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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Things I learned as a pet photographer

I spent several years running a part time pet photography business and while I had a blast and met some awesome people, I did learn a few things that I think you should know:

(1) Dogs do not magically become obedient when they walk into a photography studio.  If anything they become like tiny toddlers on a sugar high.  They want to put everything in their mouths and maybe even pee on a few things.

If your dog does not sit and stay at home, he is NOT going to sit and stay in my studio.  If he doesn't hold toys in his mouth at home, he isn't going to take one in the studio.  If you thought I was a magical instant dog trainer I'm sorry, you came to the wrong place.

If, however, you were hoping for a lot of photos of half of your dog walking out of frame or photos of your various limbs trying to hold your dog in place then you are IN LUCK! we're great at that.

(2) Cats are not poseable.  They are creatures of mystery who will kill you in your sleep if you let them.  If you thought you were getting a photo of a posed cat sitting in a santa suit because you took the cat and the santa suit to a photo studio you are an idiot.

Also your cat will likely succeed in killing you in your sleep as punishment for trying.

I am a photographer, not God, I cannot preform miracles.  I do photograph cats but its what you might call "lifestyle photography."  It looks like this:

Not like this: (okay well this cat WAS poseable but he is unique, and awesome.)

(3) Similar to #1, if you wanted a photo of your newborn puppy sitting perfectly in a basket you came to the wrong place.  You should maybe try to find a magic lamp because that's the only way I know of to get unrealistic wishes grated.  Month old puppies do not sit and stay.  They do this when you put them in a basket:

(4) My least favorite request is "I just want a good photo of him with his mouth closed" its not that this is an unrealistic request for most dogs, its that if the owner is requesting this, it means the dog never freakin closes his dang mouth.

 Again, I am not God, I cannot make your dog close his mouth if he doesn't want to.  Besides, if you're dog likes his tongue hanging out, let him!  He's chill, he's cool, he hangs loose!  Go with it.

Whats even worse though?  When I spend an hour shooting photos of your dog, and I deliver you the photos a week later and then you drop the bomb "oh, sorry, I should have told you, I only wanted photos with his mouth closed." Tell your photographer your "must have" expectations BEFORE the shoot.  Or even during!  But not after you get the photos...

(5) And finally, to end on a educational note, if you are getting photos of your dog taken then set your sights on something that shows his or her personality.  Don't come in with preconceived notions of what you want, just let him be himself!  Its so much more fun for everyone:

Whats up?

**if you are considering getting pet photography done, you definitely SHOULD, and know these opinions are my own and probably not the opinions of the photographer you hire.  Also in case you didn't pick up on this, these opinions are mostly for comic effect**


  1. Oh my god, that pug and the kitty in the tshirt are SO SWEET. Gotta agree with you - it's best to just let the personality shine through! That's what you'll want to remember, anyways...

  2. HAHA I love this! ...and my cat is definitely the type to kill you in your sleep LOL but I love her!

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  4. "It's amazing how much happiness and comfort a simple purr or wagging tail can bring."