I was recently at the Saskatoon Pet Expo and I had a ton of people come over and enjoy my photos and say something along the lines of "I wish my pet would sit still for photos" or "My dog is way too crazy for that". I would then ask them to guess how many of the pets I had in my photos on display I had asked to "sit and stay" for. No one could guess!
There were 2 photos in my whole display where I had asked the dogs to sit and stay. There's no asking a cat to sit and stay! The only time I might need to do this is when there are more than one pet and we want to get a shot of them all together. I have many other much more fun methods of getting great photos of your dogs! I do have a small studio, and if I do use it for pets, it's to get a simple shot like the one below. I don't use props unless it's something simple to sit on.
So how do I do it? The first, and what I believe is one of the most important parts, is meeting your pet in your home or another location before the session. I come without my camera and just hang out with them and get to know them. They also get to know me so I'm not a stranger meeting them for the first time with a big camera in front of my face following them around during the session. I have found that this makes a huge difference with the end result!
Then we choose a good location for your pet. My favourite place for dogs is somewhere they can run and be free, like a dog park. Some dogs don't do well off leash or with other dogs so other options are a dog friendly park on-leash, your backyard or home, or any other location your dog is most comfortable in. If you have pets on an acreage near Saskatoon, I will come out to you for no extra charge! For cats, I come to your home. Cats usually don't enjoy leaving their house and I find I get beautiful, relaxed photos this way. If your cat does happen to be very outgoing and takes to new things well, I do have a home studio available. The home location also applies to birds and other exotics.
Now say, for example, we choose an off leash dog park. The first half of the session they just run free and play! I bring squeaky balls and treats, and owners are welcome to bring some as well. I use the same lens I use for sports, and we get lots of action shots! We'll also play with them, and I have lots of tricks to get those shots where they are still, but not being forced to do anything at all. They don't even know they are part of a photo session! For cats, I just hang out with them and let them go about their business. Lots of times I'm playing with them with a toy and taking photos at the same time!
The second half of the session is when the dogs have gotten their energy out and I can focus on nice portraits and head shots. I still try to not ask them to sit and stay, but get their interest in something they love instead. If we do require some sit and stay photos, or photos with the owners, this is when I do them. If your dog has the attention span of a fly, and doesn't really care about toys, noises, food, or even their name, it can still happen! I actually recently had a session with 2 dogs exactly like this and I still ended with a normal amount of images for their gallery that I was very happy with. The photo below is from that session! If I need to take some extra time and be patient, I will! I'm not done until I'm happy with what I've taken!
Now, what happens after the session is over? Once I have professionally enhanced your images, we meet for a viewing appointment where I show you all the images in full screen as well as show you my product samples. I also provide the link to your online gallery where you can see your photos any time, as most people can't choose right away! You can take as long as you need to order and I'm always available to give suggestions and answer any questions!