What would life be like without a dog? I am quite certain I will never know. They bring us such comfort and joy with their faithful protection, good moods, smiles, friendship and endless supply of love. My two big boys teach me just about everything I need to know about how to treat others; I am very grateful to them.
One of the best gifts I can give to you is a story, in the form of un-posed images, of the relationship between you and your companion. When I first meet a dog, I like to just sit on the floor, grass or couch together to become friends (always with homemade organic cookies in my pocket!) If schedules allow, it's nice to meet in advance of the actual shoot but if not, I just take my time becoming acquainted on the 'day of'. Many dogs are immediately at ease with a new person but with others, some extra time, patience and sensitivity are needed....all of which I am happy to give. I use only available light, never lighting or flash, to keep things as natural and relaxed as possible. There is some gorgeous studio photography out there but I personally feel that animals are happiest on their own turf...
Rather than posing or prodding a dog to sit, stay, come, etc., I like to allow him or her to just do their dog thing which usually works best in their own house or yard. If you have a boat that can whisk us off to a private beach, that's an awesome place to photograph an "I can run for MILES after my frisbee" kind of buddy! It's also a nice setting for some shots of you interacting with him or her, too....who doesn't feel wonderful on the sand, next to the water?
I like to set aside at least a couple of hours for the session which includes the getting-to-know-each other period. Each one is so different, I just go with the flow of the animal, family and available time....I don't have a formula other than to make it fun for everyone and, of course, to provide you with beautiful images in the end that will always touch your heart.