Today we have our friend Krista from Ruff Adventures sharing how she manages to take the most difficult of clients (your pup!), and add them into your photoshoot! If you have been considering adding your four legged friends to your upcoming photo session, or maybe you just need some updated photos of your pet, Krista is here to help!
From the expert herself-
Photographing dogs is something I have been practicing since my parents bought me my first camera in 1990. I took countless photos of our pets and to this day I still have a few favorites that stand out in my head. My favorite picture was taken with a disposable camera of my Boston Terrier Buster in a mud puddle playing with a basketball twice his size. He is covered in mud and smiling from ear to ear. Documenting our dog’s soft ears, funny quirks and loving nature is important to my clients and myself. Our dogs are our best friends and it’s important to have portraits of them so you can look back and see those puppy eyes, those sun kissed whiskers and the lazy old bones who have been with you through thick and thin.
Getting pictures of dogs can be challenging and so many people say, “How the heck did you get my dog to sit still?” and I tell them what worked for their dog. It’s no secret that I use different tools and tricks to get the perfect picture.
Here are my top three tricks that will get your dog looking and posing for the camera.
- Get their energy out!
A tired dog is a happy dog. Both physical and mental work can tire your dog out so that you can spend a few minutes snapping away getting the perfect shot. A long walk, the dog park or tricks and training will surely get their energy out. I took Buddy on his 4 hour Ruff Adventure and the first image is one of my all time favorites but he’s far away and wanted nothing to do with my camera. I used it to my advantage and captured a beautiful moment at sunrise. Two hours later I was able to capture his goofy personality and wet nose up close for his parents. He was tired and let me work my magic while he rested and rolled about happily.
- Leash stake!
You can buy a leash stake at a hardware store for under $20 and it’s magical. You twist the stake into the ground and secure your dogs leash to the stake. If you have a puppy, a bolter or a dog that has more energy than you can possibly get out than I recommend this tool hands down. Once the dog is safely secured you can walk away and when you turn around you have a dog that is looking right at you thinking “whoa whoa whoa…where are you going?!” and in a few minutes you can get some fun shots. You can position the leash down the dogs back if you don’t want to see it; I use Photoshop to edit leashes. Charlie was just 10 weeks old when we photographed him at Butler Park and we used the leash stake during his session. He peeked around this tree and I melted into a puppy loving puddle. He’s just the sweetest but without that leash stake I wouldn’t have been able to capture this image for his parents because he wanted to be in my lap giving me kisses. Leash stake to the rescue!
- Treats or Rewards
Having treats on hand that your dog doesn’t normally have is key to getting their attention. Whether it’s cheese, peanut butter, hotdogs or chicken jerky, your dog will be ready to pose the day away with anything stinky or delicious. I also use owners as rewards for dogs who are owner obesessed. I’ll have the owner stand behind me and praise them and the dogs just love it. Slider came to see me with her Dad for a tribute session when she was diagnosed with kidney disease and in every portrait you can see her looking at her Dad lovingly behind me. The portrait of them together isn’t forced and you can feel their love without asking them to look at me or pose for the camera. They were having a real moment together and her Dad will cherish this portrait the rest of his life. Slider could have cared less about the snacks I brought, in fact she buried the cheese I gave her.
So get creative and see what trick your dog responds best to ensure you get some awesome portraits of your best friends. If you can’t seem to get your dog to cooperate call a professional and we can help!