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  • Writer's pictureKarina Neill Photography

Tips for Better Pet Portraits

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

We share your excitement at having a portrait made of your pet. You can make the photoshoot for your pet a more enjoyable process by following a few simple guidelines.

You’ll make the portrait session more enjoyable for your pet, whether a pooch, bunny, kitty, or another animal. These guidelines require a little pre-planning.

A week before the shoot

About a week before your pet’s session, work with him or her to practice leash commands, such as sit and stay. Your pet will remain on a leash throughout the portrait session. We’ll simply edit the leash out of the photos.

During this time frame, also consider bathing your animal or taking your pet in for a grooming session. We suggest a week before the portrait session, so they still appear freshly groomed in regards to combing, brushing, or fur trim, but not so freshly done as to seem contrived.

If your pet has long fur that typically hangs in his or her eyes, now is the time to have it trimmed. Trimming the fur around the eyes ensures we can photograph your pet’s expressive eyes.

The night before/morning of the shoot

If you booked an early morning photoshoot, take your pet for a walk the night before. This lets them work off some excess energy. If you booked a photoshoot during the day, try to take your pet for a walk about an hour before the session. This also lets the animal burn off some excess energy and makes them easier to work with vis-a-vis posing.

The day of the shoot

Feed your pet about half the amount you typically would feed her or him. This ensures that she or he will respond to treats during the photo session.

Gather together your pet’s favorite toys, treats, collar, and leash. Also, bring with you some water and their bowls.

If you forget something

When we prepare for a pet photo session, we bring bottled water, treats, and a selection of pet toys and bowls. While your furry friend will probably enjoy playing with these, too, you might prefer to have your pet photographed with meaningful items.

The point of the extras

Beyond taking pictures of your pet with items you purchased for play, you know what attracts your pet’s attention. Your cat may not respond to squeaky toys but may adore the stuffed fish on a pole you purchased months ago. The toys don’t have to appear in the photos if you don’t want them to do so. The toys should attract your pet’s attention, so the photographer can get your animal to look in the appropriate direction and with its head up.

We reinforce good behavior and posing with treats. Although we bring our own, your pet might have special dietary needs. If so, bringing your own treats makes things go seamlessly.



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