Tips: Taking Your Dog For Professional Pictures

Around this time of year many moms and dads of small dogs and other pets bring their furbabies to get their picture taken.  Just today I got anPedro the Chihuahua invite in my e-mail to the local mall letting me know that Santa now allows pet pictures on Monday nights.

This made me recall the first time I brought Pedro my chihuahua to get his picture taken at the local mall photography store. Pedro was about a year and a half old and quickly growing out of his cute puppy attributes. Luckily I had my sister and her friend come with me or else I would be in real trouble. Pedro was reckless!  A young little adventurous pup, he wanted to sniff everything. He was running out of the frame and grabbing props that were normally for children. With the help of my sister and her friend we were able to corral him into the scene and get a few good pictures out of it.

The next time I brought Pedro for pictures, I was alone unfortunately.  The local small pet shop was hosting a photographer where the sitting fee went to charity. This time I thought ahead and was prepared before I registered Pedro for the pictures.

  • Do your Research! I researched the photographer and made sure he was “animal friendly”. My first experience at the generic mall photo store was done by a young photographer who mostly worked with children. This time I checked out his website which included a ton of excellent shots of various animals alone and with their owners. It comforted me to know that he is familiar working with “moving objects” aka dogs and his experience would help him get a better shot.
  • Bring a few outfits. Personally I like my small dog in the buff, but it is also good to bring a few different shirts and collars to switch things up a bit. Originally the photographer at the pet store was shooting Pedro with just a collar, but he suggested removing the collar and putting Pedro’s hoodie on that he wore in (it was very cold that day). The dog hoodie picture turned out to be my favorite! So don’t be afraid to switch things up!
  • Potty time! Get your chi to pee! Take them for a potty break just before going in for photo time. This way they can’t mark on anything or if they get too excited there will not be any accidents. Or if their stomach will not be in the shot, try a belly band.
  • Bring a buddy! Although it may not always be feasible, try and bring someone to help you. Pedro is a mover – so the second time around I was trying to get his attention to the camera and keep him steady all at the same time. Having an extra set of hands around to help wouldn’t hurt.
  • Grooming. Make sure your small dog or chihuahua is well groomed. Nails trimmed, ears cleaned, try and get rid of any tear stains and bring a washcloth or tissue in case they get some eye crusties while they are there.
  • BRING TREATS!!! This one is probably the most important. I brought a few pieces of chicken along with me to get Pedro’s attention and make him work for the treat.  The chicken was able to get his eye contact with the camera, keep him in a “sit, stay” and reward him for when he was doing a good job being a dog model. Even the photographer was praising me for bringing treats – he thought it was a great idea!
  • Kisses – if you are going to be in the photo and want your dog to do a “puppy kiss” action shot; bring some peanut butter and put a dab on your cheek. They will try to lick it off!
  • Digital Images – Our photographer was great…we had so many awesome shots and there was a specific one that I wanted to post as my Facebook profile picture. Unfortunately I was trying to stay in a budget and digital copies of a photo was an extra fee. I let the photographer know how much I adored the photo and understanding the whole facebook thing, he sent me over a low-resolution image of my favorite pose (a high-resolution image would be needed for me to re-print the photo so this was ensuring I would not be making copies on my own). In turn I posted a link in the description of the photo to his photography Facebook page… which possibly could direct more business to him. So don’t be afraid to ask!

If you have taken your chihuahua or other small breed dog to get their photo taken and have any additional tips or tricks for our viewers out there please post them in the comments section. Thank you!

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