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After leash removal

Your Dog’s Safety Comes First

Are you interested in doing a photo session with your dog, but maybe they turn into a “cujo”, growling, lunging, and foaming at the mouth when they see another dog?  Are you concerned they don’t love humans so there might not ever be the opportunity to get beautiful photos of them?  Are they an escape artist and you worry about having to have them “off leash”?  Are they anxious in the car and the thought driving them to an epic location makes your stomach turn?  I understand that these are all concerns that you may have.  I am here to tell you that my priority during a dog photo session is to keep your dog safe, along with everyone else around us.  Safety comes first.  My goal is for a relaxing and fun photo session experience. And I’m here to tell you about how we do that together!

The Planning Call

The planning call is so important.  This call is done over zoom. It takes place about a week before your photo session. We finalize all of the details of our photo session.  I’m here to address all of the concerns that you might have!  

Where will the photo session take place?

What time will we meet?

What do I need to bring?

Work from Home Dog


The location plays a huge part in keep your dog safe!  If your dog is dog “reactive”, we are going to either photograph your dog right in your own backyard, or go to one of the “quieter” locations that I use, such as Zorvino Vineyards. I do not want your dog to be stressed during a photo session.  Many dogs are most comfortable right at home, and I promise you we will get beautiful pictures!  

My own dog, Kota, is extremely dog reactive. She doesn’t love every human, either.  She has a very small “circle of trust” – but once you get in…your her friend for life!  I did a early morning photo session with her at the Vineyard.  We didn’t run into anyone and she had the best time! We meet shortly after sunrise … I know, that’ early. It’s worth it!  

This image was the inspiration for my Pant the Town Photography logo when I rebranded 2 years ago.

Safe Locations for Dog Photo Sessions
Relaxed and having fun

Stunning Ember doesn’t love people.  My job isn’t to become friends with her. My job is to make sure she is comfortable and relaxed. Her backyard was the best option!  

Safety First Dog Photo Session
Ember Enjoying Her Backyard

Senior dogs might not have the mobility and stamina for the beach or hiking trails.  A backyard photo session is perfect!  Georgia loved the comfort and safety of being home.

Safety Dog Photo Senior


The equipment you use, along with equipment that I use, is extremely important for safety during our photo session. 

1. Collars

Your dog must wear a collar.  I recommend a flat collar or a martingale collar (if your dog is an “escape artist”). If you walk your dog on a harness, we can switch to a collar when we do photos.  I do not permit shock or prong collars during a photo session.  I aim to capture the joy and connection between you and your dog and I want the photo session to be a positive, safe experience for all!  

Prior to pet photography, I had a dog walking and dog training business. I follow the dog professionals Business Code of Ethics in all of my interactions with dogs and their family: Business Code of Ethics.

In the picture below, Kota has on a martingale collar. With this type of collar, the placement of the loop is kept towards the back of the dog’s neck. 

Martingale collar for pet photo sessions
Kota showing off her Poppies collar

2. Leashes

Unless we are in your fenced in backyard, 95% of dog’s are kept on leash during a photo session. This is for the safety of all!  The magic of post processing removes the leash.  Senior pooch, Rose, at her recent session at Winthrop Harbor.

Before and After Leash Removal 2
Leashed Up
After leash removal

3. Photographer’s Equipment

The majority of my photo sessions I use a 135 mm lens.  This lens gives a nice distance between me and your dog. It’s perfect for dogs that are a bit fearful and uncertain of new things.  

I carry an extra long lead, extra collars, and bug spray (to keep us humans safe from the mosquitoes!)

If during your planning session I discover that your dog is extremely sound sensitive, I will not use my “noise makers” during the session. I will do more with movement and with treats/food.  Food also comes in handy when there is a loose dog in the area. 

Good Paws Healthy Dog Treats
Tasty and Healthy Treats from Good Paws

The Photo Session

Now it’s time to relax and have a fun!  If we are in a public location, I do have eyes in the back of my head.  Having had a “reactive” dog for 11 years I am on the constant lookout for everything going on in my surroundings…. and I do this while lining up the perfect shots to capture of your dog!

Check out handsome happy Koning, one of my Tails of the World participants enjoying Front Beach in Rockport, MA. 

Koning Front Beach Before
Koning Front Beach After

Ready to book a fun AND safe photo session with your dog?

Thanks for stopping by! This post is part of a pet photographer’s blog circle. Click on the following link and follow along with some amazing pet photographers from around the world!  Next up Cahlean of About A Dog Photography talks about safety during your session (hint it involves leashes!) Enjoy!


5 thoughts on “Your Dog’s Safety Comes First”

  1. Ton of great information! Leashes, what collars to wear, times of day, all to stress how much you care about the safety of dogs during their session!

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