4 Tips for Including Pet’s In Your Senior Session

I don’t know about you, but my dog is the center of my universe, which is why when I have photos done, I know I HAVE to include her! Though I do love my pup, she can be a lot especially when photos are involved much like other pets, which is why it is important to come prepared and know what to expect when including a pet for your senior session!

We will go over what to expect from your senior session when including a pet. We will talk about how to prepare for your senior session with your pet. Then we will end with 4 tips for including your pet’s in your senior session.

Senior session with graduate and pet dog

What to Expect

I suggest setting aside around 15 minutes max to get some photos with your pets. Preferably at the beginning or the end of your session.

I highly recommend having a parent or sibling come along to help with your pet. Their job will be to help keep your pet calm when taking the photos, help them to get their attention towards the camera/you, and then to take care of your pet once the portion of your session taken with your pets is over.

How to Prepare and What to Bring

I am an animal person, but as I won’t know your pet, it’s important that we communicate from the get-go. We will need to communicate the best ways for me to approach your pets without making them feel threatened. It may take a couple of minutes for me to introduce myself to your pet and it may also take them a minute to calm down after introductions, so we must be patient with your pets during this time so that we can get their full cooperation during your senior session!

What motivates your pet? If you will have your pet off-leash in a backyard or in your home, you will want to make sure you have something that can grab their attention. Knowing what motivates your pet can help us to take the photos faster. Having a treat ready or a toy that they find interesting can help a pup, cat, or other pets to focus and be in the moment. The treat or toy will help keep their attention both on me as the photographer and you as the owner.

Senior session with graduate and pet rabbit

4 Tips for Including Your Pets In Your Senior Photo Session

1. Get Their Energy Out

If you have a high-energy pet that you plan to incorporate in your senior session, I recommend having someone take them for a walk or play very hard with them a couple of hours before your session. This will help them to keep their nervous energy to a minimum and help them to focus on you when we are taking photos.

2. Have Your Session Somewhere They’re Familiar With

If you want your pet to have their attention on you during your senior session it helps to take the photos in a space your animal is familiar with. Say your pet is on the larger side and can’t be on a leash this space would more than likely be inside your home. And if your pet is on the smaller side/can fit in your arms then you can have a little more flexibility with location and familiarity.

3. Bring Something That Will Grab Their Attention

If you plan to have your pet roaming around in your backyard or on a leash, it is helpful to have something for your pet to pay attention to when taking photos. If your pet is food motivated opt for bringing a small bag of kibble or treats to keep their attention on you. For pets that have a good recall and can be off-leash it can be fun to incorporate a toy in your photos to show how the two of you interact during your senior session. Sometimes it can be helpful to have a brand new toy to grab their attention as well, I always go through Chewy for my pup and they have items for any pet!

4. Safety First

There are very few forest preserves in our area that allow off-leash pets. It is important that we respect both the parks that we use as well as any patrons that may pass by us while at the park. If you want to have your pet off-leash and roaming for your session, I highly suggest taking photos in your yard or an enclosed yard or space that your pet as well as you are familiar with.

For any pet lovers out there it can be so much fun to include them in your senior photos session, as long as it is done correctly. Following these tips will allow you to get great photos of you and your pet together while also keeping everyone involved happy and safe. Looking for more tips for your senior session? Check out my blogs for senior sessions for all of the inspiration.

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