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How to Prepare for Your Pet Photo Session | Gaelle Glass Pet Photography

Deciding to hire a photographer to capture portraits of your pet can be exciting! But then you may wonder how to prepare for your session.

That’s exactly why I’ve written this article for you!

By the end of this blog post, you’ll know how to prepare for your pet photo session and what to pack for your pet photo session.

three pet portraits of dogs in denver colorado

4 Tips to Prepare for Your Pet Photo Session

Once you’ve secured a date for your pet photography session, you’ll want to plan and work on these 4 tasks.

Grooming and Bathing

For long-haired dogs, try to make a grooming appointment for your dog about a week before your session. Grooming a week or two before your session will give the fur just enough time to grow out and look natural without looking like a brand new haircut.

If your dog plays outdoors or likes to roll around in the dirt or mud, plan to give them a good bath and brush the day before their session and try to keep them clean for their photos.


While it’s not required that your dog sit still for their pet photo session, it’s a good idea to brush up on any commands they know.

Take some time in the weeks leading up to your session to brush up on sit, stay, down, and any other commands your dog knows.

If your dog doesn’t know any of these commands, it’s okay! I successfully photograph hyper, untrained dogs ALL the time!

photo of dog and his owner brushing up on commands before their pet portrait session in denver colorado


If your dog is a high-energy breed, I suggest taking them for a bit of exercise or walking before their session. This will get rid of any excess energy so they’ll pay closer attention during their session.

If your dog is older and doesn’t have much energy, it’s probably best to keep them well-rested before their session so they don’t tire so easily.


Feed your dog a little less than normal before your session. This will make them want to work a little harder for treats when it comes time to get their attention. Even if that means they stick their tongue out at us as this little one did, it’s worth it!

photo of family with their dog sticking tongue out at camera for pet photo session

A high-value reward can help us get your dog to sit and follow some basic prompts. This leads us to the next tips - what to pack for your pet photo session!

What to Pack for Your Pet Photo Session

Flat collar and leash

While we want to create beautiful pet portraits, safety is my number one priority and concern for your pet session. I always recommend bringing your dog in a flat collar and leash.

Even if your dog doesn't normally wear a leash, it’s important to have them on a leash while we’re taking their photos. When we get outside and distractions arise, we don’t want to risk the dog running off. We can even use a long line to safely create actions shots!

Most of the dogs you see on my website were wearing leashes during our session. With a little delicate Photoshop work, the leash disappears from the shot completely. There isn’t any extra charge for this either, I include it because safety for your dog is THAT important to me.

I don’t suggest dogs wear harnesses or gentle leaders. Those can be bulky and create shadows that are too difficult to edit out in post-production.

After years of being in this business, I can attest that a flat collar and leash are the best way to go!

photo of dog in snow with leash on in one photo and leash removed in photoshop in second photo
Removing the leash in Photoshop is like magic! And it keeps your dog safe from running off!

High-Value Dog Treats

In the steps mentioned above, I recommend feeding your dog a little less food before their session. This will make them more food motivated to work for treats during their photo session.

Bring along high-value treats to your session. High-value treats are foods your dog wouldn’t typically get, but you know they’ll love and work for. These treats can be used to get them to sit still and focus for us!

Some favorite go-to high-value treats are ones that are moist or freeze-dried and extra smelly.

Dogs can be picky eaters though, so make sure you try out a couple of high-value treats at home to make sure your dog actually enjoys the treats you bring along.


It probably doesn’t need explanation, but always make sure to pack water for your pet photo session.

One of my favorite pet water bottles is the portable water bottles with built-in dispensers for the dogs to drink out of. It eliminates the need to carry bottles of water and portable collapsible bowls along.

Two of my favorite dog portable water bottles are listed below:

Dog Waste Bags

This probably doesn’t need much explaining either, but I like to remind clients to bring waste bags. When nature calls, we want to leave no trace behind.

I wanted to prepare this list for people that may be all over the world, interested in knowing what to pack for their pet session and how to best prepare for it.

For any clients that book their pet portrait session with me, I actually bring all of the necessary items listed above. I bring waste bags, treats, extra leashes, and water for the convenience of my clients.

My goal is to make sessions as easy and stress-free as possible!

Ready to Create Pet Portraits for Your Dog?

If you’ve tried to capture the perfect photo of your dog but aren’t getting the results you hoped for, let me help!

photo collage of gaelle glass photographer in denver colorado creating pet portraits with family and their pets

I understand how frustrating it can be to capture your dog the way you’d like, and I’m here to help.

I have years of training and first-hand experience working with dogs. I also love and adore animals, because it’s just part of who I am.

Let me capture beautiful images of your dog that you will be able to look back in years to come!

The first step in working together is to book a free consultation with me. We chat about the goal of your pet session, location, and I’ll ask questions about your pet to get to know him/her better.

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