Updated: May 5, 2021
WHO’S A GOOD DOG?
Your Fur Baby, is perfect just as they are….and even if they are “perfectly imperfect”, a totally non-stop ball of energy, easily distracted or just plain goofy - we will still get some cracker shots you will love, trust me it’s what I do! That said, it can definitely be very helpful if your dog does have some basic commands such as sit, wait/stay, down/drop, stand or recall. If they have any extra special or unique tricks (such as roll over, paw, high five or kiss/lick on command) they can also be an added bonus to showcase your dogs unique personality. So brush up on their skills prior to your session.
LETS GET PHYSICAL, PHYSICAL, I WANNA GET PHYSICAL…
If your dog is a total pocket rocket that’s all good, and we will be sure to get some great action shots such as the classic “run to me”! But I do suggest taking hyper dogs for a good walk (but don’t tire them out too much!) prior to the session. This helps them burn off a bit of energy and be a little bit more settled, calmer and focused.
A REALLY BAD HAIR DAY OR IS THERE A DOG IN THERE?
You are going to want your Fur Baby to be at their best in your photographs, and the eyes are the windows to the soul - so if they look like Cousin It (from the Adams family) it might be an idea to get a professional groom before your session. Like any new haircut it can take a few days to settle in, so I don’t really recommend you book both the groom and the photo session on the same day and it is less traumatic on your Fur Baby to have two new things in the one day.
Whilst the focus at West Coast Woofers is always on the STAR (your Fur Baby), sometimes a Co Star (pawrent) or part of them, might end up in a few shots. So it’s best to come prepared in terms of what you might wear and attend to your own personal grooming so you too feel at you best. I cover all this in the Woofers Session Prep Guide - so don’t worry too much about it.
More importantly, you need to realise that your dog will feed off of your energy on the day. So before and during the session I will need you to stay calm, relaxed and be patient. Don’t worry if your Fur Baby isn’t doing exactly what you want or doesn’t seem to be co-operating, I will work around them, and at their pace to find what works best. Their comfort, security and safety is paramount at all times. I never ever force dogs into position, at West Coast Woofers it’s about the whole experience, not just the photos at the end (although they will be absolutely awesome!) So the session should be a positive and fun time for everyone involved, especially the STAR! You just relax, and let me run the show - I have an arsenal of tricks to get their attention and the best results so please trust me, and just go with the flow of the session. That way your Fur Baby will be looking directly at me and the camera not being distracted by you. If I need your help or assistance I will ask for it - your job is to just be there as reassurance and moral support for your Fur Baby and enjoy the experience.
BRING THE KITCHEN SINK - JUST JOKING!!!!
I provide high quality treats, props, attention getting toys and water bowls. However, if your dog has an extra special toy they love, has food allergies, is on a special diet, or only eats a certain specific treat then by all means bring those with you. If there is a special or sentimental item you want in the photographs (eg a special collar, rug, toy etc) then of course bring that along too.
If your dog normally wears a hottie or harness, please also bring a flat collar and lead for your session as these can usually easily be removed in photoshop at no extra charge. I can’t guarantee removal of hotties or harnesses from images as they cover up so much of the dog that replacing so many pixels can be complicated and is very time consuming - so if you want one removed there is an additional post production hourly charge. They can also cause pinching of the coat in places that sometimes will just never look right so if possible I like to shoot without a hottie or harness on the dog.
If you are wanting action shots outdoors, and your Fur Baby is a flight risk, or not that reliable on their recall, I highly recommend bringing a long lead which in most cases can usually be removed in photoshop. The safety of your dog is always foremost in my mind, but it is ultimately up to you as the Pawrent if you want your dog to be on or off lead in open areas.
SHOTS, FLEES, TICKS AND OTHER NASTIES
For the health and safety of both my own pooches, and those Fur Babies who come to the studio, I only offer sessions to dogs who are fully up to date with immunisations, flee and tick control, are regularly wormed and who are not unwell or contagious in any way. Please let me know if there are any concerns.
NOT DOGGIE DAY CARE
Whilst I adores dogs, my job is simply to provide a professional photography service. Pawrents must be present with their Fur Baby throughout the session and remain fully responsible for their dog's behaviour at all times. Any damage or destruction of property, equipment, injury to people or other animals, in the studio or elsewhere, caused by their Fur Baby is the sole responsibility of the owner and they bare full legal and financial responsibility associated with their dogs behaviour.
KNOW WHY YOU ARE DOING THIS IN THE FIRST PLACE
It’s a good idea to consider why you want to have this photographic session in the first place. It might be a special milestone for your pooch, you just want to capture them at this time, or some other specific reason. When you know the WHY it helps you decide on the HOW, how will you display your photographs, will it be a framed print, a collection or single piece of wall art, an album, art mount timber box or digitals, will you want any "Grandparent" products? This will tie into the WHERE - where will you be displaying your artwork, how much space is there, what other colours are there in your furniture and decor?
Ultimately your Signature Session should be a wonderful experience that results in fabulous images and artwork that makes you heart sing!