Great question! You should plan to groom your dog a few days to a week before the session. Eyes are the window to the soul and you should make sure that there are no clumps of fur covering your dog's eyes unless that's typical of the dog's breed. If your animal is white and has tear or beard stains, consider using a product designed to safely minimize the red or brown discolorations under the eyes.
Do you use treats?
Yes, I use premium made in the U.S.A. or Canada treats but food is not our first preference in working with your dog for photos (although we like to reward them!). We do carry dog peanut butter and usually have a selection of duck-pork-chicken-beef-and-lamb treats. If your dog has special needs or preferences, please make sure to have your own treats. Just in case.
Will I be in the photos or just my dog?
That’s entirely up to you! Take a look at our Pets and People gallery to see some examples of pets and people together. Be advised, though, I'm not a children's photographer, I'm primarily a pet photographer. Our sessions are about the pets and the relationship between the pets and their people, not family portraits that happen to include the dog.
OK, I’m thinking about being in the picture. What should I wear?
Solid colors that contrast with your animal’s fur is preferable. You don’t want to blend in together. And patterns detract from the faces so solid colors are best. If there are two humans, instead of being Matchy McMatcherson, try for complementary colors. But what the heck, why not you be you? Wear what makes you happy. Seriously.
How long does a session last?
Typically, 90 minutes or so, which includes setting up and taking down of the equipment, having your pet become accustomed to my presence, and the shooting itself. But I'm not gonna rush you. It takes what it takes and we're happy to be there, camera in hand. But usually dogs will let you and me know when they're done. They get tuckered and will likely want a nap. You too.
I’m not sure of the sizes I want.
As part of the pre-shoot consultation, we will ask about the areas of your home that you want the images for… whether it’s a vertical, horizontal or square space and how large the area is you’ll want your portrait. We'll take pictures of the rooms you're interested in having portraits and we'll design a layout with images of your pets on your walls. And we will also go through some of the color and style options we have if you decide you want to use one of our backgrounds. We have modern backgrounds running the gamut from whimsical to grunge to elegant that can complement both your animal’s coloring and your home’s style.
Portraits? That sounds so formal; we’re kind of casual people.
Portraits can range from formal to casual lifestyle images. I've photographed hikers and dogs, beach dogs running, and dogs or cats on living room couches with or without owners. I can capture your pets in their home environment, being the animal you know and love. If you just wake up on a Saturday morning, put on a pair of jeans, and grab the leash to go for coffee, I can show you and your day. If you are park people, let’s go. If your pet stares out the window with beautiful light streaming in, I've got you covered. If you want your dog against a background that would look great as an art piece in your home, we shoot that. It's your shoot. You tell me what you're seeking.
I like to dress up my dog. Can you shoot that?
Yes! If you have a set of tops and tails or pearls and a tutu, let’s go for it. We have a limited supply of props that we can discuss with you but it is best you style your dog yourself. Hey, we can’t wait to see what you’ve got! Any excuse to go shopping, right? It's for the dog! I have a cute selection of cat hats, too. Maybe for tiny dogs, we'll see. We love Etsy and buy many of our props there.
Can you train my dog to sit still for the photo?
No, we're not dog trainers, we can only do what you can do with your pet. We prefer your dog knows sit and stay commands but we can work with the unruly as well. If you want your dog to learn a specific trick or just be better behaved for your session, we can provide you with the names of trainers we work with and admire.
Why don’t you just sell digital images?
We do, but we are strong believers in creating a lasting piece of art, the kind you would grab from the wall in case of a disaster (after everyone else is safe, of course). We personally know the value of having a tangible image to hold in our hands, to admire on the walls, to leaf through in a beautiful book, especially after our beloved pets have passed on.
We believe there is no safety in having just digital images and it is our experience very few people do anything with those images except maybe create wallpaper on their computer or use them for Facebook or other social media and we can give you that when you order your portraits. We offer quality products that you will cherish. We do realize our clients have a need for digital files and we offer digital images with all of our wall portraits and both high and low resolution collections. We hope you are commissioning us to create a portrait with you and for you that will take your breath away.
I'm excited now! How long does it take to get my portraits?
Please allow up to three weeks to receive your portraits and up to six weeks to receive photo albums. The full price of the prints is due in full at the time of ordering and because these are custom products, there are no refunds. There are payment plans available to make our products affordable to anyone who wants unique and cherished memories of their beloved animals.
We aren't for everybody and we know it. But we hope you see the value and creativity we can offer you and your pet to create a portrait you will love every day.