Prep Info: Dog Sessions

Leicestershire Dog Photography

Prep Guide for your session with your award-winning Leicestershire Dog Photographer

So you have booked your session with your Leicestershire Dog Photographer.  I can imagine you are thinking, “Now what?”  Leicestershire photographer

If you haven’t yet booked a session with your very own award-winning Leicestershire Dog Photographer, why not head over to the Pet Sessions page and take a look at what’s on offer?

Alternatively, click the button to book and choose a package, day & time that works for you.

Whilst you await the date of your session, there are a few of your simple routine things you can time to coincide with your dog’s modelling moment in the limelight!

First things first, just as you would spruce yourself up for your photography session, why not give your dog a pamper day too!


Long-haired breeds and those who shed will always benefit from a groom. The same as every type of coat! But even more so before their photoshoot!

Short-haired breeds, particularly those with hair around their eyes, will also need routine grooming, shedding and clipping timed to coincide with their session. There is no point in taking a photo of your dog’s eyes if I can’t see them!

Try to get them booked for a suitable groom a few days before their session to ensure their coats are tangle-free and glossy.

On the day, a quick brush through will do, and it is always a good idea to bring a brush to your session for any last-minute preening.


No one wants to be smelly, especially on their photo session!

Getting your dog booked in for a bath a few days before your session will ensure a clean glossy coat (the camera loves a shine to a dog’s coat!)

Don’t have the bath booked on the same day as your session as that post-bath frizz will need time to calm down, so a day or two before will be ideal.

With a very active dog who loves mud, muddy puddles and rolling in ‘don’t ask!’, then a bath the day before your session will be perfect.


It would be best if you trimmed your dog’s nails routinely.

Regardless a good trim timed a few days or a week before their session will ensure their nails will look the best they can on their finished image. And this is even more critical on studio sessions, as the nails get picked up by the camera far more than on outdoor sessions.

Practice Your Commands

*Please note that your dog doesn’t need any training for their photoshoot*

I can pretty much handle any type of dog behaviour and will get enough shots for your chosen package regardless. If they have to stay on leash, that is okay as I can easily edit them out. Trust me when I say, ‘I got this! I’m not an award-winning Leicestershire Dog Photographer for nothing, you know! 😉

However, a dog with a good sit and a good stay/wait command always makes for an easier session, which is far more critical for their studio sessions than outdoor action sessions.

If you want that stunning image of your dog in a cute, endearing pose that brings out their personality, get that refresher training on the go and get to work on those ‘sits’ and ‘stays’!

To walk or not to walk, that is the question

If you have a high energy dog or a larger dog, then a good long walk before your session will help burn off some excess energy.

Outdoor Dog photographer session in Leicestershire

This will make for a calmer and more chilled dog through the photoshoot, especially in the Studio sessions. However, for the outdoor shoots, try not to tire them overly. A short walk will do, as we still want a little bit of energy left to capture that zany whacky goofball personality!

If your dog is a young puppy, is old or has an underlying health condition, then we don’t want to tire them out too much at all, so for those dogs, just going straight into their photo session will work best.


If you can, try not to feed your dog a big meal before their session.

Dog Photographer Leicestershire

Your dog running around with a full tummy isn’t ideal, and having a slightly hungry dog can also help me out. There isn’t much a hungry dog won’t do for food! So please don’t starve your dog; just half their usual meal before your session.

If your dog needs to eat at certain times due to medication or illness, please carry on with your regular feeding routine.


If your dog can have their collar & lead SAFELY removed for their session, this is ideal as a natural look makes for a stunning distraction-free image, and this is okay on a studio session.

However, collar removal (and even lead removal) isn’t necessary on any outdoors session, as I will remove them in the editing if needed.

If you are to leave their collar on or you specifically wanted their collar in the images, then why not treat them to a super cool new one, especially for their shoot? It would look even more impressive if you complimented their new collar to their fur colour and tones.

Harnesses are great, but not for photography and editing. So if you could SAFELY remove your dog’s harness, that would be ideal. But as with above, if you need the harness left on, a nice new one with tones to suit your dog would make for a better image.

Dog outfits for the toy dogs can look cute for day to day life, but on your dog’s photo session, you don’t want the outfit upstaging your dog’s natural beauty. So these are best left off.

