Preparing for a Pet Portrait

October 08, 2013  •  Leave a Comment




More and more people are getting pet portraits of their furry friends and why not? They are a big part of the family and sometimes our closest companion. Our old girl, Ruby, has been with us for more than 16 years. She has had a lot of photos taken  in and out of the studio. She  is on our holiday cards, and we even post a birthday photo of her on Facebook. This might make us sound crazy, but we're not the only ones that do it , and we don't plan on stopping.

**Note. Our Ruby passed on in December 2013. We are so glad to have so many wonderful images of her. We look at them often.


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Ruby  (above)


Why spend money and time on a Pet Portrait?


I find myself thinking thinking about all the wonderful times we have shared with our dog. So yes, have professional portraits done, but also capture those every day moments. I have  had clients contact me at the end of their pets' lives and asked me to come photograph them before they have to say goodbye. I am more than willing to oblige, but it's great to capture pets when they are healthy and full of life, too.


I recently photographed a high school senior boy and his very young Lab (see images below). The dog was a little hyper and running around but we caught some fun action shots. Unposed images can be great too. The interaction really shows the relationship between the two at this time in their lives.


I have had clients tell me they could never get a good photo of their pet because it is black. Photographers have lighting equipment that can brighten up even the darkest face.


A pet portrait can be a wonderful gift for a friend or relative who's an animal lover. You really can't go wrong.


Nathan and Rainy below.


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Cassidy and Timber (left)                                              Dayelle and Nala (right)


If your getting ready to have your pet photographed (individually or with family) here are a few things to do before the session:

  • Groom pet. Shampoo (if possible) brush, clean out eyes. If you are taking your pet to the groomer I would suggest you take them in at least a day before.
  • Walk the dog around outside for several minutes so they can relax and do their business. Just like people, animals can become stressed when having their photos taken. 
  • Many cats and dogs respond to just a word, like walk or treat, to get their attention. But some pets need more of an incentive so if you know your pet has a special toy or treat that will get them perked up, please bring it.
  • Tell your photographer if your dog has any special needs. I have a slippery floor in my studio. Some older dogs  have a hard time staying upright on it, so I put some old rugs down for them to stand on while they are waiting. If a dog has bad vision and or hearing, it may require some extra work to get them to look toward the camera.
  • Keep in mind some pets do better in the studio where there are less distractions, while others are fine outside.
  • Pet portraits can be pretty hands on for the owner. Depending on your pet, it may need to put them back in place several times. If you have physical limitations or plan to be in the photo with your pet, be sure to bring someone along who is good at working with your pet.
  • If you will be photographed with your pet think about your outfit and what will coordinate with your pet. If your pet sheds a lot you may want to wear something that will camouflage the pet hair.
  • Pet sessions are fairly short. Actual shooting time may only last 10-20 minutes.
  • Accessorize. If your feeling fun, bring a cute outfit or bow for your pet. You can find almost anything on the internet. Here are some holiday images I have been pinning for inspiration on Pinterest.


Ornament and canvas below.

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I do photograph other animals too but dogs are the most common. Cats, reptiles (eek), hamsters... are all welcome too.



The Mootz family 2011

Please remember to support your local Humane Society and Animal Rescue groups.


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