Unfortunately, we can’t talk to animals to figure out what they’re thinking and feeling, so sometimes doing a photo shoot with a client’s pet can be nerve-racking. Luckily, there are great ways to get familiar with the animal and make it through the shoot problem-free.
- Always do a pre-consultation with owner and pet. Take time to sit down with the owner and find out what they want from the photo shoot. Will there be one animal present or multiple? Do they want a wall print or a personal album? During this time, allow the animal to wonder around the studio so it can sniff and get comfortable with the equipment. Don’t be afraid to get down on your knees and play with it, too!
- Make sure the dog can sit. You’ll never snap a photo of an untrained dog. Luckily, simple commands like “sit” can be taught to a dog in a quick 5 minutes. Don’t forget to show the client your methods of training their dog how to sit, so that the two can work on it together during the days leading up to the shoot.
- Research the breed. You can learn a lot about a dog based on its breed. Attitude and temperament can vary from breed to breed, so having an idea of what to expect is useful. For example, if a big, energetic dog comes, you may need to double-lock doors and other exits to make sure that they don’t escape. Doing this will also make your client feel more comfortable, and it will show them that you take their pet’s safety seriously.
- Read up on animal body language. Research as much as possible about the behaviors of the animal of the animal you’re photographing; learn how an animal acts when it’s uncomfortable, upset, or aggressive. Also watch out for certain triggers that will make some animals agitated.
- Stay educated. Stay updated on animal laws and news, and maybe adopt an animal of your own! Do whatever you can to stay educated in order to treat your clients’ pets the best you can.
Read the full article in Professional Photographer Magazine. And if you’re not already a PPA member, don’t forget to join PPA to get the latest advice and news in the photography world!