I always feel so lucky to work with dogs and their humans. It seems dog people are just easy to connect with, don’t you agree? I love when I get to host a session right here on our Shadow Dog property, where we have five gorgeous acres of pine forest and open fields. There’s no shortage of location possibilities, and my creative ideas are rolling from the moment a dog arrives. If you’re wondering what a photo session may look like, this is for you. I thought I’d share a recent session with three fun dogs, and their incredible humans. Join me for a walk in the woods…
First, let’s relax!
When dogs first arrive with their owners, they’re often unsure of the surroundings. They may be a little nervous, and super distracted. No problem, to the field we go!
This gives all pups a chance to catch up on new smells, find a ball, and run laps around their humans. Before long these dogs are happily playing while I catch some candid action shots. For the more excitable models, this gives them a chance to burn off some energy before we head out for a walk in the woods.
Different dogs have different levels of energy and confidence, and I let each individual guide the playtime. I follow their lead while I sit back and stay out of their space. This allows pups to become comfortable with me and my camera, before I ask anything of them. Once I see them relax, and they show me their big smile (tongue hanging out), we’re off to the woods.
Family is Important
Your dog is a big part of your family. She’s been there for you when you bought your new home, when your first child was born, and maybe even when that child went off to college. But do you have any family photos of ALL of you? Your dog has been there with you through thick and thin, and your children don’t know life without this amazing furry best friend.
This is why I always, always ask to take some photos that include the family.
Let’s Walk in the Woods
The pups have caught their breath, so we’re off to wander amongst the pines. It’s peaceful out there, and on a breezy day you can hear the trees whispering. This is when I love to get some individual portraits of the dogs. My mission is always to capture each pup’s unique personality, whether that’s sweet, bold, or quirky. I adore the silly, candid shots too. These are always great fun to share, and I love including them in the final images.
As the sun drops lower in the sky, the light in the woods is incredible. It’s the perfect backdrop and the dogs look gorgeous. There are always plenty of sights and sounds to keep the dogs interested, and if they’re seeming a little bored or at all stressed, we take a break. Each dog tells me when they need a break. I watch for signs of boredom or stress, and that’s when we take a break. After all, there’s plenty of “pmail” to read and send! When the pups seem refreshed, we’re back onto our adventure.
Different dogs take a liking to different environments. If they’re comfortable on different surfaces, I’ll invite them up onto logs or stumps. This makes even the tiniest dog seem mighty in the forest!
Along with the individual photos of each pup, I love capturing all of the dogs together. Let’s face it, when you’re home alone, wrangling more than one dog for a photo can seem impossible! So I always make it a priority to try and get them all together for a group shot.
Is your pup big on the extras? Maybe a custom-designed collar, a bow tie, or a sweater suits his personality. I always encourage clients to bring these things along since it’s fun to see what each pup wears! And besides, what’s cuter than a dog with accessories? I love it.
As each session comes to a close, the dogs are usually sleepy from their adventure. After playing in the field and wandering throughout the woods, each dog seems pretty satisfied with their visit. If they’re ready to go again, we make a stop back in the field. You can never get enough playtime, and if the dogs are up for it, I am too!
This gives you an idea of what a Shadow Dog adventure in the woods looks like. And for those that aren’t big fans of the woods, there are other options including urban locations or local parks. What’s most important is what you and your dog enjoy, and what you would love most when looking back at your final images on your walls. Where would you want your session? Feel free to get in touch, I’d love to share some great location ideas with you.