8 quick tips to help you prepare your dog for their photo session

8 Quick Tips to Help Prepare Your Dog for their Photo Session

8 Quick Tips to Prepare your Dog for their Photo Session with your professional Dog Photographer

You are excited, you’ve booked your professional photography session with your dog and the big day is fast approaching with your chosen dog photographer! What on earth you should do to prepare! Here are 8 quick tips to help you prepare your dog for their photo session.


The finished photos from your dog’s photo session will look so much better if you pay attention to your dog’s grooming requirements prior to the big day. For many dogs, especially short haired breeds, this may just involve a bath, a brush and perhaps a nail trim a day or two before the session. For longer haired breeds it can involve more. You will be the best to decide whether your dog will need to be professionally groomed before the session.

If your dog is fluffy or long-coated, grooming makes all the difference in the final images. In any case, if you want them looking great in the photos, so please ensure they’ve been thoroughly brushed, and their coat is free of matting, tangles, dirt, and debris.  If you like your dog clipped, at least a week out is best to reduce any markings from the clipping and allowing the clip to settle in.

Pay particular attention to any fur around the eyes. This will make all the difference to ensure heart-warming photos of your dog, and as they say, the eyes are the windows to the soul. It is much harder to obtain great focus on a dog whose eyes are hidden by fur!

If you choose me as your preferred dog photographer, I can’t guarantee they will come out of the session sparkly clean, but if we are shooting near the water, we will make sure to get the key portraits and family portraits before we let them loose in the water!


How does your dog’s collar look? Would you like it to be shown in their photographs? If it is looking a bit old and tired or a colour that overpowers the natural beauty of your dog, consider treating your dog to a new collar that harmonises with their colouring. Remember, the collar will show in photographs, whereas the leashes can generally be edited out for any final images in preparation for the artwork.

If you have a collar with your dog’s name and your phone number embroidered on it, ensure the collar has been washed prior to the session and is fitted with the dog’s name in the direction of the head, not the body. Otherwise, the name will look upside down in the images.

Feel free to bring along a few bandannas or other accessories if you have some favourites you’d like included in some of the photos.

Daisy in Red

A few of their favourite things

Does your dog have a favourite toy or other cool treasure they adore? Bring it along to their photo session. Adding personal touches throughout the session can make a real difference in telling your dog’s story through meaningful photographs. This is especially important if you are considering purchasing a photo book or album, as these little things add to your dog’s story.

Dogs and their favourite toys - Senior French Bulldog

Training and Assistance

Whilst basic training such as sit, stand, drop, stay, and come definitely help the session go more smoothly, with outcomes similar to those featured throughout our website, if your dog is not fully trained, we will still get some great photos. However, if your dog has had little, if any, basic training, it’s a great idea to invest some time in the weeks leading up to the photo session, teaching them a few basics.

If I had to choose two, it would be sit and stay. A little training goes a long way with regard to the enjoyment you, your dog, and I, the dog photographer, will get from the experience. I’ll also be calling on you to assist at times during the photo session to help position them and direct their attention.

I’ll spend some time with your dog before I start shooting to build rapport, get them used to my camera, and get some cuddles, too! I have lots of tricks up my sleeve to get their undivided attention.


I use healthy, ethical treats during the session to build rapport and engagement with your dog and also to reward them for the desired behaviour. I always carry a stash of treats, but if your dog is picky or has dietary restrictions, please bring something special that they love! Tiny pieces work best.

If your dog is not particularly treat-motivated, you may decide not to feed them before the session so they are extra hungry and interested in what I have to offer. I can also use toys and other methods to get their undivided attention to strike an engaging pose.

Healthy ethical treatsWater

Make sure you pack your dog’s travel bowl and water. We have plenty of refreshing, filtered rainwater to top you up if needed. We also have bottled water available if you get thirsty too.

Energy Levels

The best state for a dog to be in for their photo session is for their energy level to be average, meaning they are happy to play and also quite content to sit contentedly when asked.  Every dog is different, and you, as their parent, are the best one to determine how to prepare them for the day.

If your dog is a high-energy dog, please exercise before the session or arrive a little early and walk up along our farm’s fence line.  If your dog is older or has a lower energy level, please ensure they are well rested before the session. Your dog will undoubtedly be excited about being in a new place and new experience, and we’ll get down to photography more quickly if they are prepared according to their energy levels.


If you have any suggestions or ideas for shots that you would particularly like, please inform me in the questionnaire and planning consultation to give me time to prepare – but also remind me on the day! Animals can be unpredictable to work with, so please do not be disappointed if we are unable to achieve the shot you had in mind.

Have these eight quick tips to help you prepare your dog for their photo session spurned you into action to think about booking your dog in for a photo session? If so, check out this blog post all about the Discovery Call.

Ready now, then book now. I offer sessions on our farm or in our local area, such as the beautiful dog-friendly beaches around Forster NSW.

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch!

Learn more about our beautiful Barrington Coast.

Artboard 1 copy

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