Now that spring has finally made its long awaited arrival, it’s the perfect time to take your camera out and have a little spring photoshoot with all the bright, colourful flowers. It’s a photographers dream, how can anyone resist all that natural, vibrant beauty! I love seeing everyone’s spring photos over on Instagram, they always make me smile. That being said, no matter what time of year it is there’s always photo opportunities available, even on a miserable day. I have gathered up some of my own tips that I believe make photoshoots with pooches a lot easier.
[Please note that many flowers contain toxins that are harmful to dogs if consumed, so be vigilant]
Master basic commands
Teaching your pooch basic commands like ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ is the first step to making photo sessions an easier, quicker and more effective process. If the dog you’re photographing won’t sit still then you’ll potentially just end up getting stressed and frustrated. In my opinion, this is the most essential point out of them all, because these commands needs to be mastered to allow anything else to work effectively. Once you’ve mastered these commands, which I’m sure most dog owners have just for general safety purposes, then you can move on to more advanced ones that’ll allow more variation to your photos, like ‘rest head’. I’ve noticed that those type of photos always seems to attract a lot of attention, perhaps due to it being quite an endearing angle.
Bring an Incentive
Is your pooch treat or toy orientated? What’s the one thing they’d do anything for? Having an incentive will really help keep your dog focused because, understandably, if they have nothing to work for then what’s the point? They will get bored and find something better and more exciting to do instead. Therefore, notice what your dog likes and will work for the most and bring it along to the photo session. Hold the incentive directly above the camera lens so they look towards it and, hopefully, don’t get distracted by anything else around them. Remember, it’s important to have their ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ commands mastered first to ensure they don’t try to get to the incentive before being told that they can. Another thing we use when taking photos of Max, is counting down from three because he knows exactly what this means and it always makes him open his eyes nicely with excitement.
Excitement & Patience
I know it’s hard to stay positive if the photo session isn’t going as planned, but if your dog picks up on your frustration then they’ll most certainly lose interest because it’s not enjoyable. Whereas, if you have a positive attitude and an excitable tone then this should rub off on your dog too because they don’t want to miss out on any of the fun! Try not to get too disheartened if things aren’t going well, just have a break and try again later. Patience is crucial when working with animals, you can’t just tell them what to do in the same way you communicate with humans. Of course, you can communicate with them, but the way in which you do so is different, and sometimes they just decide ignoring you is way more fun! Although Max is a star most of the time, there are times when I have to be extra patient and increase the pitch of my tone to get his attention, this is mainly when there’s water around [typical spaniel!].
A helping hand
Plan ahead. If someone, e.g. a family member or friend, is able to come out with you to give a helping hand it will be much easier because there’ll be less things you have to do all at once. By working together, the person helping you can make sure the dog you’re photographing is looking at the camera so you’re ready to click and snap a photo as soon as the frame and composition is right. For me, my sister and I always walk Maximus together so she’s always available to help out. It really does make the process so much easier, quicker and stress-free!
Take breaks, for both you and your pooches sanity! Especially if the photoshoot is taking longer than expected. If you try to take a mass of photos all at once without any breaks then your dog is most likely going to get bored and frustrated, they would much rather be running around! They never signed up for this modelling job, so work with them and take breaks if need be to let them just be a dog. Breaks will also help to keep them focused during the photoshoot sessions, as well as keeping you more motivated. Luckily with Maximus, we rarely have to take breaks because our sessions are usually always quick with the help of the previous points.
I hope you find these tips beneficial. Let me know if you have any other tips thar you use to make photo sessions with your pooch easier!
Thanks for reading,
Charlotte & Maximus x