Outdoor portraits here in Colorado are really a no brainer—so much cool scenery to choose from. We get a lot of requests for outdoor family portraits and sometimes the family wants to add in their dog, after all they’re part of the family. There is a reason why 99% of our pet portraits are in studio—pets, especially dogs can be easily distracted. Can you say squirrel?
That doesn’t mean it cannot be done, just that there need to be a little planning involved. Going to a place familiar to your dog is always a good idea—that way they don’t feel the need to spend a huge amount of time smelling all the new smells in the area. Sometimes though, this is just not possible. For example the couple pictured were from out of town visiting the Springs. Their dogs weren’t familiar with Garden of the God’s but they wanted them in the photograph anyway.
The couple arrived early at the park and checked out the area with their dogs. The dogs were a little more comfortable by the time the photography started but still the golden was distracted by squirrels. Since I knew in advance that we were photographing a couple with two dogs outdoors I brought an assistant with treats who used those to distract the dogs long enough for the portraits to be taken.
When photographing pets outdoors it’s important to remember a few things. One, make sure your pet is on leash—even though they may be well behaved, an unknown area with distractions like wildlife can prove too much to resist. We will work to minimize the leash showing in the photographs so don’t overly stress about having them on leash. Also we ask that you bring not only treats but water for your pets. Even if it’s not a hot day they will get stressed and over worked and need water. We need to also watch the time of day—if it’s overly hot for humans imagine having fur in heat!
We love photographing people with their pets and don’t mind doing family portraits outdoors with pets if we can plan enough ahead to be prepared.