I am asked so many times, "how do you get the dogs to look at you" or "how do you get the dogs to pose"?
The only magic formula is "patience". I have an abundance of patience working with animals. I love seeing them transform in front of my lens. I love seeing pets respond to me and look straight into my camera lens.
Did you know, you can act a fool around a dog? They do not care. If you act goofy, make noises, dance around, toss some treats and tell them GOOD DOG. It's a PAW-ty and they are game. Now my human clients are probably thinking, what is this old woman doing??? Its even worse when I get the humans in the portrait. The first thing I say is, " yall smile, I am looking at the dogs!!"
Truth be told, pet parents are a big key to pet portrait sessions. Your pets are looking up to you. If you talk, they look at you. If you make a noise they look at you. Most of the time, pet parents
are holding the leash. (This is so important to hold the pet in place)
Multiple dogs are a bigger challenge. One dog will look and the other dog look away. Many times I have photos like these. M-A-N-Y photos like this.
Why do I keep snapping the shutter? Because it helps to condition the dogs to the photography equipment. Lights and shutter clicks. It also helps me with timing!
Then I make loud noises to get their attention and I have to be ready on the shutter. Click at the right time! Otherwise, I would miss the shot.
Sometimes my lights will misfire or not fire at all. So I try to get the timing right and watch the dogs reaction and body language. I also have to pay attention to my equipment and settings. While I am barking and howling.
The pet parent, holding the leash is key. It keeps the dogs in place.
But the dogs are looking at their owners.
At that point, I get the pet parent to move slowly beside me. Still giving their pets commands.
Will every dog obey commands and hand signals. No. Will they jump off chairs, stools and tables. Yes. We start over. Patience!
Then it works. The pet parent is beside me. I make a noise. The pet looks at me. The shutter clicks. And. Relief!!!
I gasp for air and so does the pet parent.
It is work! It requires patience on my part and the pet parent.
You have to keep in mind. They do NOT know what we are doing. Unless they have been photographed with a professional camera and lights, they do not know. Pet parents think, "why don't they just sit". Because this is a new experience for them. I want them to gently get used of it and be a fun time for them. Have patience and enjoy it. Its a ton of work for the pet parent and the photographer. But, its so worth it!!
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