How do you plan for success?

It’s a lot easier than you think!

If you are reading this, then you are interested in knowing what it takes to successfully plan an adventure photoshoot for your pup. Since you may already have a sense of what goes into a studio session, learning about what goes into adventure photoshoot will help you make decisions when you go on to book an adventure photoshoot with us. Our goal is to set you up for success so the process is as easy as possible!

Without further ado, here is our list of 7 Tips for a Successful Adventure Photoshoot! Be sure to read through each of them, plus the ‘pro-tip’ for each, to get the most out of the list.

  1. Location, Location, Location!
  2. Seasons: how can they affect your experience?
  3. Knowing your physical capabilities
  4. Go with what your pup likes most
  5. Determine what kind of adventure YOU would like to go on
  6. Know your motivation and the story you want to tell
  7. Know what to expect at an Adventure Pup Photography photoshoot

1. Location, Location, Location!

Location is everything. Though you may or may not know where you want to go, there are a lot of things you can decide upon that will help narrow down a list of possible destinations. First and foremost is your comfort level with the outdoors. Are you a total adventure-seeker that enjoys the untamed wild? Or do you prefer to play it a bit safer and keep to regulated parks? Knowing your level of comfort needs can help determine where you want to start looking. Also, how far are you willing to drive? Since there are four distant corners of Colorado for adventure, knowing the amount of time you want to spend on the road helps narrow the scope even more. And finally, what kinds of scenery do you want to be surrounded by? Knowing if you want mountain vistas, waterfalls, or rugged gorges can also help determine specific locations you can visit.

Adventure Pup Photography’s Pro Tip: Even if you don’t know what kind of scenery you are looking for, we can provide suggestions. We are always available to make the decision-making process as easy as possible by running down a checklist and narrowing down the possibilities.

2. Seasons: how can they affect your experience?

We are fortunate to live in a place that goes through all 4 seasons. There are a few different advantages to this, but the biggest by far is the ability to enhance a given scene with seasonal elements. You can think about this as snow-capped mountains in the winter, playing in the middle of a field of wildflowers in the spring, or getting lost in a grove of aspens in the fall. If you plan things in advance, you can even capture a great 4-season collage! Another great advantage of seasonal planning is determining what kind of weather you like to be in. If you’re a warm-weather person, you can plan your outings for those summer months, while if you and your pup are snow lovers, you can plan a nice snowshoeing trip in the winter. There are other considerations such as what temperatures your pup can handle (Too hot? Too cold?), driving conditions to get to your destination (snowy/icy roads in winter, muddy roads in spring/summer), and the amount of light per day (summer months = longer hours = more opportunity to play). The seasonal elements are also a great way to help focus on a photoshoot location since things like expansive wildflower fields and aspen groves only happen in a handful of locations.

Adventure Pup Photography’s Pro Tip: It’s never too early to schedule a shoot. Booking early means you’re likelier to secure a spot that works best with your schedule, anyway!

3. Knowing your physical capabilities

What kind of adventure you go on should be in part dictated by what your body is capable of. While the idea of going on an adventure shoot is for the benefit of your pup, you’ll have to be able to make the trip too. The biggest factors to think of for a hike are distance and elevation gain (or, elevation in general).

If you’re an avid hiker and can do day-long excursions, then you really shouldn’t have any problem accessing all Colorado has to offer. If you’re more of an occasional hiker, though, then you might want to be mindful of a hike’s distance and elevation gain. If you’re not much of a hiker or active person in general, it might be easier to find a location where you can easily drive to your ideal scenery. Regardless of where you fall within that spectrum, it’s always easy to find a location – the question is how hard you want to work to get there!

Elevation itself can play an important role. If you’re used to the oxygen (or lack thereof) at higher elevations, or if you’re a sea-level resident just visiting the area, how well you adapt to higher elevations will help determine your level of activity.

Aside from distance and elevation gain, you should also consider some of the seasonal aspects of a given hike. Walking along a well-worn dirt path in the summer is as easy as it gets, but snowshoeing through a fresh snowy field or trudging along a muddy trail is a little more energy-demanding. That also goes for hiking up a mountain with a lot of scree or along an icy trail. Seasons also play a difference when it comes to weather since some folks perform better or worse with given temperatures.

Adventure Pup Photography’s Pro Tip: You have nothing to prove here! We can find a location that will fit all of your scenic needs as well as physical demands, so you never have to bite off more than you can chew.

4. Go with what your pup likes most

Think about what your pup likes and how they interact with their surroundings. Do they like running through fields? Sniffing along trails? Perhaps playing in a lake? While you may have an idea of what kind of shot you’re looking for, you also want to consider what your pup likes to do. If you really want to capture their spirit and tell a story with a photo, the best way to do so it to go somewhere they love! Since the pup is the star of the show, we ultimately want to make sure they’re enjoying themselves and that they shine in their photos.

You should also think about how your pup interacts with other dogs. Hiking on a busy trail or to a popular spot usually means you’ll encounter other dogs while going to a lesser-known spot or somewhere off-season will decrease your chances of seeing another dog (or even people) on a trail.

Don’t forget about physical abilities and temperatures for your pup too! If they are a trail dog to the bone, they should have no problem with a long hike. But if you have a pup that prefers smells and play instead of a long hike, a single location will work just fine.

