Ever wondered what exactly goes on during a pet photography session?
Today I take you behind the scenes and demystify the process a little bit for you. You’ll get a glimpse behind the curtain and learn what happens during a pet photography session.
In essence, your session can be broken up into 3 main parts.
Part 1: Introductions
The session is usually the first time that we are meeting in person and the first time that I'm meeting your pets. As such, I like to take a little time at the beginning of the session before I start shooting to introduce myself to both you and your pet.
I'll talk to you a little bit about how the session will run and what you can expect. I give you some pointers on things: like how to hold the lead, what I may need you to do while we're shooting to keep your pet's attention or where I may need you to stand while I take their photo.
I'll also ask again whether you pet has any dietary restrictions or allergies as well as any physical ailments that I should take note of.
These are questions that I have already asked in the questionnaire but I like to go over it again at the start of the session so that I can either clarify what you've said in the questionnaire or to give you another chance to mention anything you may have forgotten.
I like to know of any potential issues or restrictions so that I can plan ahead with the types of photos I can take safely, so that I don't inadvertently place your pet in a situation that makes them uncomfortable.
We'll also discuss the general plan of how the session will run and some of the areas that I want to photograph your pet in. I also talk about how that plan will likely deviate somewhat since we’re working with animals and how’s that’s normal and to be expected - not something to worry about :)
I also like to see if the pet parents have any questions for me. Often this is the first time that the owners have had a pet photography session so it can be a little overwhelming. I like to check in and make sure that the owners are comfortable and excited about the session rather than anxious and nervous about what they'll have to do.
During this time I'll also be watching your pet and how they interact not only with their owners but with me and other people and pets. This gives me a sense of your pets personality and comfort levels.
I also introduce myself to your pet during this time. If possible, I like to play with them for a little bit before we start shooting.
This is important as it builds up a trust between your pet and I and establishes me as someone fun for your pet. This help’s later on while I’m shooting as they'll be more comfortable with me and my camera.
After the introductions and play time we move into...
Part 2: The Photoshoot
During the photoshoot we'll be walking around and shooting in a few different locations throughout the session. This is done for two reasons:
i) So that you will have variety in your images, backgrounds and locations
ii) To break up the session for your pet so that they don't become bored
In each different location we'll try multiple set ups and often I'll have you repeat an action a few times. For example, I may have you walk to a certain point further away from me and then walk back towards me as I take some photos, then I may have you repeat that again a few times.
I'll often give you some tips on how I need you to stand or hold the lead if it's a posed portrait. Plus guide you on where I need you to stand or how you can help me to gain their attention. Or the reverse, when I need their attention to be focused on me rather than you.
If it's a more natural look that I'm after then I'll ask you to play with your pet so that I can get some candids of you together.
It's important during this time for your energy to be calm and to not to stress out over the little things like your dog not looking or standing where you want them to.
This is inevitable. Your dog won't cooperate fully the entire time and that's fine. I prepare for and expect that.
I find that those moments are great for capturing their doggy selves but I understand that it can be frustrating for pet parents who often think that I need their focus to be on me 100% of the time. That's not true and often a lot of the great photos come when they aren't looking at me.
Plus, I'll often be using those distractions to my advantage and I’ll situate your pet in a place where I know they'll be looking in a certain direction as they want to 'watch' something.
So it’s important to stay calm and not get stressed over these moments, as your dog can sense your energy level and when you get stressed, they get stressed too.
During this time we'll also be taking be taking multiple breaks. These will be play breaks, explore breaks, drinking breaks - whatever type of break that your pet may need.
By incorporating breaks into the session, it gives your dog a chance to run, play and be their doggy selves. It also allows them a break so that they don't become stressed and uncooperative.
Plus the breaks give me a great opportunity to either play and interact with your pet so that we can build on our relationship, or it gives me a chance to capture some more natural, candid photos.
Part 3: After The Session
I give you a basic timeline. I'll explain to you what happens next, how long it takes to edit the images and when you can expect to see the photos.
I also let you know how you can book your Ordering Appointment. And go through a little bit of what that process looks like, go over what products I offer again.
You receive all of this information in an email that I send you after the session as well. That way you don't have to remember everything off the top of your head :)
Finally - If you have any other questions, I'll answer them here too.
And that's it - a behind the scenes look at my pet photography sessions. Hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into what a pet session entails.
If you're thinking of booking your own session you can contact me here.
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