7 Reasons Not to Book a Pet Photography Session

After nearly ten years of being in business as a professional pet photographer, I’ve heard so many stories of people not getting around to booking a session, only to regret it later. There are always reasons they didn’t book… I think I’ve heard them all!

I’d like to share the most common reasons here so you know you’re not alone.

Also, the reasons why those reasons suck.


1. “My dog is young and healthy – I have plenty of time!”

Myself and Luna at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane – this photo is so precious to me! Photo by Dog Breath Photography.

Back in September 2015, I lost my beautiful 8 year old Great Dane, Luna.

I was working from home on a Friday afternoon, with Luna snoozing on her bed behind me. We took a break outside in the front yard and Luna was wandering around on the grass, enjoying the sunshine and sniffing around, in no apparent distress.

Suddenly and with no warning, she collapsed and died instantly.

The vet said it must have been a heart attack or stroke – there was nothing I could have done.

It was a huge, huge shock and I was in total disbelief for a long time. You know when you think you’re dreaming, and you keep trying to wake up?

That was me for the first week.

Luna was so happy and apparently healthy, enjoying life and loved by so many the world over. She left a huge hole in my heart and an empty spot by my side.

You never know when you might have to say goodbye – and in some cases – you may not even get the opportunity at all.

Losing Luna so unexpectedly (in the wake of losing her sister Kaya at the tender age of two) has driven me share her story and remind you that (fatalistic as it seems) you never know when your time with your precious fur-kid will be up. It’s a timely reminder to make a habit of showing them how much you love them every single day. Make every second you have with them count and make their lives absolutely awesome!

Don’t delay booking your session because your dog is young or apparently healthy. You just never know what the future holds.

Don’t be left with only blurry iPhone snaps of your beloved family member.

The wall art and album we got are exceptionally special to us as one of our fur babies unexpectedly passed away only a couple of weeks after our photo session. We now have these beautiful pictures as a lasting memory of all our wonderful fur family. - Laurel and Kevin


2. “My dog isn’t well behaved enough.”

Dynamo the Dalmatian was best kept on-leash (edited out). That didn’t stop him partying during his photo session though!

I bet you didn’t know that most dogs I photograph are untrained and on-leash during the session? You’re paying for a dedicated professional to get amazing photos of your pet – which means you get to sit back, relax and let me deal with all the details. You also need to read this!

We do not have the best behaved boy but Charlotte managed to work so well with him with some really beautiful results! - Kate

Charlotte is a magician. Both my dogs (one in particular) are difficult to get to focus on anything but she takes the time to work with them and ends up with far too many brilliant photos to choose a favourite. - Andrew


3. “My dog is timid, scared, camera shy, or not comfortable with strangers.”

Moo lived most of her life on a puppy farm. In her questionnaire, her mum said “Because of her history, she is shy around strangers and will usually take herself off to lie on my bed when people come to the house. She will have a sniff of humans but will usually back away quickly if someone tries to pat her. She will hang around if there is food but otherwise will take herself a little way away, lie down and watch.” And yet, this is one of the many beautiful shots I was able to get of her with knowledge, patience and experience.

Dog behaviour and body language is a complex field of expertise. Being experienced, sensitive, observant and most of all – having a “feel” for dogs – is essential when working with them in the sometimes challenging environment of a photo shoot.

Through owning and training my own dogs and constant exposure to our canine friends on a daily basis through my work, I have gained a solid understanding of doggy behaviour.

Each dog teaches me more and I never stop learning.

Over the years, I’ve worked with every type of dog personality – from hyper to indifferent – from outgoing to timid. Dogs that have had a rough start in life and simply don’t trust people, I have managed to make friends with – through an understanding that comes naturally to me.

There are so many different ways I can work with your dog that don’t involve having a camera shoved in their face or having them feeling out of their comfort zone.

Most importantly, I also know when to quit.

If your dog is truly terrified or really unhappy with the experience, rest assured I can recognise this and will never push them further than they can handle. If we need to end the session (which has happened maybe a grand total of 2 times in ten years) we’ll always end on a positive note, then regroup later with Plan B. And there is always a Plan B!

