Magic Words: Tips for taking great photos of your dog

When I arrive at a dog’s home for a photo session, I’m greeted with lots of energy.  Many dogs are so excited about me being there, they wag and wiggle, show me their favorite toys, peak inside my camera lens, check their food bowl, ask nicely for a belly rub or suggest a good scratch right above the tail. I’m happy to oblige, of course. All of this rigorous greeting and getting to know each other leads to a lot of panting. And pictures of panting dogs are fine, but a few of these go a long way. What I really want to get are shots that show more facets of a dog’s personality.

So, how to get a dog to close her mouth? Say some magic words. Usually anything that starts with “do you want…” and ends with a noun or verb will get her to slurp in her tongue if only for a quick second. And this is just enough time to snap the shot.

I’ll ask a dog’s person what her magic words are before the shoot begins so I have my secret arsenal ready if I should need it. Invariably, Missoula dogs will snap to attention when asked if they want to go to their favorite off-leash area, like Bark Park? Water Works Hill? Jumbo? Saddle? Blue Mountain? River?

Missoula dogs are also ready to say yes! to any of their favorite activities like Hike? Swim? Fishing? They also love any suggestion they’ll get to ride in a Truck? or Boat?

Kamukin visited me from out of town so she didn’t know Missoula dogs’ magic words. She came with one of her own….Frisbee?

Around our house, just the word “do” would get an immediate yes! But, that’s the price a dog pays for living with a dog-loving photographer.

What’s your dog’s magic word? Next time you are snapping a photo of them, try this simple trick and let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below.

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