5 Must-Have Things to Bring to Your Dog Photo Session

One of the obstacles to cross when choosing to create incredible portraits for your dog is getting them to sit still. Your ability to entice your dog into being just at the right spot transcends beyond hiring an amazing pet photographer to capture them. 

Without meaning to state the obvious, an uninterested or disengaged dog will only make it harder for your photographer to get awesome shots of your doggo. Definitely not impossible, just may be slightly more difficult! 

So, adding a few select items to your bag can be all the magic you need to get your dog relaxed and keep them happy to capture amazing moments. 

We've listed 5 must-have things you can bring to your Owatta dog photo session to facilitate a great photo session and keep your dog happy and relaxed. Make sure to bring these along to your photo session as well as when you're trying to capture great pictures of your pet yourself too!

Sam Coral taking dog portraits during an Ottawa dog photo session

What To Bring To Your Ottawa Dog Photo Session

1. Treats

No doubt, treats are good baits for dogs, not only are they valuable as training tools, they play a huge role in getting your dog in the right mode. Treats can serve as a bond between you and your pets. 

Bringing treats to your dog photo session will keep them interested in you and it makes it easy for you to maintain eye contact and engage expressions which is vital for creating stunning portraits.

While there are numerous treats you will find in your local stores or pet stores we have also listed three types of treats you can consider bringing to your dog photo session. I've also got a blog post with 4 easy recipes for healthy homemade dog treats if you feel like making your own - I'm sure your doggo will give you a hand with cooking!

Crunchy Treats

Crunchy treats include bars, kibbles, biscuits, etc. These threats require a little more time for your dog to break into little pieces. Hence, they're good for getting them to sit still. These treats come in different shapes, flavours, and sizes and contain lower moisture content ranging from 10 to 12%. 

Some of these treats are grain-free while some contain some type of grains. Whichever your preference is, crunchies are good treats to bring along when going for your dog photo session.

Dehydrated or Freeze Dried

These are healthy and appetizing treats for your dog. These treats are simply dehydrated meats, they can be made at home with a food dehydrator or purchased at several pet stores. 

A significant advantage of these great treats is that they contain 100% protein suitable for your dog's health. Consider pumpkin, apples, and sweet potatoes as good dehydrating treats too. 

So when next you are going on a photo session with your dog, a dehydrated treat may be all you need to set the tone right for creating stunning images.

Dental Chews and Bone-like Treats

These sticks are soft and made from digestible plant-based materials so it is easy for your dog to digest. They also contain high protein beef muscle and there are no preservatives compared to other treats which makes it absolutely safe for your dog to chew.

They're also a little tough so can help keep their teeth clean by scraping plaque when they chew - meaning these treats help to promote your dog's dental health. However, be sure to supervise your dog when consuming any type of chew.

Black and white dog having a pet photo session in Ottawa with a light blue neck tie

2. Thin Plain Collar and Leash That Doesn't Distract

A plain collar and leash can be the highlight of your dog's photo session. However, going for the right collar and leash is essential. 

Sometimes the best thing to do when choosing the right collar and leash can be to put yourself in the position of the dog; would you want a material obstructing your view or pressed tight to your neck? Of course not.

This way you can prioritize the comfort of your dog. When you are choosing a collar or leash you should be intentional to choose accessories that won't distract your pet if you feel like a crazy accessory or leash might cause them discomfort or unnecessary stress. 

Another reason why you should prioritize a thin plain collar and leash when taking your dog for a photo session is that it can add aesthetics to your dog's portraits. 

You don't want your dog biting on its collar or leash during a photo session so when going for a plain collar and leash for a photo session, go for the ones that won't distract. There are also countless local stores in Ottawa where you can shop for these items and get the best fit for your four-legged friends' photo shoot.

3. Collar/Accessories That You Want to Stand Out

If you would describe your dog as excitable, eccentric, or just downright loopy, a funky collar or some fun accessories might be the perfect thing to bring along to your Ottawa dog photo session.

Remember to consider your dogs' colouring when going collar/accessory shopping for your session - choose collars and accessories that will compliment them and maybe even the surroundings you're going to be in for the shoot.

For instance, a red collar is a perfect fit for a white furry dog, and it would pop, making your dog portrait stand out. However, several patterns and designs spell out fun for a great photo session.

You can consider the sex of your dog too when choosing a fun collar and accessories - light and bright colours can be great highlights for female dogs while dark colours could be more suitable for male dogs.

Most importantly, if you intend to be in photos with your dog, you ideally want your dog's collar to complement what you'll be wearing for the photo session. Get creative with colours, style, and patterns to recreate fun collars and accessories for your dog that will stand out.

Ottawa dog photo session with golden and white dog wearing a black bowtie

4. Water

Water helps your dog function properly and keeps them from getting dehydrated. Here are some benefits of bringing water to your pet photo session:

  • It helps improve the cognitive function of your dog and protects the brain and spinal cord.
  • Regulates the body temperature of your dog and lubricates joints.
  • It helps to replace important nutrients in and out of the cells of the body.
  • It aids in digestion and the absorption of nutrients in the body.

Your dog may be a little stressed during the photo session, so you can take breaks at intervals to feed your dog with water as well as some of those yummy treats we've spoken about.

5. A Fun Positive Attitude Towards Your Dog Photo Session

You have a major role to play in the success of your dog photo session. Keep in mind that your doggo might not really know what is going on and will primarily be more interested in you and what you're doing.

Make sure to focus on the happiness of your dog and know that they will be a reflection of how you're feeling too. If you're not paying attention, on your phone, or wandering off, your dog will not be best pleased and it could make it difficult to capture amazing photos of them.

You can help and get involved by guiding your dog's attention to the photographer or camera. Another way is to back up every gesture with praises and rewards. They can serve as positive reinforcements for your dogs to stay happy and super excited as the shoot goes on.

Engaging in games is also a good way your dog can have fun while on a shoot. It will help you keep them physically and mentally stimulated, preventing them from getting bored and destructive. Don't forget to engage in behavioural practices that your dog is familiar with, for example: sit, wait, look, shake, drop it, go, etc. 

Try asking your dog to fetch an item for you, either a toy in a basket, your slippers, etc. Whatever works for you. The aim is to put up the right attitude that gets your dog engaged while having fun too, remember "an active dog is a happy dog".

Sam Coral and her dog, having a photo shoot in Ottawa

Even if you've never had professional photos taken of your pet before, creating one doesn't have to be a hassle anymore. In fact, I have even more helpful tricks for preparing for your dog photoshoot, other than just what to bring!

It's important to understand your dog's personality and replicate what works best for them. Like they say "different strokes for different folks."

Keep in mind that Photography is all about creating moments, celebrating every moment, and holding onto beautiful memories. These five items listed above can help create those beautiful moments for you and your pets.

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