Do you want to go beyond the boring studio sessions and see what kind of excitement an adventure photoshoot will bring? Let me tell you what to expect!
Hi everybody, and thanks for reading this edition of ‘Tails of Adventure’ here at Adventure Pup Photography! It has been a while since the last installment, but this new year promises great content with more frequency. Stick around, because I think you’ll learn a lot!
In previous installments, I have talked about the importance of working with a professional photographer – specifically, a dog photographer. For this entry, I want to tie that in with how the adventure photoshoot works so you can have an understanding of why it’s the best way to capture a portrait of your pup.
Setting the Stage for an Adventure Photoshoot
The adventure photoshoot begins with great planning. When you’re ready to book, we’ll discuss quite a few options and narrow down a lot of details, that way we know how to create the perfect portrait you’re looking for. These are just some of the options we’ll talk about:
You might already know where you’d like to go, or perhaps just have an idea of the kind of scenery you’re looking for. You might even have zero ideas of what to do or where to go. No matter your status, we’ll make sure the location will give you the best backdrop for your pup’s photo, as well as a great playground as we go on our adventure.
The timing of the photoshoot has a few broad options to sort through, beginning with seasons and conditions, and ultimately narrowing down to a certain date and time. We’ll also talk about some timing implications like the time of day and lighting, but we’ll find a situation that works best for your ideal portrait setting as well as your schedule.
Locations and seasons play a large role in this topic, so we’ll discuss how those two will determine more details within those realms. As an example, location considerations include what you’re capable of doing or where you’re capable of going, and seasonal considerations include the scenery you’re looking for and what it will take to physically get there.
There are quite a few more considerations that we would discuss during the booking phase of the photoshoot. If you’d like to get some insight into what some of those considerations are before you actually book, you can do so by signing up to receive our 7 Tips for a Successful Adventure Photoshoot.
The moment has finally arrived! Excitement looms and maybe a little anxiety sets in because you don’t quite know what to expect. If you’re reading this, your anxiety should be at a minimum because I’ll be letting you know how things will play out on our adventure.
First, we’ll meet at the designated time and place. I typically meet folks at a place like a trailhead or a park, letting them know to look out for my blue Cubs hat and driving my green Outback. I’ll also be on the lookout for you and your pups (because we talk about them a lot during the planning process and you will have likely shared your Instagram feed with me 😛 ). I’ll gear up, we’ll get bathroom breaks out of the way, do the meet-and-greet with your pup so they can smell me and get some good pets and scratches, and then we’ll set off on our adventure!
Setting Out on the Adventure Photoshoot
You’ll often hear me say that the best way to think of our adventure is that you and your pup are on a normal hike, but you just happen to have a photographer with you. We’ll try to get a variety of different shots, so along the way, I’ll be keeping an eye out for rock outcrops, batches of flowers, and of course, epic vistas.
You would plan for this hike just like you would for any other hike. Depending on the location, it might be something where you have a standard hiking pack with plenty of water, snacks, layers, etc. It could also just be a short hike where you don’t need to bring anything besides yourself. I’ll always have emergency supplies on me (safety first!), so we’ll be prepared for almost everything we would encounter.
One of the first goals setting out is for your pup to get comfortable with their surroundings and to get out any of their anxious energy. Maybe they’re just full of energy from the car ride, or super excited about being in a new place (or their favorite place if it’s somewhere you’ve been before). All of that energy isn’t a bad thing at all, but it’s definitely the time where they’ll be the least receptive to any sort of commands because they want to explore first. My goal is to hike for a little bit to get familiarity and comfort of the surroundings for the pup and become attuned to you as their handler once again.
Getting the shot
This is the time where people might feel the most anxious because they want to make sure their pup behaves. But, in fact, it should actually be the exact opposite! We want to capture your pup being itself, so there should be no pressure for your pup to “perform” or for you to keep them in check.
What you should expect to do, though, is to help handle and wrangle the pup. Since you and your pup have an established relationship, they would listen to you and follow your cues the best. Typically what will happen is I’ll give you some sort of directive to help facilitate the shot, but this also serves a secondary role of getting you in on the fun and becoming an active participant in the photoshoot as well!
