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The Leash: Why It's OK in your Pet Portrait Session

We all love our dogs. And we love taking their picture just as much. But maybe you have a wild, crazy dog that is so full of energy you just don’t know what to do with them. Every time you take them on a walk or to the dog park, they are pulling on the leash or running around like a chicken with their head cut off so happy to see another dog. No way they could ever be calm enough to sit still – let alone have their photo taken! You see offers to have their photo taken and can’t help but think “Not mine – he’s crazy enough off leash as it is!” So does that mean you cannot do a photography session? Not at all! Let me tell you a secret.

It’s totally OK to have your pet on leash for the ENTIRE photography session! (say whaa!) Yep, it’s totally OK. There’s three big reasons why.

Your Dog is Safe

You can be in completely control of your dog the entire time without having to worry about them running off or dashing into the nearby street. I know quite a few dogs can become easily distracted around small animals like squirrels, rabbits, or even other dogs they see (smell?) in the distance.

In fact, in some cases, such as with aggressive dogs, I recommend them wearing a leash for the safety of other people and dogs around them. This helps to restrain them to a certain distance and since we usually do a photography shoot in a large area, there’s usually no problem or concern of anyone getting too close. This helps to bring you some peace of mind, helps everyone to stay safe, and can make photographing them a little easier too (although on or off leash ultimately doesn’t matter – here’s why).

Leashes Can Be Edited Out

Thanks to Photoshop – a photographer’s best friend – it’s very easy to edit photos and remove leashes from pictures. You cannot even tell that a leash was in the picture to start with. Let’s look at an example:

Take a good look – can you tell that this cute little guy had a leash on? A big red one at that. I cannot. In fact, I took other photos of this guy playing with another dog all while he was on leash and wouldn’t have any issues editing the lead out later. This can usually be done quite quickly and easily too, so there’s no problem if multiple images have a leash in them.

Now, this isn’t a perfect science. Although Photoshop is pretty magical and amazing, it can’t do everything. For example, if your dog wears a harness, it is very difficult to edit it out because of how much of the body it covers. Therefore, I highly recommend only bringing a collar or lead to a photoshoot in order to make it easier to edit out these items later.

It Helps Your Pupper to Stay Engaged

Here’s a point you may not have thought of. Having a leash on your pet helps you not only to maintain control of the situation, but it also helps your pet stay engaged. While I will without fail use many wonderful treats and toys to ensure your pet stays focused, dogs will almost certainly get distracted at one point or another. We all like to have fun and be wild every once in a while. Having them on a leash can help keep them engaged and focused in the session by keeping them close to the action and by providing a direct connection to them (physically speaking).

So if you’ve been worrying about whether or not your dog can be on leash during a shoot, rest assured! There are actually many benefits to having them on a leash and there are instances I even recommend it. So get your leash out, get ready for a walk, and get those photos!

In fact, why not schedule a session right now by clicking here!

CJ Ashmore, Owner


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