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The ultimate guide to help you get ready for a dog photo shoot

    Cute boots.  

    If you show up for the Big White Dog Experience wearing cute boots, we’re going to be friends. I’m going to ask you wear you got ’em and how they make you feel. 

    People are often surprised to learn I used to own almost 100 pairs of high heels and more than 30 pairs of boots. 

    And you can bet your ass every one of those pairs of boots were fantastic. 

    In fact, little known secret, my mom’s nickname for me when I was growing up was Annie Boot. It was mostly because I’d “boot” all over the woods with her and neither of us knew I would grow up to have a boot addiction. 

    But enough about me.  

    german shepherd sits next to woman wearing cute boots
    Can you even with those boots?

    How can I help you get ready for a dog photo shoot? 

    “OMG … what do I wear?” 

    This is one of the most frequent questions I hear when I say to a client, “Do you have any questions for me about your session?” 

    You will receive a copy of The Ultimutt Guide to the Big White Dog Photography Experience but that covers just a few bullet points. 

    Like cute boots. 

    Let’s go into a little more detail on you can get ready for a portrait session with your dog. 

    1. Coordinate 

    Now, I don’t want y’all to show up all matchy-matchy, like identical Christmas pyjamas or anything. In fact, matchy-matchy is probably a bad idea. If you come wearing all black and have a black dog, man, we are going to struggle with finding some contrast between the two of you. Now contrast … that’s the thing right there! Think about colors and patterns that are complimentary to your dog’s fashion sense … er, coat colors. This will make for two separate beings in your images and we’ll let the poses and snuggles show off the unbelievable connection between you.  

    woman staring into the eyes of her soul dog, a mixed breed pitbull

    BONUS TIP: I am a big fan of plaids. It may be my Scottish heritage and thinking we should all be rockin’ our tartans but I find plaids work well with my style and locations. 

    2. Aim for comfort 

    If we’re going on an epic adventure, you’re going to want to wear your normal hiking clothes and maybe pack a change if you want to look a little less grungy. (Unless you’re all-in with Duluth Flexpedition pants like I am … they’re comfortable, functional and they look sharp!) Even if we’re just going to hang out at a park for a senior or ill dog, you don’t want to wear anything that is tight or restrictive. Remember, there’s going to be some serious snuggle and play time and you want to be a part of it. 

    3. Stay low key 

    Crazy patterns and too-bright colors are going to send sensor to crazy town. Just kidding, the Nikon Z9 is a master at handling all colors. We do, however, want to go with classic, muted colors so your artwork – whether a big-ass metal print to hang on your living-room wall or a gorgeous multi-image photo album – is timeless. My brother and I did a portrait session for my parents’ 25th anniversary and trust me, I have regrets about it. Mostly about my hair, though. It was 1990. 

    choose subtle patterns when it's time to get ready for a dog photo shoot

    4. Accessorize … or not 

    Some simple pieces of statement jewelry, a scarf or a belt. Stay away from big, chunky watches. We’re going to be doing some poses that focus on your hands on your dog and ugly, garish watches distract from those beautiful moments. Simplicity is best … your dog is the star, not your bling. 

    5. Relax 

    Some clients show up to their session all nervous about their dog’s behavior. Don’t worry. I’ve been licked, drooled on, nipped, covered in hair … and then there’s what the dogs do. Just kidding! I’ve never been bitten by a client. Maybe I shouldn’t say never. Look, the Big White Dog Photography Experience is all about adventure and fun and the glorious love you have for your dog. 

    woman getting a kiss from her dog during a portrait session

    6. Be yourself 

    When you’re picking out what to wear, focus on what makes you feel comfortable and confident. You don’t want to be yanking at straps and pulling down shirts (ahem … the Duluth No-Yank Tank is a dream!) while we’re trying to get those perfect moments of connection. Do make sure your clothes match your personal style. 

    7. Think about the weather 

    I shoot rain, snow or shine. The only phenomenon that has made me really need to reschedule a photo session is excessive wildfire smoke. And that’s because the air quality isn’t safe for any of us. Winter? Wear layers. Summer? Be cool and fresh.  

    8. Bring extra clothes 

    If we’re planning a gorgeous photo album to showcase your images, we might want a little more variety. A chance of clothes can help shake things up halfway through your dog photo session. 

    younger woman with her dog at falls park in post falls, idaho

    9. Mentally prepare yourself 

    You are going to get licked, kissed and snuggled. NOT. BY. ME. By your dog, of course. But you’re used to that, because that’s what every day is like. Because you love your dog that damn much and that’s why you’ve found the Big White Dog Experience. If you let go of the stresses – leave the job behind, forget about how your dog is behaving, feel free and strong and powerful – your dog will sense your mood and it will be one hell of a session with the most epic images possible. 

    All around the circle 

    Yes, your dog is the star. You are not, however, an accessory. You are his world and that matters.  

    That’s why you should be in the photos with your dog and I want you to feel comfortable, carefree and confident. I hope this guide on how to get you ready for your session gets you all set. 

    Oh, and don’t forget to listen to your pump-up jam on the way to our location. I find it helps to sing to your dog, too.  

    Now, let’s go see how my friends in the worldwide pet photographers blog circle are getting ready for anything! Start with Houston dog and equine photographer, Kelly J. Russo, with her favorite tips for preparing your dog or horse for their session day

    Click the link at the bottom of Kelly’s post to continue through the circle. When you get back here to how to get ready for a dog photo shoot and the Big White Dog Experience, that’s when you know you’re home. 

    Right where you belong. 

    And if you’re ready to get all gussied up for a photo shoot with your dog, schedule our get-to-know-each-other chat now. 

    nv-author-image

    Dogs. Adventure. Outdoors. These words set Angela's heart afire. Angela Schneider, an award-winning writer and dog photographer, documents the story of you and your dog and the adventures you take together. Your portraits will be a statement piece in your home, art that will make your friends and family beg to hear its story.

    3 thoughts on “The ultimate guide to help you get ready for a dog photo shoot”

    1. avatar of darlene

      I admit to a “boot” obsession myself haha! Cute boots and a dog makes for the perfect session for sure! Great tips and love your images. I’m now visualizing that 90’s hair – thanks for that!!!

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