Here are a couple examples of how you become an active participant in the photoshoot. If there is a rock outcrop with a mountain vista in the background that would make for a great hero shot, I’ll ask that you try to have your pup sit in a certain spot and see if we can capture it. If they’re still pretty anxious, they might not want to sit – and that’s perfectly fine! If they want to stand or walk around instead, I’ll work with what they’re giving me. If they calm down a bit and can be enticed to sit, we’ll take advantage of that opportunity and get in whatever shots we can get. We don’t want to force the pup into an uncomfortable situation, so we won’t ever force them into anything just for the sake of getting a shot. Your role in all of this will be to try and get the pup to stay in one area. If you can get them to sit, that’s perfect. You can stand there to help keep them in check, or walk back behind me to capture their attention. If they have to remain on a leash, you would be there to hold onto that leash, just outside the view of the camera. More than anything, though, you’re there to help support your pup in whatever way they need you. Helping me out is just a byproduct of that!
Another example is if we wanted to capture a shot of your pup running down the trail. I would find a place to spot-up, and then give you a place to go and “release” your pup and have them run towards me. If there are two of you handlers, I’d have one with the pup and one behind me to catch the pup. If just one, then you would be up top to release and I’d catch the pup on their way down. If your pup can’t be out of your control at all, then I’d have you run down the trail with your pup (to their side) to get the shot we’re looking for. If running isn’t quite your thing, we can also capture a comparable shot with walking.
So, all that is to say that you’ll be playing a pretty pivotal role in our photoshoot by being the “handler” and making sure the pup is having fun and remains free of any stress. A happy pup makes for the best portraits! This should also help give you an idea that I’ll be letting you know what to do the whole time when we’re actually taking shots. I want you to have a great time as well, sharing this experience with your pup, and I would hate for you to get anxious or stressed during this time. It should be fun for everyone!
Personally, I think one of the best parts for you is when you can stand to the side and just enjoy watching your pup be the star of the show. Since pups play such an important part in our lives, it’s great when we can see them being featured in a way we aren’t accustomed to. It’s a great feeling for me personally when I have a vision in my head, put the pieces into place and snap the shot, and have you take a look in the camera to see the magic that is captured. I have sooooo many instances where people are absolutely shocked by how great things look. If you can be shocked by a shot in a camera, just imagine how amazing it will be when the edits are done and you have your final shot!
Wrapping Up the Adventure Photoshoot
Typically, I like to align the timing of an adventure photoshoot with golden hours and sunsets. After our shoot, we’ll still have daylight left and make our way back to our starting point. If it’s a long hike we’ll have headlamps and flashlights to help guide the way, but if it’s short then we’ll bask in the glow of the fading light and let our great experience sink in. As we make our way back I’ll also give you a rundown of what to expect after that point, which involves me making initial edits to collect the best shots for you to review, how I’ll share the portraits, and then talking about next steps from there. All of that is to say that after our time together, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is enjoying your adventure and telling your pup what a good job they did.
So what do you think – was it what you expected? Studio sessions are pretty tame and very organized, but ultimately limited and somewhat boring. An adventure photoshoot has unlimited potential for a great variety of shots, as well as having the benefit of bringing out the true character of your pup. Because there are so many fun and exciting options available, why limit yourself when you could be out on an adventure?
If you have questions about this or anything else, just know that I offer a free consultation with no pressure to book – I just want to make sure you have as much information as possible so you can be confident going into a photoshoot. Also, you should know I have a 100% guarantee, so if you’re not happy with your experience or the portraits that were captured during your photoshoot, you get all of your money back.
Lastly, a reminder that if you aren’t ready to set up a consultation or book a photoshoot just yet, you can get more details about planning an adventure photoshoot by signing up to receive our list of 7 Tips for a Successful Adventure Photoshoot!
Thanks everyone, and keep on adventuring!
-Chris, Adventure Pup Photography