Have you ever considered a pet portrait session, but then worried that you wouldn't end up with any images you love? You look at the million photos on your phone, and realize that your pup is a bit camera-shy, and never actually looks at the camera. Well don't worry! When you book a photo session with me, I've got about a million and one secrets to capture your dog's attention.

Every session is unique, customized specifically to your dog. Some dogs are attention seekers, or motivated by food and toys. Some dogs, though, are a little more timid, and need a chance to warm up to their environment. This is totally fine, and if your pup falls into the second category, we'll give them all the time they need at their session to acclimate to me, the camera, and their surroundings. And if your pup is more comfortable at home, we can even do the photo session there.

A huge part of what I do is photographing adoptable dogs for local rescues - it's actually one of the reasons why I started my business. And in doing so, I regularly photograph pups who are nervous around people or a little bit camera-shy. Recently I had the opportunity to photograph Ziti for Hearts for Paws Rescue, and while she's got a ton of personality, it takes a little bit of time for it to shine through her shyness.

Now normally, sessions for adoptable dogs take me about 10-20 minutes, depending on the dog. Little Ziti here got a whole 45 minutes all to herself, though, just so we would have plenty of time for her to feel comfortable around me and the camera. In pet photography, patience is truly a virtue!

tell me your secrets...

So what was the magic that got little Ziti (and other shy dogs I've photographed) to look at the camera?

  1. Novel noises. I carry a number of noise makers on me at all times, along with a few apps on my phone, and my own ability to make outrageously ridiculous noises. The first time a dog hears a new noise, no matter how shy, they're usually curious enough to look my way. And that few seconds is really all I need to capture their inquisitive expression.
  2. Follow Mom. Some dogs are so attached to their humans that it's near impossible to get them to focus on anything else. By strategically positioning mom (or dad) behind me, I can usually capture the attention of even the most nervous of pups.
  3. Treats, treats, and more treats. If your dog is food motivated, that motivation can sometimes be enough to overcome their shyness. I'll give lots of treats (with their pawrents' permission, of course), and use the food as a lure to get them to look my way.

And of course, patience. I will never force a dog into doing something they're not comfortable with. Even if it takes a little extra time, most shy dogs will eventually come around.

Convinced that I've got all the right magic to get your camera-shy pup to look at the camera? Book your complimentary consult to get started today!


Don't forget to continue following the blog circle to find out everyone else's tricks to getting those shy pups to look at the camera. Up next is Linda Perdue of VP Shoots Photography shares tips on how to get dogs looking at the camera during a pet photography session.

resilient dog rescue calendar contest

Before you go...have you heard about our calendar contest benefitting Resilient Dog Rescue? If not, make sure you check it out! Your pup could win a spot in Resilient Dog Rescue's 2022 calendar, a pet portrait session with me, and some fabulous prizes donated by local businesses! We're one week into the five-week contest, and have raised just over half of our $5,000 goal.

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