When you’re thinking about booking a photo shoot, your head will probably be filled with all manner of questions - from how things work on the day and what you need to do to prepare, to what happens if your dog misbehaves or doesn’t like it.
There might be something really specific you want to know, or perhaps you feel silly asking something that feels like it should be really obvious.
With that in mind, I’ve pulled together twenty popular questions that my clients have asked in the past, to help you get the answers you need:
Does my dog need perfect sit/stay/recall?
That’s a big NOPE! I know you might be looking at the photos in my gallery and thinking there’s no way your crazy dog is ever going to pose so beautifully.
Let me tell you a secret - most of the time those images are captured in a split second, a second you might not even notice on the day. It’s rare that I photograph a dog who poses beautifully on cue time after time - in fact, I’m not sure such a thing exists!
So don’t beat yourself up if your dog isn’t perfect - they don’t need to be!
Can my dog stay on lead?
Yes - if your dog is a flight risk, we can absolutely keep them on lead for their photo shoot. If you normally use a harness, I recommend removing this for your photo shoot as they tend to be very visible in photos, so make sure you bring along a lead and collar that we can use while actually taking the shots, even if they go back on harness to move between locations.
The lead can be removed in Photoshop so that it doesn’t appear in your final images.
My dog is a new rescue with no training. Can he still have a photo shoot?
The short answer is yes, although I’d add a couple of caveats!
Let’s think about how recently your dog has joined your family and where he’s come from. Rescue dogs can come with a lot of baggage, depending on their upbringing and previous life experiences, so throwing them in to a photo shoot with lots of new things happening might not be the best idea until they’re more settled with you.
Secondly, depending on their previous history, it might be worth considering what the best type of photo shoot for them is - for example if they’re likely to be bothered by flashes firing, a low-key outdoor shoot might be best.
But otherwise, they’re good to go! There is no need to take your dog off-lead if he’s a flight risk, and I can show you how to hold the lead to keep it out of shot as much as possible. I can also remove the lead in Photoshop, so that they’re not in the final images you choose to display in your home.
Is my puppy too young?
Not at all!
For obvious reasons I would suggest waiting until puppy has had their vaccinations, particularly for any Limited Edition Sessions as I normally offer several appointments on the same day.
But there’s no need to worry about whether puppy is trained enough - you’ll be amazed how quickly they learn that sitting beautifully for the camera earns them a yummy treat!
I think I’m going to have to say goodbye to my dog soon - can you help me?
I’m so sorry to hear that you’re approaching the time to say goodbye - it’s the worst part of owning a dog.
I do have a Bespoke Experience designed specifically for this purpose. It’s a relaxed and respectful session capturing all those precious memories with you and your dog, and can take place in your home or in a favourite place, if your dog’s health permits us to choose a different location. The Twilight Days Memory Session includes a Desk Frame of your favourite photo, as well as a Classic Memory Album with all the images from your photo shoot - because I believe that you shouldn’t have to choose between those precious memories at the hardest time of your life together.
If you need a photo shoot at short notice (e.g. due to critical illness), please phone me and I will do my utmost to fit you in - but if I can’t, I’ll be happy to refer you to another local photographer who I know will give your dog the respect and care they deserve.
I have a really specific idea in mind. Can you capture it?
If you have a very specific idea in mind, the best thing to do is to have a chat about it, so I can make sure I understand exactly what you’re looking for. We can talk through how your vision can be achieved and I’ll recommend the best photo shoot package to do this for you.
How do I know which package is right for me?
If you’re not sure which is the best option or you’d like to talk it over with me before booking, you can schedule a no-obligation chat where we can go through everything and help you decide which option is right for you.
Can I pick the location?
Limited Edition Sessions take place at pre-selected locations which I have chosen as they offer the right settings for us to capture images in the time allowed. I’ll also have annual permits for these locations, where applicable.
Bespoke Experiences are fully customisable and can take place at a location chosen by you, subject to any required permits being granted. These usually incur an additional cost which is not included in the cost of your photo shoot.
There are a number of locations I recommend which either do not require a permit, or I use regularly and pay an annual permit for. If you have a specific location in mind, do let me know and I can find out whether a permit is required for you.
Why is there a permit fee?
Sadly this is out of my control. For some locations, the landowner charges a permit fee for commercial activity taking place on their land - this could be a nominal amount or may be more expensive depending on the location.
Some locations may also require a specific level of public liability insurance which may exceed the amount specified on my policy - additional cover can be added but this will also incur a fee.
These charges are not included in your booking fee and will therefore be passed on to you at cost.
Permit fees can vary greatly, so if you have a location in mind, please let me know in plenty of time so that we can check the details and make any arrangements - for example the Forestry Commission requires a minimum of 8 weeks to process any permit applications.
Why do you come to my house for Studio Style portraits?