Temperatures play a big role as well if you have a double-coated dog that prefers a snow adventure, or a short-haired that prefers a sun-soaked romp.

Just know what makes them happy!

Adventure Pup Photography’s Pro Tip: Just like with your own physical demands, we will also make sure we’re able to keep up with the demands of your pup. Adventure Pup Photography is more than happy to tag along to your pup’s favorite place, or we can help find a location that can really make your pup shine!

5. Determine what kind of adventure YOU would like to go on

This tip is a little broader, but an adventure shoot can be an adventure itself, or part of a larger adventure. If you’re not too adventurous, there’s no shame in sticking to a traditional Studio session that has zero adventure. But, we are here to make clear that “adventure” can be as easy as going to a local park or any other close-in location where you’re comfortable – you don’t *have* to go on a hike to go on an adventure. Though hikes are the most common way to achieve a particular adventure shot, we are very aware that it’s not achievable, or even desirable, for some people.

Another idea you can consider is to make an adventure shoot part of a road trip. Sometimes you want to take a long weekend trip in the mountains but also want to do an adventure shoot, which is an excellent idea if you want to capture a particular scene like Maroon Bells or Hanging Lake in the background. So, whether you like to stay close to home, or go out as part of a larger adventure, just determine what works best for you!

Adventure Pup Photography’s Pro Tip: We love all parts of the state and can go anywhere! We have met up with people before where we both camp and hike with them, ensuring more photo opportunities and creating a large collection of portraits to choose from.

6. Know your motivation and the story you want to tell

This tip is a bit nuanced, but you should ask yourself in general – what do you hope to come away with for your finished product? I’m not talking about a product like wrapped canvas or an album, but instead, what kind of stories do you want your photos to tell?

A studio session is easy and convenient, but there’s not much of a story to tell beyond your pup sitting on a box and looking pretty. An adventure session isn’t just a dog on a prop – it’s a pup on an adventure! So ask yourself – when you have a finished portrait from your session, would you rather it be a staged studio shot that is similar to everyone else’s? Or would you rather have a portrait that not only has stunning scenery from our beautiful state of Colorado, but also a story to tell? When you show your finished portrait to friends and family, do you want them to say “oh, your pup is so cute!” Or would you rather them say “wow, that’s an amazing picture! Where did you go?” And not only will you have a great story to tell, but you actually got to live that story!

The best kind of portraits do more than capture a memory – they tell stories.

Adventure Pup Photography’s Pro Tip: Remember from past tips – it doesn’t have to be difficult to be an adventure. Different scenes generate different moods, so if you want to tell a certain narrative, we can help bring that story to life in a way that works for both you and your pup!

7. Know what to expect at an Adventure Pup Photography photoshoot

After you go through all of the previous considerations and determine what kind of adventure you want to go on, the next and final step is to do it! The most important things – know where you’re going and let someone know where you’ll be (safety first!). Dress appropriately, knowing that you’re going on an adventure that might demand more than a pair of casual shoes. Bring the items you would normally bring on a hike like water and snacks for you and your pup. You’ll also want to bring a headlamp if the adventure is at the start or end of the day. Snowy conditions often call for traction spikes or snowshoes, so make sure you bring those along if that’s the adventure you’re on.

For the adventure itself, you can think of it as a normal hike but you happen to have a photographer with you – so it’ll be normal hiking with your pup enjoying itself. Depending on the kind of shots you’re hoping to capture, we’ll stop along the way to do spot-up hero shots, have your pup wander around some, and do some running up and down a trail to capture the floppy ears and tongues hanging out! Stops are usually just a few minutes where we can pose your pup or just have them wander around and capture them in their natural state. Nothing is ever forced, so if your pup would rather not sit in one place – no big deal! We’ll just capture your pup being its best self. We’ll try to find as many different locations/shots as possible to provide some variety. Most of the time we pick a particular destination, like a lake or a mountain top, so that would be where we spend most of our time for shots. If we’re aligning the shoot with a sunrise or sunset, we’ll typically hang out at that spot until we get the perfect lighting and the perfect shot. The way back down is usually a lot quicker, because by that time we will have hit all the best photo spots along the way, and sometimes your pup might be too wet or muddy from their adventure time.

Once we get back to the trailhead or parking lot, then we’ll go on our separate ways (unless you like a nice tailgate session!). So, there isn’t much of a difference between an adventure shoot and a normal hike besides having a photographer along. If it’s a park or spot-up location you choose to go for your adventure, the same elements apply but it will obviously take less time overall since we wouldn’t be covering the distance of hiking. As you can see, an adventure shoot really is for everybody!

Adventure Pup Photography’s Pro Tip: you should never be worried about a photoshoot – all you and your pup have to do is show up! We do all the planning and staging for the entire session, so all you have to do is be yourself and enjoy the adventure!

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We hope these tips have been helpful! We offer a free consultation if you have any questions or want to learn more about an adventure photoshoot, so please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you have. You can do so by choosing the ‘Book’ button below, via email, or give us a call at (303) 219-0231. You can always speed things up and book a session if you like, too!

If you’re not ready to book a session or your free consultation yet, you can always peruse our portfolio, or check us out on Facebook or Instagram for further inspiration!


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