Unless it was a Christmas Session. And they were wearing mini Rudolph antlers. And a Christmas jumper. And there was a snow machine. So I think I can feel an idea coming on…

But What do I wear?

If you are in the finished images, you will need to look as good as the doggy model!

You maybe don’t need to have your toenails clipped, be groomed, or buy a new harness (or perhaps you do?!).

However, what you wear will impact the finished image. If this image is taking centre stage as a piece of wall art, then your clothing will be even more important!

Try to wear clothing to complement or match your dog’s colours and tones, if you can. If not, go plain, un-patterned, and muted tones. This shoot is about your dog and you and your relationship and bond. So don’t upstage them with your attire!

What not to wear on your dog photography session in Leicestershire

Logos are a big No-No, as are T-Shirts with “Juicy” or “Bazinga” written all over them! They will serve no purpose other than to distract from the very reason you have paid the money for the photography session – you and your dog!
The same can be said for big, bold patterns, stripes, checks, etc.

So go plain! Go Boring! Go natural tones!

You can not go wrong with a plain muted colour t-shirt and a pair of blue or black jeans or a plain colour top or fleece and walking trousers if this is an outdoor shoot.

As an idea on how to style you, take a look at your dog.

If you have a brown dog, wear a brown top to blend or a cream top to compliment. If your dog has black or white fur, wear a black or white top to match or go for a colour to compliment. This is where we can have some fun and maybe go for a gentle shade of top to partner and bring out the colour of your dog’s eyes, or the colour of the collar they will be wearing and so on.

If you are still unsure of what to wear, do the following little trick…

Look at the walls in your home; think which wall will feature the favourite image(s) from your session.

Now sit and stare at the wall and imagine what it will look like with a beautiful shot of you and your best friend.  

Think about what you will be happy to look at for the years to come. Plain muted clothes will stand the test of time and any fashion trends that will come and go.

Thus making your precious wall art truly a timeless piece!

What if the weather turns bad?

Oh, the good old British weather! Don’t you love the unpredictability of it? But as a Leicestershire dog photographer, I am accustomed to laying face down in the mud taking shots of your dogs. So don’t panic if it rains!

Dog in the rain in Leicestershire Dog Photography session

Most outdoor doggy sessions will go ahead as planned, regardless of the weather. Outdoor sessions are great to depict your dog doing what dogs do best – running around in puddles and getting wet and muddy!

If the weather is raining the proverbial cats and dogs,  the sun is so hot that your chocolate labrador has now melted into a pile of a gooey chocolate mess, or the snow is so deep even your Husky refuses to go outdoors…

Then we will reschedule!

What you need to bring to your session

  • Your dog
  • Collar & lead
  • Poop Bags
  • Water
  • Water bowl (collapsable is ideal)
  • Treats (high-value ones are the best!)
  • Your dog’s favourite toy, squeakies, balls etc
  • Grooming brush for last-minute tweaks
  • Dog towel (for mucky dogs)
  • Sturdy shoes for you (for the outdoor sessions)
Dog laying down in the grass on a outdoor photography session in Leicestershire


As your Leicestershire Dog Photographer, I know the struggles of finding good pet businesses to cater for our faithful friends.

Whether you need to book your dog in for a groom, buy a new collar, or refresh that dog training. Below is a list of small local businesses that are super amazing and would LOVE your custom!

  • Dog Groomers: 
  • Dog Trainers: 
  • Pet Supplies: 
  • Pet Treats: 
  • Doggy Day Care: 
  • Dog Walkers:

If you book any services before your dog session, please use the code DHPDog10 with the businesses to claim your 10% discount.

Please Note:

Discount code is ONLY for clients with a FULL dog session booked in with Dawn Hilton Photography.

This discount does not apply to any Specials or Mini Session photography packages.

Offer applies to one transaction ONLY with the above businesses.

Offer does not apply to any specials, deals and discounts that business may have running at the time of purchase.

The businesses above have the right to withdraw the offer at any time with no notice period given.

*Any external businesses’ are used at your discretion, and Dawn Hilton Photography accepts no liability.

Award Winning Leicestershire dog photographer

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