Last weekend I volunteered my time to help out an organization that I am a bit passionate about. Purebred K9 Rescue was sponsoring a Pet Expo at the New Hartford Shopping Center. My wife and I spend the day with them taking, editing, and printing puppy portraits.

This was my first time doing something like this, and I have to say… it was a great time. Certainly something that was hectic, crazy, and even a little unorganized. But overall an enjoyable experience for my wife and I.

I was taking the portraits using a borrowed strobe & backdrop in a private room. Then I would pass the memory card to Khristina who was set up with an Epson 2880 to select and print them right on the spot. It went much smoother than I had anticipated.

If you are ever thinking about doing something like this, let me share my thoughts about doing it again.

  • A small enclosed room worked wonders for the animals. They couldn’t get away or be distracted by other things happening.
  • Set your strobes lower than you normally would for a standard portrait session. All of the animals and people will be closer to the ground.
  • Have a simple prop (I used a chair) to set the smaller animals on. Larger animals worked really well simply sitting next to their kneeling master.
  • Make sure that you have plenty of squeaky toys and treats for the animals.
  • Review the photos with the client and select the best from the camera LCD before handing them off to be printed.
  • Have some sort of sleeve/folder to put photos in for the client. Don’t forget to include your card.
  • Make sure to allow enough time. I spent about 10 minutes with each dog and owner getting to know them, shooting, and reviewing images


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