Okay, dogs in photo sessions is where it's at. Dogs help bring out people's natural smiles and emotions while also giving those "awkward" poses a break. When there's a dog in the mix you can rest reassured that your subjects will be acting as natural and as candid as possible. And typically, a smile never leaves their face!
Obviously there's pros and cons to including the family's furry friend in your photo session. Even very well trained dogs can get excited when in new places, give the dog time before the session to explore the area and frankly, get bored, with all the nearby smells and sounds.
During a photo shoot the photographer often times gives directions for how you, and your family, should pose. Dogs clearly don't understand these poses, and can often times face the wrong way. Bringing along a bag of dog treats can help entice the dog to look in your direction, but be sure to check with your client to make sure their dog can have that certain type of treat.
Asking your client to bring along their dog's favorite toy or food is another great way to keep the pup engaged in the photos. If the dog's toy has a squeaker inside, it's not always the best idea to squeak it. From experience, the dog can go from calm, cool, and collected to a hyper tug-of-war player.
Keep an eye on the dynamic of the group, if your client seems to have control of their pup, speak to the client directly when giving direction on how the pup should be posed. Dogs tend to do better when only one person is in control, and your client might do this best.
If the dog kind of does their own thing and your client seems to be relying on you to pose the dog then jump right into that role! Most dogs know how to sit and lay down, so keep it simple.
Those hyper, crazy dogs can also accompany your client to their photo shoot. It's best not to try to pose these dogs, it can leave everyone feeling exhausted and frustrated, including yourself. Try candid shots with these types of pups- running shots, playing with the dog, and if the dog is small enough, your client can pick them up!
Always keep in mind that dogs are just trying to do their best. They can't always understand what you want from them and don't understand why you're unhappy with them. Don't be upset when the pup faces the wrong direction or won't perk up his ears.
Oftentimes clients are the ones who get frustrated with their fur babies before you will. To avoid this, keep your mood easy and laugh about it all. Show them that you're in no rush and it's okay that it's not going exactly as planned, because let's be real here, what in life goes exactly as planned?
Always keep a smile on your face and remain calm, you've got this. And you'll definitely end up with a lot of photos like this, and that's totally okay.