How Can I Calm My Dog Before A Photo Shoot?

A Guide To Keeping Your Dog Calm For Better Pictures

Lately, more and more pet parents are keen to capture some beautiful moments with their furry friends and often turn these pictures into lovely dog portraits in different styles such as watercolour, pop art or sketch. But dogs are often challenging to photograph due to their temperament and the energy they possess (we don't call them a bundle of energy for nothing)! Therefore, the first step in the process of getting good dog pictures is to calm and relax your dog during the photo shoot. After all, dogs can get easily excited or anxious in new environments or around strangers, leading to uncooperative behaviour and not-so-ideal photos.

But fret not, we are here to help. You can do several things to help calm your dog and get the most adorable pictures. Here are some tips to calm your dog before a photo shoot:

Exercise Your Dog Beforehand

If you have a super energetic dog that often gets the zoomies, it's best to take them on a walk/run or play a game of fetch before the photo shoot. This will help them feel more relaxed and focused during the session. Remember, a tired dog is a calm dog.

exercise dog before pet portrait

Schedule The Photo Shoot At The Right Time

To help your dog feel calm and relaxed, schedule the photo shoot for a time when they are most peaceful and least likely to be distracted. This could be a time of day when they've already had their exercise or playtime or when they're naturally more relaxed - after a meal or before their naptime.

Create A Relaxing Environment

relaxed dog for pet portrait

For the photo shoot, create a calm and relaxed environment for your dog. Pick a familiar location. If this is not possible, let them explore and sniff around the location. Also, be sure to bring familiar objects, such as their toys, favourite blanky or bed, to help them feel more comfortable. Keep the session short and sweet, and avoid loud or distracting noises while the shoot is underway.

Get Them Used To The Camera And Photographer

Introduce your pupper to the camera and photographer well before the session. Let them explore and sniff around to get used to the presence of the equipment and the photographer. This will help satiate their curiosity and make them feel more comfortable and less anxious during the shoot.

Bring Their Favourite Toys Or Treats

giving dog treats for pet illustration

We know that the easiest way to get your pooch to do something is by motivating them with treats or their favourite toys. So don't forget to carry a considerable amount of treats and toys to help keep your pup calm and focused during their photo session. Use these to reward them for good behaviour and keep their attention on the camera to get the best dog portraits in incredibly candid poses.

Practise Basic Obedience Commands

If your dog knows basic obedience commands such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘down’, and ‘come’, practice these commands before the photo shoot to help them stay focused and calm. Use positive reinforcement and treats to reward good behaviour.

Take Necessary Breaks

To avoid stressing out your fur baby, take breaks to help calm them down. If at any point they seem anxious or stressed, give them a chance to relax and reset by giving them their favourite toy and letting them rest in a familiar place like their bed or crate. Try again when they're feeling more comfortable and relaxed.

brush dog before pet portrait

Groom Your Dog

Grooming or not grooming, this is a very personal choice. If you prefer to groom them for the photo shoot, then by all means, book them a grooming session or spruce them up at home. It is recommended that you do this the day before the shoot so that your dog doesn't get overwhelmed on the day of the shoot. If you prefer your puppy to be au naturel, simply rock up for the photo shoot as is.

In Conclusion

Keeping your dog calm and relaxed is important to get the best possible photos. Focus on picking the right location and time, familiarising your pup with the photographer and equipment and carrying a whole lot of treats and toys to get them photo-ready. Also, don't forget to get them to run around, practise obedience commands and take breaks as and when needed to make the most of the photo shoot.

If you're considering turning their adorable photos into a custom dog portrait, start here or consult our FAQs for more information.

pop art pet portrait

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