Teacher’s Pet: Set Your Photo Shoot Up for Success

Hello hello, and welcome to Teacher’s Pet, a column on all things training! Brussels.Sprout will share his how-tos for learning new tricks, updates on his own adventures in dog agility competition, and his favorite tips for helping you and your pup bond over training.


Making Your Photo Shoot a Success, Part 1:  Setting the Stage

There are many things that go into creating that epic Insta-worthy shot…the perfect light, the right angle, a hundred bad takes, one great caption and, most importantly…a happy and willing pup. My goal is to make sure Sprout is as eager and excited about every photo as I am, so a lot of effort goes into making sure I take pictures in a way that works for him. The world does revolve around him, after all 😉


Over the next few weeks, we’ll share our behind the scenes experiences and top tips for making sure your photo shoots are a fun and rewarding experience for both human and pup.


No Photos Please

Sometimes the light may look perfect or the best idea pops into your head, but there’s no point in getting the camera if your pup isn’t also in the mood.  Your photo shoot will be frustrating your pup (and you) if he’s either too tired to be interested or, on the other hand, too excited and hyper to focus.  Think about when your dog is somewhere right in the middle – alert and attentive, but chilled out. For us, that usually means shooting in the morning, between our morning walk/playtime and breakfast.



Oh, one important exception to this rule: if you just want a shot of how cute your puppers looks sleeping, very quietly pull out your camera…but otherwise it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.



Get Settled In

If you’re going to a studio or somewhere else new, get there early so your dog has time to acclimate. Let her wander around sniffing things out, and make sure she gets used to actual set – studio backdrops can feel a bit weird or slippery on paws at first. I like to get onto the backdrop with Sprout and play or give him a few treats while he loosens up.



Also, use this as an opportunity to get to know your photographer. Have him/her give your pup some treats.  If your photographer isn’t used to shooting animals, make sure they understand that even the most talented dog requires a little more patience, and few more breaks, than human models. Also, even if you’re not behind the camera it is still your job to make sure your dog is happy, and you know your dog better than anyone else. In the off chance someone asks your dog to do something you think will make him uncomfortable, you need to politely say no.



Stay tuned for next time when we share our tips for getting your pups used to work with props and training him to pose…


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Brussels Sprout

Sprout is a perpetually pouty, 2 year old smooth-coated Brussels Griffon. This tiny little tastemaker loves sweater weather, brunch, giving back to less fortunate dogs, and teeny-tiny tennis balls. He is passionate about lengthy naps and higher education, with dreams of one day becoming an agility champion.

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