When I book a family session, I encourage them to bring the family dog.
Some are amazed that I insist. For some reason, they somehow think I’d be offended by them bringing the pup along. To me, they are family.
“And when you show up, unleash the dog and let her be. Let her sniff the place out, get comfortable. Ignore them. Talk to me. Let them see I’m a friend.”
I take a similar approach to photographing two year olds. Unleash them and let them see me interacting with the family. Don’t even look at them.
They can sense it when you’re trying to control.
With the dog, and with the two year old, something amazing almost always happens.
I start posing the family, and the dog (or 2 year old) will walk on over and plop themselves down.
Often next to their favorite person.
They want to be part of the family. Let them be. Don’t try an control them. It makes them nervous and I swear I know what they’re thinking when they’re tense:
Doggie thoughts: “Everyone’s acting weird. What’s with that? Wait a minute! This dude’s a vet! He’s gonna stick a need in my ass! Get out! Everyone, get out! AAaaa oooooooo!!!” So the howling goes.
Or something like that.
Yesterday I had two Goldens and their mom, a retired university prof in my studio.
One of the dogs was blind and deaf from birth. She kept walking into things. Mom made a few lighthearted remarks and poked fun.
She walked over to me (the dog, not the mom) and could almost sense me. She nuzzled up against me, insisting I pet her. Cute. Very sweet.
I thought of all the tactics and strategies that Margaret Bryant uses in her pet photography business.
She really knows her stuff when it comes to creating genuine, personality loaded poses of dogs. How she does it who knows. But she can do it. It’s like she has a super power and can draw out the personality of each dog.
Anywho, whilst in this session, now knowing how it was going to unfold, I started shooting the three of them, and then eventually snuck mom out to grab some poses of the two dogs.
It worked. I got some amazing stuff. Now remember, one dogs is completely deaf and blind. And her one eye looks like she was in a fight with a bear.
Also, you can access the entire four part series with Margaret Bryant here.
Don’t forget, if you’re a member of my noBs photosuccess inner circle, I posted more images and discussion on this topic here.
Yours in photography and success,
P.S. If you’re a member of the noBs photosuccess inner circle I posted more images and discussion on this topic HERE