Can I and the family be in the photographs?
That’s a question I sometimes get asked by my clients when they book a dog photography session with me. We enjoy amazing relationships with the dogs in our lives and we really should make sure that that is captured during the session too.
If you glance at my main galleries (location and studio) you will mainly see images of dogs. Perhaps there are the odd images that show elements of my clients from the session, but it’s most likely the dogs are the primary focus. But in reality, clients do ask to be included in at least some of the photographs I create for their final artwork.
As a photographer who actually started my professional business in wedding photography, I can apply those skills to any photographs that include both dogs and their owners. It’s the bringing together of both my skillsets.
You can see from the images below, whole families, small groups, one dog or more it’s all something I strive to capture during my pet photoshoots. Unless my client really requests the session to be all about them and their dog, it will only be a small part of the session as the dogs do come first.
How many pets can be included in the family photoshoot?
In my shoot consultation, clients are given the opportunity to request that I include dog and owner as an element of their session. It would be wrong of me to ever suggest that we can’t include all of the dogs in those images, so the answer to that question is ‘as many dogs as you are bringing along to the session’. I often have clients with 2-3 dogs in their pack, so that’s standard. But I have even had up to 20 for certain clients, so I’m game for how many you would like to include.
How do you capture the natural images?
We will work together to create the group shots, using the landscape to place everyone comfortably and to keep the dogs in place. But when it comes to the more natural-looking images which are often the ones that tug at the heartstrings when clients first see them, I like to let these happen a bit more organically.
It might be just having you pick up and hug your dog the way they like most. Comfort the puppy in your arms, let them rest on your shoulder. Or there might be certain words or ways you interact with your dog that allows me to quietly capture those beautiful images you will adore on the walls of your home. It can be something as simple as putting your hand to their ear and they just know how much you love them.
Can I just appear in the background instead?
This is a popular option with a lot of my clients. You could have the dogs ahead of you as you walk along the path, which is a nice relaxed way of reflecting how your normal time outdoors might be with them. Or they might be on a lead and still show you out of focus.
Where it does work particularly well is for the action photoshoot part of our time together. As you can see here, you can throw the toy, ball, dummy out ahead of you and I capture the dogs in full flight as per usual. It’s a great way of showing how you enjoy playing with your dogs and interacting with them on your walks.
What can I bring along to the shoot?
Something that clients who want to be in their shoot images with their dogs can do to embrace their own style and reflect the relationship they have with their pets, is clothing/props.
There absolutely isn’t a requirement to dress up for your “dog and me” element of the session, but often a favourite image clients select is the boots/legs shot. Why not mix it up with something a bit more colourful such as some super bright wellies, skirts or even a kilt…it’s really up to you.
Perhaps leave the high heels at home if we are doing the shoot out in the country park, but for studio or a city centre session go ahead.
Complimentary colours and country clothing really do work well for outdoor photo shoots. If you work or compete with your dog then you can include those elements too. Your pet photography session should reflect you and how you enjoy your time with your dogs, so I want you to be comfortable.
One option to create more arty images is to work with the light and create silhouette shots. These work really well for summer afternoon sessions, or with the light low in the sky on a winter morning.
Can we include our children in the dog photography shoot?
Dogs are very much part of our family and often grow up in tandem with our children. They build up a beautiful bond that they will talk about for many years after those dogs have left us. So it certainly is an element of these sessions that I will look to create for you. The stunning location I have a few minutes from my photography studio is a place that your children will love to visit and explore with their furry siblings.
How can I include my dogs in commercial shoots?
I love working with other dog photography businesses. Either working with you on your branding sessions, headshots or showing you demonstrating your dog skills are all things I’m able to capture for you. I’ve worked with drug-sniffing, conservation dogs, trainers, heelwork specialists and even a wine company for imaging that shows the dogs that are a part of their business.