes a waterdog. Waterdog sessions are probably the only ones I don't feel need a pre-groom.

#2: For the Hyper Pups: Burn off Excess Energy to Keep them Focused & Calm:

For the formula-1 racers-you know who you are! Let them run around and get their zoomies out before the shoot begins. Pets with high-energy need that burn-off to happen, you don't want them coming in hot. UNLESS, you really want action images, then bring as much heat as they can muster! Otherwise, get their regular exercise in for the day + some, but don't overdo it...keep the pet calm, not exhausted. Make sure they are well hydrated after all this activity, and be careful in heat, dogs overheat much more easily than you'd realize.

#3: For the Sugar Faces & Calm Furbabies: Keep the Activities Light Prior to Session:

For the turtle-mode babies 🐢 out there, keep the day chill! Play relaxing music, give them the attention and love they need, and enough exercise to keep them happy but not tired, and make sure they are getting plenty of water.

#4. Keep them a LITTLE BIT hungry: Only for the Foodies in the Family!

This is a really good strategy for food-driven pets. And do not misread me,I do not mean starve them! I mean, if our session is a sunset one at 6:30pm, and they usually eat dinner at 5pm, then give them half their normal amount or feed them a little earlier.

When I start using treats they will be super motivated and be eager to listen and work with me.

A few caveats, not all dogs are food motivated (still baffles my mind), and some dogs don't do well with treats because they actually get TOO buckets of drool, bulging eyes, and crying excited. Get the picture? 🤪

Luckily, that's like 10% of my clients, the other 90% love treats, don't get super drooley, and give the perfect alert and relaxed expression when I use them.

#5. Practice Some Tricks/Training: Not required but helpful :)

Sometimes people get frustrated or impatient when their pets don't cooperate right away. But trust me, this happens a lot and it doesn't worry me one bit.

My skills come in to use the power of distraction and surprise to essentially "trick" your baby into being the best little model there is. Whether I'm using a novel noise maker, a funny voice, an array of irresistible treats, or a visual toy or hand wave that their animal-eyes cannot ignore, I get them there with the split second of my camera. You won't even believe I got the shot until I show you.

That being said, It is super helpful when a pet has training, it just makes things go quick and smoothly, no major tricks required.

So if your pet knows some basic commands, here the best ones for a session: 1. Stay 2. Sit 3. Down 4. Come. Practice a couple of these at home before your session, ideally a couple weeks in advance and it will definitely help! Timing is very important with pet training, so make sure you are rewarding your pet exactly when they are doing the desired behavior! Sometimes people jump the gun and praise them when they are about to walk towards you in a "come", and they end up walking right past you! Make sure they understand the entire behavior from start to finish.

Remember, you don't have to have a trained pet for me to work with you. Most of the pets I work with have minimal training, a sit here, a fetch there, and many are puppies or cats...well, cats do what they want 😽 .

If you're ever in need of help or guidance, I am a phone call away. I treat your pet like my family, so don't ever hesitate to reach out. I got you!

Things to Bring to your Session:

  1. Extra Water

  2. Extra treats you know they LOVE

  3. Toys they adore

  4. An extra person to help hold a leash (if you're a big group, this is handy)

  5. A positive attitude, patience, and a smile, this is going to be so much fun!

Next BLOG: What to Wear for the Humans



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