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A Studio Photographer's Best Pet Tips & Tricks

Updated: 4 days ago

Puppy in Mom's Maternity Photos

Sooo many people ask me about taking photos with their pets. Growing up here on Long Island, I remember most of my friends (and my family too) had a dog growing up so to me it's completely normal that you'd want to have family photos with your ENTIRE family - 2 legged and 4 legged alike. But, most of my clients go into it thinking that it's a strange request and I always have to reassure them that I am VERY pet-friendly both in my in-home Manhasset studio and in my outdoor sessions. It's very rare that I have an outdoor session I've scouted where pets are not allowed. If that is the case, I make sure that is clear well in advance so you can plan.

Anyone who says a pet isn't part of the family is no friend of mine. As a loving cat owner (truthfully the step-parent because they were my husband's first! and they still love him best...), and as a family that has fostered almost a dozen cats in the past 12 months, I am all about showcasing your family in tact and as pure as possible. Some of my favorite images will always be the most candid shots of you and your pet.

So, what are the best ways to make sure your pet is behaved when they get to my studio? Well, I have a few tips and tricks to get the most out of your studio session!

  • If we've worked together before, then I've told you that in my opinion, the best images come when your children are awake and full. It's the complete opposite for your pet! I want them very hungry and very tired! Take them on a long walk or active run before coming to the studio - most pups in a new environment especially with tons of other smells (see those cat references above) are all about sniffing their way through every inch of my in-home studio in Manhasset, on Nassau County's North Shore. Even worse if they are outside and happy to pull you along on their leash to whatever corner they've decided to explore. Putting in a bit of time before your session is key to getting them well-behaved. A well-behaved pet helps you from being so anxious as well and actually enjoying your images.

  • Now to the hunger - there are permanently dog treats in the studio for good reason. If your puppy knows that I am the keeper of treats, they will listen to me, they will like me. They will probably even look at me on cue!

  • Toys! We have a number of squeaky toys in studio (you'd be surprised at how effective they are in getting 4 children to look at me at the same time!). As a result, we will play to keep them from being in the middle of everything. To say that I can throw a toy 100 times with relish is an understatement! A client recently told me it was "Instagram vs. Reality" and I'm going to use that line all the time now!!

  • And lastly, we'll create a safe space for your pup in the studio. Many people who have tiny dogs will bring a small bed and peepad. We set them up in the corner and give your puppy a few treats there. When we're done with their portion of the session, we'll send your pet there and reward them! Most of the time, your pet will fall right to sleep and we can finish the session with just the human pieces of your family.

But pets are just like humans and at times have their own ideas about what they'd like to be doing. Usually, a child can be responsible for the puppy and it will be their job to play with them while I take a few candid images of them together. Talk about tugging at your heartstrings!!

My favorite part of having pets in your session is watching each member of the family come alive at interacting with your pet. It's such a special relationship to capture and being the one who gets to do it is so satisfying, especially for an animal lover such as myself! To find out more information about my sessions, please click here and let's connect!

Puppy Photobombs Mom's Maternity Session

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