Yes, Your Reactive Dog Can Have Professional Pet Photos

I recently asked about what concerns you have about booking a professional pet photo session for your reactive dog. I received GREAT feedback. Keeping your dog safe, controlling the environment, and helping your dog be calm & relaxed seemed to be the biggest concerns. Sharing your life with a reactive dog can be challenging, but so incredibly rewarding. And you deserve to have beautiful images that show your relationship. A huge benefit of working with a professional photographer that specializes in working with dogs is that I know how to manage your reactive dog’s session to deliver beautiful professional pet photos that keep everyone safe & happy. In this blog, I’m going to share some tips on how I manage a professional pet photo shoot for a reactive dog to set them up for success.

I keep 3 key things in mind when planning your dog photography session when you have a reactive dog: 

  • Preparation
  • Environment
  • Safety
Some dogs have extra sensitivities but keeping preparation, environment, and safety in mind can help reactive dogs have successful pet photography sessions with Atlanta pet photographer CM Bryson.

Preparation for a reactive dog’s photo session

Preparation for your reactive dog's professional photos is key to setting them up for success according to Atlanta pet photographer.

Every signature pet photography session begins with planning & preparation. Whether you have a reactive dog or not, my goal is to get to know you & your dog so I can design a session just for you. During our consultation and planning questionnaire, I’ll ask you to share all about your dog and your vision for the final images we’ll create together. As you tell me about what triggers your reactive dog may have, I can tailor our pet photography session to fit.

For example, some dogs are most sensitive about other dogs in their space. These dogs need us to do our very best to eliminate the possibility of other dogs during our session. This mostly comes down to choosing a location that will best fit your dog’s needs. I have more on that in the next section.

Other dogs are more nervous of people and prefer unknown humans to keep their distance. This is where working with a professional pet photographer can really make a difference. Not only do we have a variety of lenses with different focal lengths that let us stay many feet away from your dog, as a pet specialist I have had training in canine body language with professional dog trainers to help me understand your dog.

And still other dogs are afraid of strange or loud noises. For noise nervous dogs, I’ll put away my squeakers and animal calls to bring down the volume of our session. You can check out some of my tricks to get nervous dogs to look at the camera without making a sound here. And we can again choose a location that is away from the hustle and bustle.

We’ll design your session to meet your dog’s specific triggers.

Controlling the Environment For Your Reactive Dog’s Professional Pet Photos

Now that we know what your dog’s main reactivity triggers are, we can plan the photo shoot environment to set him up for success. Depending on how sensitive your dog is, I can suggest some portrait locations and times that will work for you. I have options from nearly deserted, but still public, parks to private venues we can rent. I also have my own private studio space where we can be indoors completely separate from any other dogs. I promise, there’s an option that will fit your dog’s needs.

I recently wrote another post that details some of my favorite parks. It includes a little bit about which dog’s they are best for. You can view my Favorite Parks for Dog Photography from Athens to Atlanta right here

For private venues I have options for truly gorgeous and unique wedding venues that we can rent out to be the only dog on the property. They are pretty much deserted on weekdays. Take a look at the beautiful Empire Mills on this post with the Anderson’s ELEVEN beautiful dogs at Empire Mills in Madison, Georgia

The time of day can also be very important for reactive dogs. Mornings tend to be less busy at parks since we are there in the hours just after dawn.  Some dogs do their best thinking while they are freshly rested. Other dogs do best when they are a bit tired at the end of the day. 

Getting to know your dog during our pre-session planning process will help me to control the environment of our session to make your dog successful. 


Choosing the right location helps Athens pet photographer CM Bryson control the environemnt of your reactive dog's professional photo session.

Keeping Safety Top Of Mind During A Reactive Dog Photo Session

Safety is number one in every professional dog photo session and the simplest way to keep everyone safe is a basic 6 foot leash. Nearly every single dog I photograph remains on leash 100% of the time. Reactive dogs are no exception. 

And while everyone stays on leash during the photo shoot – you won’t find many leashes in the final images. Safety is number one during the photo shoot and leash removal is number one in post production magic for professional dog photographers!

As long as we plan your reactive dog’s photoshoot keeping 3 key things in mind:


I can create a meaningful session experience and deliver beautiful professional pet photos that keep everyone safe & happy.

This blog is a part of a blog circle with pet photographers near me and from across the globe! This week we’re talking about working with reactive dogs during photo sessions. 

Head over to Darlene Woodward of Pant the Town Photography to read about keeping all dogs safe during their photo session experience.

Be sure to keep clicking the link at the bottom to complete the circle until you wind up back here!

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