How to Choose a Photo Shoot Location for Your Dog

This post is geared toward dogs since most cats prefer to be photographed at home, where they are most comfortable and least stressed.

Have you thought about having a photo session for your San Diego dog, but aren’t sure where to do the photo shoot?

If you’re in a hurry today, download my new favorite locations guide for a quick reference of inspiring ideas, to view now and save for later!

Here are a few helpful tips for choosing a location for your dog’s photo shoot:

Where does your dog LOVE to go? What places make them the happiest and most comfortable?

  • Example: At home, both indoors and outdoors. SAn Diego LA Los Angeles dog poodle bichon photographer
    If your dog frightens easily, this may be the best choice to capture their relaxed, happy expressions. Alternatively, if you’d love to show off your home’s amazing interior design, and enjoy seeing dogs in the photos of magazines like Dwell and blogs like Apartment Therapy…then consider having a photo session at home! Bella and Lucky (above) had a fun shoot romping around their stylish home in L.A.
  • Example: Around Downtown San Diego
    Jack Chow Lab Barking Beast San Diego downtown San diego dog
    Urban environments are some of my favorite locations because we can find a lot of variety in architecture and color if your dog is comfortable around many types of people and vehicles passing by. Jack (above) was cool as a cucumber exploring the Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge near Petco Park. If your dog jumps at sudden noises or shies away from people or cars, photo shoots in urban environments may not be a good choice.
  • Example: At a green park San Diego Rescued Dogs Forrest And Buddy
    Does your dog love rolling in the grass, playing ball, searching for squirrels, or other fun at the park? If so, a green grass park may be a good choice for a dog photo session! It doesn’t have to be a very big park, either, sometimes just small patches of grass in landscaped areas work well for photo shoots. Parks and green areas without a lot of scattered trees work best, because a mix of spotty shade and sun is tough to work with to create great photos. Note that photo sessions at off-leash dog parks are not usually a good idea, because of all the other dogs distracting the model dog and getting in the way of our shoot, and because of the usual dirt patches and ugly fences surrounding dog parks. Parks that allow dogs on leash look better and are safer, I just remove the leash in Photoshop. The above photos of Forrest the puppy were taken on-leash in a small neighborhood park.
  • Example: At the beach San Diego Dog Aussie Australian Shepherd Del Mar BeachDoes your dog love the exciting smells at the beach? Does he or she love to swim? Then beaches that allow dogs on-leash are a good choice, such as the beach in Del Mar south of Powerhouse Park shown above. Off-leash dog beaches are often too crowded for a photo shoot and other dogs may be running around in the background or distracting your dog.
  • Example: Around your neighborhood San diego dog photographer golden doodle
    Walking around your own neighborhood is often a comfortable experience for your dog and can provide a variety of background colors as well. Show off your pride for where you live! San Diego has many different neighborhoods and lots of them even have neat signs like Tucker’s University Heights shoot, above.

Where do YOU like to see your dog? Take a quick look through the photos on your phone…where do you see your dog the most? What are the places where you can’t resist taking a photo every time you visit?

  • Example: Beaches are very popular and often a dog mom’s first suggestion. See the notes above about which kinds of beaches work best. Cecco09_fetchlight_small
  • Example: San Diego landmarks such as the Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge, many of the neighborhood signs spanning the street, or the San Diego skyline showing off your love of your city and your love of your dog! Cecco (above) shows off my favorite view of the skyline, at Coronado Ferry Landing. Cocker spaniel san diego dog la jolla
  • Example: A certain location with special meaning to you, such as Gucci’s photo shoot above at La Jolla’s Wedding Bowl where her human parents and human brother all had their wedding photos taken.

Where do you think your dog looks his or her best?

  • Consider your dog’s coloring. Light colored dogs may look best in darker or brightly colored locations, so they stand out more. Dark colored dogs may look best in lighter colored locations so they don’t blend into a background of dark trees, for example. Sand-colored dogs may not look best at the beach where they blend in…unless the neutral on neutral effect is what you’d like to see in the art on your walls (see Tawny’s orange project for a non-neutral monochrome examples). See Frankie’s photo below for the blending in effect. Frankie_sandiegodog_pug_2974
  • Consider how clean you want your dog to appear in the photos. If you don’t like seeing your dog covered in sand and water, then shooting at the beach may not be a good idea. (Though shooting near the beach, in view of the beach, would work! See Frankie on the rocks overlooking a beach, above.)

What colors would look great in your home? What colors are in the decor in the rooms where you plan to hang the art made from your dog’s photo session?

  • Example: Rooms with pinks and purples may look good with sunset photos. I often shoot sunset photos overlooking the ocean to show the maximum amount of colorful skies and reflections on the water. Bodie (below) shows off one of my favorite Coronado sunset photo locations. But if your dog is scared of flashing lights or popping noises, then sunset photos like these are probably not a good idea for your dog. Bodie on the Road Coronado dog photographer dog travel book beach dog san diego california
  • Example: If you want to add artwork to your walls with lots of blue in it, look for a location such as cliffs, hills, and mountains with maximum view of a blue sky, or locations showing lots of ocean. Mt. Helix (below) has a lot of blue sky when it’s clear in the morning! San Diego Dog photos, Phoebe the Australian Shepherd
  • Example: If you’re looking to add lots of bright colors to your walls, then a walk through an urban neighborhood like South Park (below) or Little Italy may work well. San Diego dog photographer italian greyhound
  • For neutral color homes, a pop of bright color on the wall can look good, such as sunset photos or neighborhoods with bright buildings. Herman shows off a sunset in Bird Park, North Park, below.
    Herman36small
  • For neutral color schemes, sticking with sophisticated neutral tones like a slightly overcast beach can look good, too. See Bella and Donna’s photo shoot in Del Mar, below.
    del mar dog beach lab ball fetch dog photographer
  • Get the best of both worlds by having a beach shoot that includes late afternoon and sunset photos, for neutral beach colors and bright sunset photos as well.

What time or day of the week are you available?

  • One more factor to consider is time of day or days you are available for photo sessions. The sun will be at the best angle at a certain time of day, depending several factors, and some locations will be busier with other people and dogs on weekends than on weekdays. For example, one park may be a better photo shoot location than another park on certain days, or at certain times of day.

Are you a bit overwhelmed? A good starting point to start thinking of ideas is my new favorite locations guide, which you can download below.

If you’d like to chat more about finding the best location to photograph your dog, please email me at info@fetchlight.com. Please note that in 2017 the only photo sessions that will be offered are for people with session gift cards to redeem.

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