I don’t have a physical studio, so in order to capture Studio Style portraits, I usually either come to the client’s home OR I use a village hall or similar premises nearby. Of the two, I usually find that working in the client’s home is better, because your dog is in a familiar place where they can relax and suss everything out at their own pace. This is particularly important for Studio Style portraits as I tend to bring a lot of “stuff” with me (it’s like I’m moving in!)
However, if you really feel your home won’t be suitable, it’s absolutely fine to use a village hall or similar premises to capture those moments you’re going to love. We may just need to allow a little extra time for your dog to settle and get used to what’s happening.
What if my dog doesn’t like it?
I always hope that with enough time to let them settle and relax, your dog will be comfortable during their photo shoot. However, some dogs just may not like it. In that case, we adapt things to make them easier - for example using natural light instead of flash, or heading out into the garden.
If your dog is particularly nervous or unsure of new people, it might be worth us meeting up beforehand so they can have a good sniff of me before we introduce all the camera equipment into their environment.
And if they’re really not happy, we can always reschedule to another day and take things at their pace.
What happens if the weather is bad?
Well, it depends what you mean by bad! If you mean a cloudy day, we photographers LOVE it because the light is all soft & diffused for your photo shoot, so we don’t need to worry about harsh shadows (top tip - we DON’T love the sun!)
But if the weather is wet, windy or snowy, then we might have to take a view on whether it is safe and practical to go ahead with your photo shoot. If you have a long-haired dog, you don’t want them looking all bedraggled in the rain for their photo shoot!
If we need to, it’s absolutely fine to reschedule your photo shoot to a day when the weather is better suited to what we’re trying to achieve.
What happens if you can’t get any photos of my dog?
I’m pleased to say that, to date, this has never happened, but I know it’s always possible there could be a first time!
If you’ve booked a Bespoke Experience, we can take as much time as your dog needs to let them settle and get used to what’s happening, with plenty of breaks if they need them. We can adapt the session to make them more comfortable,, or if they’re really happy, we can always reschedule to a new date.
With Limited Edition Sessions, there is a fixed time allocated for your photo shoot, which is unlikely to be able to be extended. However, if your dog really isn’t comfortable, to the point I can’t get any photos of them, you can credit your booking fee towards a Flexible session on an alternative date, to give them the extra time they need.
What if my dog misbehaves?
There’s no such thing as a naughty dog!
Seriously, on the day we go with the flow and keep everything relaxed so that your dog is more likely to be calm. It doesn’t matter if they can’t sit still for more than a few seconds, or if they pee on the backdrop (I have dog-friendly anti-bac for that!), the most important thing is that they are relaxed and comfortable during the photo shoot.
This is a judgement free zone so don’t worry about what your dog is going to get up to - other than have a great time!
Can we include ourselves/our kids in the photo shoot?
Bespoke Experiences can be completely personalised to capture the memories that you want to treasure, so it’s absolutely fine to include the two-legged creatures in your photo shoot.
I also offer a specific Me & My Dog Limited Edition Session, which is focused on capturing the bond between dogs and their humans, and is ideal for including the whole family.
Do I really need an Artwork Consultation?
Contrary to popular opinion, the Artwork Consultation is NOT about coercing you into spending more money than you’re comfortable with. In fact, it’s all about providing you with a personalised service to talk through all the different options, compare products and packages and talk about what’s going to look amazing in your home, so that you have absolutely confidence that you’ve made the right decision for you.
There’s no hard sell and no ultimatums - in fact, I keep your images indefintely and prices are guaranteed for 12 months from the date of your photo shoot, so there’s no pressure at all.
An Artwork Consultation is included with all Bespoke Packages, and can be added as an optional extra to Limited Edition Sessions for a fixed fee of £25. This fee will be credited against your invoice if you go on to place an additional product order following your consultation.
How do instalments work?
I offer instalment plans on all my photo shoot packages and artwork orders so that you can spread the cost if you need to, with no interest or additional charges for using this service.
For photo shoot booking fees, your payments are spread over a fixed number of instalments, and your photo shoot can take place as soon as the first instalment has been paid.
For artwork orders, there is some flexibility with the number of instalments in your plan, up to a maximum of six months.
In both cases, your artwork is delivered as soon as your payment plan has been paid in full.
Why are images and products sold separately?
The short answer is because we’re all different!
Each photo shoot package includes at least one product or an Artwork Package, so that you know you can take home a memento of your photo shoot without needing to spend anything extra.
All artwork items are also available on my A La Carte pricelist so that you can decide on what will look great in your home and order what YOU want, rather than what I think you should have.
Don’t forget, I keep all your images indefinitely and prices are guaranteed for 12 months following the date of your photo shoot, so you can always add to your collection later if you wish.
Can I upgrade my included artwork?
Yes absolutely! Normally you’ll just pay the difference in price between the two items, but do ask me if there’s anything you’re interested in and I’ll be happy to confirm the upgrade prices for you.
Do you have a question that I've missed?
Simply email me or add it in the comments and I'll be happy to help!