All Set for Pets:  Preparing for Your Pet Session

Eyes of black labradoodle dog
An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.
— Martin Buber

Pet Behavior & Personality

  • Prior to your portrait session, we will schedule a planning & design meeting at which I can get to know your pet.  We will also discuss your pet's behaviors, personality traits and motivations (such as toys, sounds or food treats) so that I can determine how best to capture your pet's personality. 
  • At least two days before your portrait session, you will need to provide a more detailed pet behavioral history identifying any behaviors that may impact the quality of the session or the safety of other persons or animals present at the session.  

Health & Vaccinations

  • Every pet must be current on all required vaccinations as of the session date.
  • If the session will be at a public place, your pet must also be current on all vaccinations recommended by your veterinarian for interaction with other animals.
  • Your pet must not have, or have been exposed to, any contagious or communicable disease within the past 30 days.

Before Your Portrait Session

  • Brush your furry pet before the portrait session to remove loose hairs and consider scheduling a grooming session a day or two before.  Feathered pets should have their wings trimmed to prevent flight.
  • If you have a high energy pet, you should lightly exercise it before the session.
  • Feed your pet several hours before the portrait session but avoid any of its favorite treats so that it will remain treat motivated during the session.
  • If the portrait session will be at your home, remove pet hair and clutter from any furniture we may photograph.

What to Wear

  • We will discuss wardrobe planning for you at your planning and design meeting.  Even if you do not want to be included in the portrait session, however, it would be great if you could still dress to be photographed since I might want to include you as a prop.  This could include images with your pet at your feet or in your arms & looking over your shoulder.  
  • Your clothing should provide some contrast to your pet (i.e., be a different color, tone or shade) so that your pet does not disappear into your clothing.  You should also remember to pay attention to your footwear.

What to Have on Hand or Bring

I will bring various items to attract your pet's attention during the portrait session, as well as some extra emergency supplies.  I particularly rely on you to bring food treats, especially if your pet has any allergies or food sensitivities.

  • Water bottle & water bowl
  • Collar & leash
  • Fun fashion accessories for your pets (hats, scarves, bows or sunglasses)
  • Favorite toys, particularly squeaky ones
  • Favorite food treats (in tiny pieces & a sealable container)
  • Brush and/or comb
  • Poop removal bags & gloves