A question that often gets asked of me, when an enquiry comes through, is “what if my dog can’t be let off lead during my photoshoot?”.
Whilst it could be that the dog is still quite young and hasn’t quite got a hand of recall, or they are older and might be a little wary of strange locations and people. They might just be a flight risk and it’s for their own safety.
The absolute most important part of the service I deliver is a safe environment for my client and their dogs. So it’s vital that we make sure the dogs aren’t put at any risk whilst still creating stunning portraits of them. As a professional dog photographer, I’ve developed editing skills that help me keep dogs safe, whilst still delivering beautiful images that are “lead-free”.
As part of my pre-shoot session guide, I advise clients that they can retain their own collar if needed. I can then attach an adapted lead of my own, which is thin enough to make it that much easier to remove in Photoshop afterwards.
If the dog requires a harness during the photo session, the sheer size of them can often prove hard to remove digitally. So I do ask that clients bring a collar along too. That way we can swap the dog in and out of the harness when it’s needed for walking between the different spots in the shoot. But, we still have an easy way of removing the lead at the end. If a harness has to stay in place, then for an additional fee I can arrange for this to be removed by digital editing specialists.
As you can see with this Wire-haired Hungarian Vizsla puppy, the use of a show slip lead means that we can keep the dog safe but the removal process is much easier. The other benefit is that the lead often disappears into the dog’s neck fur and we can very easily give the impression the dog was ‘naked’ and not on a lead at the time of the shoot.
We can also use the features available in our editing software to remove the client, if needed, from the image.
Here, you can see, that the client had to hold two slip leads so that we could align the dogs together for this feature wall art shot. Clever use of a treat controls the direction of their gaze. I wouldn’t be able to photograph wide-angle, show the big skies, and not still capture an element of the client in the shot. So we work our magic once again and gone are the client’s arms, legs and whatever else can be seen that shouldn’t be in the finished image.
But what about studio rather than outdoor sessions?
That chance of a dog escaping and running off miles into the Welsh countryside is not going to be an issue during a studio session. But we do sometimes need to use a lead to keep the dogs in position for a specific image.
I always want to provide the perfect experience for my clients, whichever session they decide to book.
As much as I would have liked my 9 week old puppy to have had a perfect sit, that really wasn’t the case. So we actually used a slip lead for this chair shot. My wife was hidden behind the chair too, but you would never have known.
Recommendations and reviews
I’m grateful that my clients are keen to let others know about their experience with me and provide such lovely feedback like that shown below.
It makes me so happy that I can deliver such an experience to my clients and know that they have artwork to cherish for many years to come.