Earlier in the year, I was contacted about arranging a photo shoot for two dogs: Missie, a Lhasa Apso, and Yogi, a Lhasa/Shih Tzu/Norfolk Terrier mix.
Their owner had some concerns about arranging a photo shoot for them both, as Missie had been badly abused by a previous owner and was extremely nervous of new people and things that were different to her normal routine.
We talked through the issues and agreed that the shoot would take place in their home, a location which is comfortable and familiar for Missie, where she could hide herself if things got too much. We weren't sure how Missie would react at all, and their owner was happy for the shoot to just be for Yogi if Missie didn't react well. Yogi, despite being a young dog aged just one year old, had had some very serious health issues in his short life and had been diagnosed with kidney disease at the end of last year.
One of the best things for a very nervous dog is for their dog photo shoot to take place in a really familiar location, ideally at home. I was also conscious of not bringing too many new things into that environment, so my kit went down to the bare essentials: a covered base, one light & softbox, and I actually only used the black side of a reflector as my backdrop!
On the day of the dog photo shoot, I began by photographing Yogi, who had absolutely no fear! After getting his individual portraits, I asked their owner to put Missie alongside Yogi on the backdrop, to see how she reacted. With Yogi beside her, she was quite happy to stay still and I was thrilled to get the below shot of both of them!
I also took some photographs of Missie on her own towards the end, once I knew I had the shot of both of them.
The entire photo shoot lasted no longer than about 40 minutes, as I was conscious of keeping things short and not causing any stress to Missie. Keeping a relaxed atmosphere and a familiar environment was key in making sure everything went well, as well as understanding and being mindful of the history of both dogs.
At their Viewing session, Missie & Yogi's humans were absolutely thrilled to see such a lovely portrait of their fur babies!
This portrait has become all the more poignant as just one month after their photo shoot, Yogi had a seizure and passed over the Rainbow Bridge. He was full of character and was very much loved, so I'm really pleased that I was able to capture such a precious memory for his family.