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Items to Have on Hand for Dogs during Photo Sessions

Come on now, you know Elvis has about 18 different sweaters to choose from on any given day. What makes you think he shouldn’t have his own supply of gear in your camera bag? They may not seem like necessities at the moment, but having these little tricks up your sleeve may just pay off at the end of the day.

  • Treats: These little snacks are the holy grail of any dog photographer’s camera bag. Take note of what your dog responds to — whether it’s dehydrated chicken or liver snaps doesn’t really matter, as long as he goes gaga over them. Whichever kind of treat you decide on, be sure to break them up into tiny pieces — you wouldn’t want Elvis getting too pudgy now!

  • Water: Even if you’re doing only a quick photo session, having some good ol’ H20 on hand is always a good idea. Those treats, after all, may get your pooch searching for a swig sooner than you think.

  • Toys: Some dogs love ’em; some dogs couldn’t care less about ’em. If your dog falls into the first category, remember to pack his favorite plushy. You can use this to get him to look at the camera (er, the toy sitting on top of your lens) or as a reward if he isn’t exactly food-motivated.

  • Noisemakers: Be it your mouth, a kazoo, a squeaker, or an iPhone app, unusual and distinct noises are a perfect way to get that inquisitive, cocked-to-the-side head tilt.

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24mm, 1/250 sec., f/5.6, 100

  • Commands: Practice makes perfect when it comes to basic obedience commands like sit, stay, and down. If your pup already has these down, you’re one step ahead of the game!

  • Retractable leash: If you’re conducting a photo session in a public area, you should always use a leash, but if you know beforehand that you want to remove your dog’s leash in postprocessing, consider purchasing a thin, retractable one.

    Always test out a new retractable leash before the photo shoot so you know how to lock it off. A retractable leash isn’t any good if you can’t actually stop it before Ethel Mae hits the end of the rope.

  • Slobber rag: Some dogs are especially slobberrific, and if yours is one of them, try to have a rag ready for the occasion. After treating your pooch about ten thousand times in 20 minutes, your hands will thank you as well.

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