Things your pet photographer wishes you knew – part 1


I have been meaning to bring this fun subject about things to keep in mind about your pet photographer and session for a while now. I even look up this type of article when I’m about to hire a contractor, stay at a fancy hotel, fly on a new airlines or even buy a new pair of shoes. (Don’t laugh…I actually asked a dear friend of mine what she wishes people knew before trying on shoes! Seriously! FYI – be sure to bring your own socks before trying on shoes because, eeew.)  I’m hoping that by suggesting a few of these tips, maybe you’ll have a better experience with your pet photographer. That could be with me (AWESOME!) or anyone else that specializes in pets in the Asheville NC area.

Dog in jacket and cap on a trunk with the word love written on the front.

Tough Love

Top five list of things to remember:

  1. Believe it or not, we get nervous before a shoot. There are a million things that run through your pet photographer’s head before each session; from what lens we are using to which type of treat will be best. Is your pet going to be disturbed by the flash?   (Many dogs translate the camera lens into a giant eyeball staring at them. Some dogs would rather not look at us.) Will your cat freak out and want to hide? We want your images to be as amazing as our best gallery portfolio but dealing with pet behavior is sometimes an unknown. We find that the more comfortable the pet is, the better we can rock your session….which leads me beautifully into….
  2. If you are relaxed, your pets will be relaxed too. Science as proven time and time again, that pets can lower our blood pressure, lower stress levels and bring our anxiety levels down just by hanging out with us. That’s why you see so many therapy dogs in hospitals and rest homes. Did you know that the reverse also holds true? If we are stressing out, our pets are going stress out too. Stress puts them on high alert and therefore not the best time to have a camera in their face. Dogs are especially attuned to humans and are acutely aware of our emotions. Ergo: if we are calm – our pets are calm too. As professional pet photographers, we go out of our way to make sure that you are happy and have all your questions answered before the session to make sure you know exactly what is going on. If we can, we also try to schedule the session in a place where the pet has already been to further alleviate any stress. We don’t want your dog thinking he will end up at the vet, right?
  3. Pet Photographers have the best creative minds but don’t have the most organized brains. We do our best to make sure every part of the session is planned out behind the scenes and will spend hours making sure your images are perfect but sometimes we’ll misplace an invoice or forget where we parked the car. I realize that I’m speaking strictly about myself and I’m here to tell you – I get lost finding an address. More often than not, I leave the lens cap on the camera right up until the first picture is taken. I’m a bit of a scatterbrain but I can turn an ordinary dog into a debutaunt or a coffee drinking hipster.
  4. Pets have accidents. Even the most polite pet who has never had a potty accident in their life can sometimes get stressed and wiz on the light stand. It happens! Pet photographers understand that accidents happen and make sure the studio is safe for the occasional potty goof. We make sure to have plenty of supplies at the ready for a quick clean-up in aisle 4 since pets really can’t raise their paw and ask to be excused to the bathroom. We know that owners can be embarrassed over the behaviors of their pets and want to assure them that accidents do happen. It’s okay. We aren’t saying that you should skip the potty break before the session but if there’s a poo faux-paw….it’s okay.
  5. Word of mouth marketing is gold. Being a pet photographer, we don’t get the glamorous reviews or are on the tip of the tongue in the photography world. We also don’t get the same market share as fashion photographers or landscape shooters, but I can assure you that we spend time perfecting our craft as would any other professional photographer. Pet photographers have workshops, classes, and discussion groups just like any other professional. We REALLY appreciate positive word-of-mouth referrals and personally, I value those types of reviews higher than anything else. Spread the love with your favorite pet photographer and tell your friends if you’ve had a wonderful experience. You’ll be putting more food on our table and supporting small business.

Thanks for visiting my blog and honoring me with your time! If you’d like more information about Sheryl Mann Photography, check out my info page here. Have a wonderful week and don’t forget to wag more, bark less!


Sheryl Mann


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Welcome to my blog! Each month, I feature a new Blog Dog and share some heartwarming stories about animal rescue. I also feature some of my favorite client images from each portrait session. If you'd like to be considered for a rescue feature on my blog, please email

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