Yes, Even Your Dog Can Have Professional Pet Photos

Written by Courtney Bryson

How do you know if your dog can have professional pet photos?

Maybe you worry that your dog is too:

  • Hyperactive
  • Reactive
  • Untrained
  • Blind or deaf
  • Timid, Afraid, or Nervous

In this blog, I’m going to share some tips & tricks I’ve learned as a professional pet photographer to help EVERY dog succeed during our dog photo session!

Senior dogs get their day in the spotlight with pet photographer CM Bryson in her senior dog photo project.
Doodle puppy shows off her warm brown eyes at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photographic canvas is perfect for contemporary and timeless home decor. Make it personal with custom artwork featuring photographs of your dog taken by Atlanta dog photographer CM Bryson

My Dog is Hyperactive

Having a dog that seems to be always bouncing off the walls can be tough. You’ve probably found that the best photos you’ve managed with your phone are sleeping pictures because everything else you try results in a blur across the screen.

Here’s where working with a professional pet photographer with professional level gear will really make a difference in photographing your dog.

Do you know how fast 1/4000th of a second is? It’s really freakin’ fast.

Super fast shutter speeds are capable of almost literally freezing time – we’re talking freezing the flutter of a hummingbird wing fast. There’s a reason camera bodies & lenses matter – and a super fast shutter speed for your hyperactive dog is one of them!

My Dog is Dog or People Reactive

Reactive dogs is probably in the top 3 reasons people wait on hiring a professional pet photographer.

When your dog struggles with seeing other dogs out on a walk or is unsure about meeting new people; it’s scary to think about having him photographed where other dogs might walk by or he might react to the photographer holding a giant eyeball (camera lens) right in his face.

If your dog is people or dog reactive – or just easily overstimulated – you should definitely hire a professional DOG photographer.

As someone who has worked with reactive dogs (both as a photographer & foster mom) I have taken professional dog training classes to help me set these dogs up for success.

By using a longer focal length I can be 20 or more feet away from your dog throughout the session keeping the pressure low. I understand dog body language and can read what your dog is saying.

A professional pet photographer is also an expert at removing leads – so your dog remains completely safe just a few feet from you at all times and you still receive gorgeous images where you never know there was once a leash.

And lastly, I can help you find a location that’s suitable for whatever your dog needs. We can rent a private venue ensuring we’re the only people and dogs on the property or we can use my studio where we can be safely inside throughout the session.

My Dog Has No Training or Manners

“But my dog doesn’t even know how to sit!”

I hear this all the time – and guess what? Your dog doesn’t have to know any commands to have a successful professional pet photography session.

Sure, having some basics can help move the session along, but there are beautiful images to be had of your dog just doing their dog thing.

One of my favorite photos of all time of my Boston Terrier Lira happened when she just absolutely refused to sit or even look at me for her photo! Lira knows all my tricks now and my antics and funny noises no longer get a reaction, so when she’s done – she’s done.

But, with some creative positioning, beautiful light, and a little weed growing off the exit ramp – magic!

My Dog is Blind or Deaf

Whether your dog was born with a disability or has lost his vision or hearing due to advanced age – you can still have beautiful professional pet photos.

As humans, we process the world through our eyes (that’s probably why you’re drawn to professional pet photography – you like the way it looks.)

Our dogs however, process the world through their NOSE.

When working with any dog, but especially those that are missing another sensory input, knowing that dogs see the world with their incredible sniffer, is an invaluable tool I’ve learned as a professional pet photographer. On more than one occasion I have arrived home smelling like I use tuna fish scented lotion and liverwurst eau du parfum.

We can direct your dog’s “gaze” by drawing their nose.

My Dog is Timid, Nervous, or Afraid

I’m an introvert and my wife says she spent the first 6 months of our courtship just trying to get me to talk to her.

Meeting new people in new situations can be hard for us as people – even when it’s something we want to do and when we understand that it’s just butterflies in our stomach and the new thing is actually going to eat us.

Dogs don’t experience that the same way. Shy dogs can’t reason that if they just get brave and say hi they might be rewarded with a new friend (or some tasty morsel).

And your dog probably isn’t thinking about the beautiful pictures you’re going to have together.

So here’s what I do as a professional dog photographer: I focus first on making this a fun & positive experience for your dog.

Maybe that means I spend the first 10 minutes of our session just letting him sniff everything in my camera bag and maybe the next 5 minutes is about clicking the shutter and handing out treats before I ever bring the camera to my eye.

Or maybe that means we choose a location we know will be quiet and where you can take a couple practice walks to get used to the area in the weeks leading up to our session.

Or maybe it just means your dog needs more space during the session and I’ll use my long lens and calm inside voice so he’s comfortable.

After more than 10 years working with dogs, I can confidently say I’ve only had one dog I couldn’t photograph. (You can read that story here.)

Not only do I know that even your dog can have professional pet photos – I guarantee all my work. If I can’ deliver images you absolutely love – I’ll refund 100%.

Atlanta pet photographer shares her story of the one dog she couldn't photograph.

What to read next?

In the Press

Courtney of CM Bryson is a pet portrait and lifestyle photographer who takes interesting narrative photographs of all sorts of pets –– cats, dogs, donkeys, you name it. She has an amazing ability to capture the fun-loving side of your pets, as well as their deep attachment to you, all while also being able to stage hilarious photoshoots that bring out the inner comedian in your little guys. Whether you’re looking for a serious, high-concept portrait or a hilarious photo of your pet sure to make you giggle for years to come, Courtney might just be the pet photographer for you.