3 Tips for taking portraits with your pet

Senior portrait with his golden retriever
A boy and his dog, what a great pair!

As a family photographer, I am privileged to work with many diverse types of families. Many times we work with children, and young children need special attention for getting great photos with them. But young children aren’t the only kids that need special consideration in photography. I am talking of course about Fur Babies!

Our pets can be our children too

Over the years I have worked with dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, horses, and even chickens in portraits with my clients. I love to see the interactions and love that is very obvious when these fur babies come in.


I have found over the years that there are few things that will make the portrait experience more enjoyable when your fur babies join you. So here are 3 tips for making portraits with your pets easier on them and you!

Tip #1: Don’t go against your pets personality
You know your fur baby best. And just like any 2 or 3-year-old, working with their personality not against it will make the whole process much easier.

Dog and girl look sad at getting a photo taken
Sometimes the picture just isn’t going to happen


If your dog is always on the go, it is best not to try and get him to sit still.
If your cat doesn’t usually get held, chances are someone will end up bleeding if you try to hold her for a photo.


Plan to work with your pet’s personality and your result will be better.

Tip #2: Communicate info about your pet to the photographer

Photographers will do their best to work with you and your pet, but any help you can give them will make things go smoother. For example, if your pet always comes to the sound of their name, then it is probably not good for the photographer to continually call their name and have them walk out of frame. If you have a dog that gets aggressive if someone gets too close, let the photographer know so that they can keep their distance. Anything that will help is important to communicate to your photographer.

Kitten on man's back

Tip #3: Keep an open mind and reasonable expectations

Just like working with toddlers, pets will have good and bad days in front of the camera and that’s ok! The important part is that they are there, not that they are perfect. Sometimes it is the quirky imperfections that make a memory endearing, like this kitten who only wanted to be on his dad’s back! Sometimes, that is what makes the cutest photos.

I hope these tips help you the next time you have a family portrait scheduled and you want to include the whole family!

3 Tips for Getting Better Photos

Capturing great images usually rests firmly in the hands of the photographer, but I have found that the people I photograph who come prepared often capture the best photos. Here are three tips you can do to improve photos of yourself:

1. The “turtle”

IMG_5607-PMIMG_2136Kathryn and I have nicknamed a method of removing double-chins in photos as the “turtle”. The “turtle” is a method of elongating your chin towards the camera. Think of it like pushing your face away from your neck then lowering your chin. It often feels awkward, but the effect when you see the photo will surprise you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Props

7B4A8793Props can make a huge difference in your photos. The best props are ones that say something about who you are. For example, I would recommend a senior bring their sports equipment or musical instrument. These kinds of props always add to the photo, and if it’s something you really love will often help you to be more comfortable in front of the camera.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Clothing choices

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Nadia Senior Photo at Salem's Riverfront Park

Nadia Senior Photo at Salem’s Riverfront Park

Nadia Senior Photo in downtown Salem

Nadia Senior Photo in downtown Salem

Clothing helps us define who we are and clothing choices at a photoshoot are no exception. I recommend families attempt to match each other when they come in or perhaps even have a change of clothes or two. Senior photoshoots should have at least 3 outfits, one that shows the formal you, one that shows the casual you and one that you are most comfortable in.

Photo recreation, Richard Weddle story

Occasionally we get a client who wants to recreate a photo. I especially like the recreations that are funny because of the posing or styling of the original.

Today’s post features the photo of two brothers as young children. They contacted us and told us about the photo, saying it was going to be funny to remake and indeed it was. Obviously the brothers were older and the younger wouldn’t even fit in the photo like the original, but we posed them. They brought a blanket similar to the original and wore similar clothes. The backdrop we had in studio was the same color as the original. Even their poses had to be the same, hence the tongue sticking out. As an added bonus, we had difficulty getting the angle of each brother to be close to the original pose. It wasn’t until I held up the pillow on the right that the angle looked correct. It was certainly a first for me to literally be underneath the blanket holding him up!

The purpose of the photo was to print and frame it for their parent’s wall right next to the original for Christmas. I hope their parents enjoy their joke each time they pass their new family portrait!

I really enjoy capturing the creative visions of clients, even for a joke =-)

The original photo the clients requested we remake

The original photo the clients requested we remake

A remake of a funny photo

A remake of a funny photo

3 Posing Tips for Your Portrait Session

Part of the reason why I love photography is because I don’t have to be in front of the camera =-).

If that sounds like you too, then I have some important advice for you that I’ve learned from being in front of the camera that can make your portrait session much more rewarding.

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Be yourself

One of the best things you can do to improve your portrait shoot is to be yourself. Really! From behind the camera, it’s very obvious when my subject is uncomfortable because they are not acting like themselves. Stiff body lines, pasted grins and body language translate to photos that are not comfortable and whoever sees those photos will understand the same thing. It’s those moments where your happiness are captured and frozen in time that you will see every time you look at that photo that make it a great experience.

 

Trust your photographer7B4A3750-Edit

I want to take photos of my portrait sessions as perfectly as I can. I want you to go home with your photos feeling and looking your best because I have a happy client and because I can use that photo to promote my photography business. If you come to the session knowing that I am there to make you look your absolute best, then you can feel safe that how I direct you is helping you look great. Trusting your photographer helps you both have a great session experience and get great portraits.

 

Come preparedIMG_1068

There are many things you can do to come prepared to your photo shoot. It all depends on what you want to get out of it. A few things that I recommend thinking about prior to your shoot are your clothing and color choices and bring props or an activity that you enjoy. It will make your session more relaxing and fun.

 

 

– Photos By Orion