I think my past clients say it best:

Charlotte had a great rapport with our dogs and I loved that she took the time to play and get to know them then made sure they were relaxed before the work began. - Michelle

On the day she was number ONE and her safety and enjoyment were your priority not once did you show any frustration with Sparkles when she did what she pleased rather than what was wanted. You allowed her to be herself, as a result I would have no hesitation recommending you to other people for their pets photos. - Shirley

Even though one of my dogs in particular was a real challenge to work with, Charlotte found a way to bring out the best in him. - Rebecca

My dogs were at ease with Charlotte from the moment they met her. I have a very timid, shy dog who does not usually connect quickly. The photo session was relaxed, fun and enjoyable. - Sharon


4. “I just can’t afford it.”

Dog art on your wall? Awesome. Your own dog as art on your wall? Priceless!

I believe pet photography should be accessible for everyone, so I provide flexible payment options. There’s no need to pay for your product order in full and up-front, you can pay it off over time with my flexible interest-free payment plans. You could also put the full payment on your credit card, get your products sooner, and pay it off at your own pace.

Your session can be booked months in advance, giving you time to budget and save.

I want you to have this experience, because I know how valuable it is.

Not in terms of money, but in memories.

Years down the track, I guarantee you won’t remember the price, but you will forever have those precious memories of the love you have for your pet that were created at your photo session.

I cannot put a price on the value of this gift. If there was a fire in my home and I could only take one thing it would be those wonderful photos. - Heidi and Tony

We initially only wanted to buy some wall art but loved our photos so much that we decided to get an album as well. The quality of the products exceeded our expectations and we are so happy and excited that we got them! - Urszula and John


5. “I’m just waiting for a scar to heal / shaved hair to grow out or my dog has tear staining / lick marks etc.”

Spot the difference! Jenkins had some skin issues that caused hair loss on his face, easy enough to fix up in Photoshop.

I totally get it, you want your dog to look their best in photos. So you postpone booking, waiting for that scar on their face from their latest misadventure to heal. Waiting for the hair to grow back on their leg from their last vet visit. Waiting for that hot spot on their side to go away.

I’ll share a little trade secret with you.

Photoshop is a wonderful, wonderful tool in the hands of a professional photographer.

Minor imperfections (and sometimes major ones) really are no problem at all for me to fix up in the editing stage. Don’t let the little things get in the way!


7. “I want to be in the photos too, but I’m not confident in front of the camera.”

No posing or even showing your face if you aren’t comfortable with that – there are many ways you can be in the photos!

Lack of confidence in front of the camera is such a common concern. Having been recently married, my incredibly camera-shy husband and I experienced life on the other side of the camera.

Looking back, I really don’t know what I was worried about.

Our photographer Lyndal did a really great job, putting us at ease and allowing us to concentrate on each other and focus on having a great time, rather than being consciously aware of posing for photos.

I learned that when it comes down to it, regardless of how you look – if you relax and enjoy the experience, remember to smile and laugh and most importantly love your dog (why else would you be doing this?) – it will show in the resulting images.

And that is the important thing!

You can choose to have posed portraits, or if you’re not comfortable with that, let me know you’re only up for candids – or only want to appear in the background – all fuzzy and out-of-focus – but there nevertheless! And you know what?

You don’t even have to be in the photos at all.

Many of my clients only want shots of their dog – and that is perfectly okay. It’s your photo session and you call the shots.

The photos are fabulous, and I found her to be understanding, patient, and took the time to find out about me, my dog and our connection, which showed in the photos. - Drene

There are some shots of Buddy that are just so adorable and cute and there are a couple of beautiful ones of us together that I will treasure forever. - Kim


7. “I don’t have time / I’m too busy.”

Having to relocate overseas for work at very late notice didn’t stop Ayse from making the time to book a session for her beloved boy Yagmur before she went. As a result, she was able to take her beautiful products with her when she went as a precious memento of their time together.

Being busy is another very common block to booking a photo session. I get it, I really do. Busy is an epidemic in our modern world – but I’ve come to understand over the years – it’s also a choice we make.

Please make the choice to make time for this experience.

As well as mid week sessions, Saturday sessions are available and you can book up to 6 months in advance (which also give you time to save up for all the goodies you’re going to want to order once you’ve seen your beautiful photos) and check my availability online before you book.

Any more excuses? Go on, I dare you! Leave them as comments below. 😉

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