How to Prepare for A Photo Session With Your Dog


The bond between people and their dogs is unlike any other.

From a rambunctious romp at your favorite State Park to a snuggle session at home, I aim to capture the unique spirit of your pet and that special connection you share.

Commemorating your furry family member with archival imagery is truly an investment of a lifetime – the photographs we take together will become a beautiful, treasured reminder of your amazing pet for many many years to come.

Good news! I have over 10 years of professional experience photographing pets and their humans! I take a natural approach to images, working closely with you to create the images of your dreams.

The following blog post is a list I’ve created over my years of experience to help you prepare for photo day and get your pet looking their best.

I look forward to working with you and your furry family members to create an unforgettable experience!

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Bath Time!

Although the doggy may disagree, grooming your pup the day before the shoot helps your doggo to look his finest. It also allows you to prepare for the shoot ahead of time and gives your pet a chance to relax between big events (i.e. a bath and the photoshoot itself). The bathing process may also tire-out your pooch, which will be good for our time together the next day. If you’re hiring a professional groomer, schedule your appointment for either the day before.


Brush Brush Brush!

For dogs with long coats, I recommend thoroughly brushing with a doggy hair brush to remove any dead hairs, mats, and tangles. Brushing your dog after a bath as well as the day of the photoshoot will help your furry friend look his finest! For shorter coats, a bath with good shampoo is generally all that’s needed.


Take Them to A Professional

If you aren’t comfortable grooming their own pet, a professional pet stylist is the only way to go! A professional will have experience in bathing, blow drying, and trimming that makes a big difference on camera. Professionals may also perform important maintenance for your beloved fur-pal, such as removal of hair from the ears or a nail trim. I have a great list of talented and compassionate groomers and can provide references upon request!


Final Touches 

For the DIY groomers: on the day of the photoshoot, I recommend brushing your pet again to smooth the hair and make it shine! Leave-on conditioners available at any pet store can add a wonderful sheen to your pet’s coat. Make sure to take a damp towel and gently clean around your pet’s eyes to remove any mucus that might have built up overnight.

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Feel Free to Bring Accessories!

Beautiful collars, toys, and props can add a lot of personality to your session and help to tell the story of your beloved pet. Leather, brightly colored classic toys (such as red balls, rope toys, tennis balls for larger dogs, and bone-shaped treats), sparkly name tags, and cute accessories look great on camera. Some even go as far as to paint puppy’s nails!


Pack Early

I highly recommend packing a bag of items needed for the shoot the day before to avoid any last-minute rushing! You’ll need: plastic potty bags, pooch’s favorite treats, brush or comb for touch-ups, a water bowl (for Fido) and a water bottle (for you!), a small squeaky toy, wet wipes, and a dry towel.


A Tired Dog is A Good Dog

A tired pet is a behaved pet, so make sure to take pooch for a walk or let him out for a good romp before the session. Lower energy levels during the session will help your pet to be less nervous and easier to work with in front of the camera. If your pet is on the high energy side, I even recommend a big romp both the day before and the day of to make sure they’re extra relaxed during the shoot!


No Meals Right Before The Session

It’s a good idea to feed Fido less at least a few hours before the shoot (if not longer) to help keep energy levels manageable and encourage good behavior! When a pet is a little hungry, they will be more inclined to behave for treats, so I would avoid feeding them right before our session.


Advice for the Humans

If you’re planning to be a part of the photoshoot, I’m excited! Let me know in advance so I can help you plan a few outfit choices. Try choosing nice but casual clothing in neutrals so as not to distract from your pet. And for human grooming – looking your best is just as important as getting Fido prettied up! I have several (human) stylists I’ve worked with in the past and do a fabulous job of hair and makeup. On the included referral card is a list of hair and makeup artists to get you looking amazing.


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Milwaukee Wisconsin Dog Photographer | Studio 29 Photography Dog Photography

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  1. […] my photography blog I have this same tip for my clients when they book me for a photography session with their dog, “A tired pet is a behaved pet, so make sure to take your pooch for a walk or let him out for […]

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