Step 1: How to get a unique portrait of your dogs in Spokane and North Idaho

Labrador retriever at Springy Point campground in Sandpoint

I’m on a mission.

A mission to create unique, impactful portraits of dogs in Spokane and North Idaho.

A mission to give you, my clients, an experience that is unmatched and results in bold, timeless art that you can’t just buy off the shelf at Home Goods or your favorite furniture store.

After a Big White Dog Photography experience, you will have an art piece that makes a statement, that is connected to you and your dog, and that brings back the incredible memories we made that day.

But it doesn’t just happen.

There’s a whole process that takes place, and your free consultation is Step 1.

cocker spaniel puppies at McEuen Park in Coeur d'Alene
Tucker and Sage at McEuen Park

This is the first in a four-part series, filling in you in on the process of creating a unique portrait of you and your dogs in Spokane and North Idaho.

Here’s how it all works:

Getting to know you and your dog

There’s something special and unique about each one of the dogs in Spokane and North Idaho — from the wiggle of his nose to the wag of her tail, from where you like to go with each other to what you love to do together.

Every one of you has a fun, different story to tell and, dammit, I want to figure out how best to tell that story with my camera.

That’s why you’re gonna get interviewed!

Well, not like you’re some politican that needs to get raked over the coals with hard-hitting questions. Don’t worry about that.

The questions I ask about dogs in Spokane

We’re going to have a fun chat about your dog and your life together, and you get to ask all the questions you want to.

We’re going to key in on a few specific topics:

  • What is life like with your dog
  • What type of images are you looking for
  • What do you want to do with those images

That’s right. We have to start with the end in mind.

Goals can differ between clients and that can be a big deal on how I approach portrait sessions with dogs in Spokane and North Idaho.

You might be looking for one great portrait, or a cluster of great portraits (one big-ass metal print with a few smaller accent ones).

artwork of golden retriever dogs in Spokane
Desi the golden retriever in a cluster of metal prints

You might want to create one of my Anthology pieces — a Storybook or a Storyblock — which need a little extra time to make sure we get at least 10 amazing images.

Jamie and her beagle reading a photo album
Jamie and Buddy reading their Storybook

Through it all, we’re going to figure out where to go, what time to go and what I need to do to make this the most bomb-ass day you and your dog have ever had together.

Here are some of the questions I like to ask:

  • What do you love most about your dog?
  • How did she get her name?
  • What does she do that makes you smile the biggest or laugh the loudest?
  • How has she changed your life?
  • Where do you like to go together?
  • What gets her attention? Noises, words, treats?
  • What commands or tricks does she know?
  • What are your favorite images from my website or Instagram?
  • What draws you to those images?
  • Have you worked with a professional photographer before and what was that experience like?
  • What kind of space in your home do you have for displaying art?
  • Is there a particular reason you want or need a session done right now?

That last one can be tough. Many of my clients come to me because that dreaded day is coming. There might be a little more gray around the muzzle or you may have gotten a diagnosis from your veterinarian.

Trust that I will cry with you and, most importantly, clear my schedule to make sure your session happens.

Because those memories are the most important of them all.

The questions you should ask your dog photographer

You need to trust that I’m going to do my very best to make the art you want.

You also need to be sure that we are the right fit for each other. I want you to feel comfortable and relaxed during your session and that means you need to feel comfortable with me.

corgi in wheelchair at Hauser Lake in Idaho
Notorious, aka Hell on Wheels, at Hauser Lake

There are other photographers out there who will create images of dogs in Spokane and North Idaho (sssshhhh … you don’t really know that) and you may find one of them to be a better match (that’s not really true).

As a discerning consumer, you should be looking for the right photographer for you (trust me, it’s me).

Here’s a selection of questions you might want to consider asking me:

  • Do you photograph pets and their people exclusively?
  • Do I have to be in the photos? (OR … may I be in the photos?)
  • Do you have a pet and is she family?
  • Is there a time limit on my session?
  • What will you do to make my dog comfortable?
  • What is the rest of the process like?
  • How much do your prints cost?
  • Is there a minimum order fee?
  • What happens if I don’t like my photos?

Oh geez, I damn near died typing that last question! Truthfully, I’ve never had that happen but I do have an answer for you. Your satisfaction is guaranteed whether you want a refund or a rebook of your session.

I’ll be damned if I don’t get you that epic art of you and your dogs in Spokane.

rescue dog at Post Falls Community Forest
Comet the rescue dog

Once we get through our questions for each other, we’ll go over a few terms and conditions, figure out a location and get you on the schedule. Then I’ll send you an invoice via Square and a copy of my Session Guide, which is full of helpful tips to get you ready for your photo session.

A lot of the information you might need is all wrapped up in my Inquiry Guide, too.

You can dig into that right here:

All around the circle

My pet photographer friends and I are taking you on a journey of our processes this month. For the next few weeks, we’re all writing about your inquiry, your session, the next steps, and your art.

Make sure you go through each blog post. You might pick up some tips on how to decide if I’m the right photographer for you and your dogs in Spokane.

I know I’m going to read every post to make sure I’m picking up tips on how to best guide you through the process.

Let’s start with my friend Jessica Wasik with Bark & Gold Photography, revealing the 10 questions your pet photographer wants you to ask during your consultation. At the bottom of her blog post, click the link to the next one and then travel through the circle until you find yourself back here to dogs in Spokane. Then you know you’re home.

Right where you belong.

And if you’re ready — like really ready — to have that free consultation, fill out this easy-peasy form and land in my Inbox with a “HEY, YOU.”

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.

12 thoughts on “Step 1: How to get a unique portrait of your dogs in Spokane and North Idaho”

  1. I agree it’s so important to start with the end in mind when booking your session. I encourage all of my clients to imagine how they’d like to enjoy their images following their session, but as you said, it doesn’t just happen. Many components build into that, many of which start at the session consultation.

    1. Yup! I’m really starting to refine my process and make it better after stumbling around for the first few years. Every client has been a learning experience.

  2. Fantastic information right here Angela! Who wouldn’t want to book with you?! Great to list the questions a client should ask but may never think to. Gorgeous photos to compliment your post.

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