As a professional dog photographer, capturing beautiful and lively images of your dog extends far beyond simply having the latest camera or editing software. It’s also about understanding and capturing the unique personality of him.
One way to bring out that personality is by allowing your dog to get fresh air every day.
Although encouraging your dog to get out in nature prior to his session may not be the first recommendation you may think can improve his portrait experience, the benefits of taking in a breath of fresh air extend far beyond the advantages it provides to his overall health and well-being.
Thinking this sounds a bit woo-woo? Hear me out as I share five ways in which fresh air helps make the most of your dog’s photography session.
1. Increases energy and engagement
Dogs who spend time outdoors in fresh air tend to feel more energized and engaged with their surroundings, helping to produce more exciting and captivating images. That engagement carries over to increased interest and interaction with their photographer as well, resulting in a stronger connection that presents itself all that much stronger in their facial expressions and body language.
Physical activity can also increase your dog’s alertness and make him more receptive to your cues and the direction of your photographer. This heightened cooperation and responsiveness to you means he’s less likely to be distracted by new surroundings or other stimuli. Because you’ll be playing an important role in assisting your photographer throughout your session, you’ll appreciate your pup being easier to direct and position to get the perfect portrait.
2. Enhances natural expressions
Most dogs present more relaxed and expressive when outside, producing more natural and candid expressions that truly capture their personalities. Incorporating fresh air activities as simple as going for a walk or playing a game of fetch in your backyard can help your furry friend feel more relaxed and comfortable. The comfort and confidence that develops from these types of exercise and play translates seamlessly into more joyful and authentic expressions in his portraits.
During your session, action shots of your dog running, jumping, swimming, and playing can also create dynamic and engaging images that capture the unique personality and spirit of your loyal companion.
3. Provides mental stimulation
Dogs crave mental stimulation to stay happy and engaged. Spending time outdoors exposes them to new sights, sounds and smells, sensory experiences that activate the brain, preventing boredom and anxiety, which can lead to destructive behaviors such as chewing and digging.
Exercise and physical activity can also have a positive impact on your dog’s mood, helping them feel more relaxed and content. When his brain is stimulated and engaged in activity, he’ll find himself in a more relaxed and focused state, which can make your photography session run more efficiently.
4. Improve socialization
For anxious or reactive pups, allowing them to experience outdoor physical activity prior to meeting up with their photographer can help reduce anxiety and restlessness, making it easier for them to focus and cooperate during the session. Dogs are social creatures by nature, so offering consistent opportunities for them to get outside and interact with other dogs and new people can help them develop their social skills and build confidence around others.
If your dog has encountered a variety of outdoor situations and is comfortable meeting other animals and humans, your versatility in session location options expands as well. With a well-socialized dog, you’ll feel more confident in your photographer’s location recommendations. You’ll also have a wider range of locations well suited for your dog and zero worries about him becoming anxious or misbehaving.
5. Helps with sleep
One of my favorite texts to receive after your dog’s session is the one with a photo of him passed out in the backseat of your vehicle, typically within minutes of leaving your session location. It happens with almost every session, and that’s because fresh air and exercise can improve your dog’s sleep!
When your pup is tuckered out and feeling physically and mentally fulfilled, he’s more likely to sleep well at night. Just as we’ve come to find out for ourselves, quality sleep is essential to improving the overall health and well-being of our dogs. A restful night of sleep can help your best friend wake up feeling refreshed and relaxed, reducing stress and anxiety during your session and preventing him from displaying hyperactive or overly excited behavior during his session.
Using fresh air for the most engaging and expressive dog portraits
Allowing your dog to breathe in some fresh air each day is not only essential for his health and happiness, it’s a game changer for enhancing your pet photography experience! From helping to draw out his individual personality and increasing engagement to prevent boredom and anxiety during his sessions, you may be surprised at the tremendous difference spending time outdoors prior to meeting with your photographer can make your final images. As a professional dog photographer, I encourage you to prioritize your furry friend’s fresh air each day, not just for their overall health and happiness, but also for the benefits it can bring to our time together.
Did you enjoy this post? Great, there’s more coming your way because it’s part of a photography blog circle featuring pet photographers from all over the world! Houston pet photographer, Kelly J. Russo recaps her annual springtime photo session in Texas bluebonnets for this week’s theme of “Fresh Air.” Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here. If you get lost along the way, just look for the trail of dog hair. I won’t be far off…