Five Questions To Ask Your Pet Photographer Before You Hire Them

Great pet photography can be expensive.

Most of my clients when they come to me, it is their very first time that they have engaged a professional photographer for their pet portraits.  It is also the first time that they have participated in a professional pet photography session with their pets.

Until we have our pre-consultation session, they do not know what to expect or do not know what questions to ask.

I have decided to curate a list of the top five questions that you should ask your pet photographer before you hire them.  This should help to address the information asymmetries that currently exist between photographer and client.

five questions to ask your pet photographer before you hire them?

Do They Shoot On Location Or In A Studio?

It is possible that your pet photographer will have a preference for shooting in the studio or on location.  Each has its own benefits and pitfalls.  They also both deliver beautiful images.

When you review their portfolio, you will get a better understanding of the photographer’s location preference.  Their shooting preference may be due to a limitation of gear or space or it may be a shooting style to shoot on location.

It is important for you to understand your preferred style whether that is for your pet photographs to be taken in a studio or on-location such as a park, near a lake, or at the arboretum.  You might even prefer that the pet photographer comes to your house given that your pet is likely to feel more comfortable.


Your pet photography session should not be based on price alone.  However, it is going to be an important consideration.

It is no good to continue a discussion with a photographer if your budget does not extend to meet the lowest package of the photographer.

Most pet photographers will charge a session fee or a sitting fee.  Sitting fees and session fees are basically how much a photographer charges for the photoshoot itself.  It locks in the photo session and guarantees that they do not book another client in your preferred session time.

In addition to the sitting fee, the photographer will have a range of packages that may include prints, wall art, and digital images.

It is important to know what is included in their packages.  This way you can make an informed decision about whether the preferred photographer is affordable or whether you need to consider alternatives.

How does the photography session work?

So you have decided on your preferred photographer as you like their style and they are within budget.  What is the next step of the process?

No one photographer will adopt the same practice or process.  It is like saying the same teacher adopts the same process to teach history.  However, you are likely to have a number of questions like how many pets can be included in your pet photography session? Want payment methods do you accept? How long are the photography sessions?  Do I need to bring anything? Should I wash the pet before the session? These are only a couple of questions that you are likely to have.

If this is your first pet portrait session, then these questions are perfectly normal.

The photographer’s website is likely to have FAQs or blog posts that address many of your questions.

It is incumbent on your photographer to guide you through the process rather than leaving you uncertain and confused about the process.

I like to hold a pre-consultation session with my clients before the photo session to gather as much information as possible on the pet, the owner and any special interests.

When Can I See My Photos?

The best thing about a photo session is the expectation and nervousness surrounding the delivery of the photos.  The photographer has shown you a couple of gorgeous images on the back of his camera to build up the expectation.

Just like sessions vary according to the photographer, so does the time that it takes the photographer to cull, edit and optimise the images.

Different photographers edit their photos differently and take varying amounts of time to deliver session proofs.

With my processes, I like to have finalised gallery of beautiful images within two weeks of the photo session to either show you personally via a slideshow of images or if you are time-poor I will have an online gallery of images to view when it is convenient.

A personal slideshow allows me to guide you through the process and allow you to select a wall art option for the best images.

Harley and Kaiser both pose while sitting down

But my dog… can’t sit still or can’t be let off-leash

People can come up with different excuses to prevent them from having their pet portraits taken.  Two of the most common excuses is my pet will not stay still or we cannot let ot off the leash.

Unlike humans, there is no cookie-cutter for pet photography.  Some pets are well-behaved while others are full of energy and would prefer to run around the whole time.  Each pet is unique and has its own quirky personality.

It is important that your photographer has the capabilities and the capacity to handle your pet in different situations.  During your pre-consultation chat, you should tell them about your pet’s unique personality.

They should be about to take images of your pet when they are on-leash.

The photograph below was taken on leash.  You would not get it would you?

Bonus tip – What Sessions Do You Offer?

Many pet photographers will work with multiple pets simultaneously. Others prefer to work one-on-one.  You should get a steer from your photographer how many pets they will photograph at the photo session.  It is not unusual for photographers to limit their pet sessions to two pets.

Photographers will also have different sessions – for example, some will offer shorter mini sessions where the number of images provided is lower compared to that of a full session (which will take up to 1 hour).

The choice is up to you in relation to the number of pets and the type of session that you prefer so make sure you understand exactly what you can expect from each session type and choose accordingly.

These are the top five questions that you should ask your pet photographer before you hire them for your pet portrait session.  At the end of the day, you need to be comfortable with them.

Thinking about a pet photography session?  Why not contact Alistair here to arrange a non-salesy consultation to discuss your needs.


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