1. LISTEN TO WHAT YOU WANT
Clients book sessions for many reasons and all want a little something different. It wouldn't be fair to you if I assumed you wanted the exact same thing out of your session as the previous client, now would it?
Some clients wants posed studio sessions and yet others prefer a natural setting with some posed and some candid images. Some clients are looking for that one image to blow up big and put it on a wall and some are looking for lots of images to create an album. Your photographer should listen to and ask questions about what you're looking to get out of the session and what you'd like to do with the images after the session. On the same note, be clear with your photographer about what you want out of the session because it can affect how the session is conducted.
Each photographer has their own style and business model, so don't be offended if a photographer you reach out to refers you on. Truly, we want what's best for our clients so if we don't think we can deliver what you're looking for, we will encourage you to seek out a photographer who can.
2. LISTEN TO WHAT YOUR PET NEEDS
Once you've determined that you and your photographer are a good fit, it's time to find out if your pet and the photographer are a good fit. Every animal is different. Some are happy-go-lucky with almost anyone, some are bashful with strangers but warm up quickly, and yet others are skittish at best. Some do great in public areas and some would do best in very secluded areas with little risk of having strangers or other dogs walk by. The thing that does remain constant is that their owners love them dearly and want what's best for them.
This photo is of my girl, Nessie. For those of you that know us, you know she can be a bit of a handful. We brought her into our home when she was 9 months old. She had lived the life of an unsocialized outside dog since she was a puppy. She is a reactive dog. We have to walk on secluded trails and I am always ready to make it rain treats if we see one of her triggers. Luckily, these are less and less but motorcycles, other dogs, and fast moving bicycles are just a few of them.
If I were to look for a photographer for her, I would need one that understood we can't do photographs in places where we can't easily get distance from other dogs. I would need him to understand that while she is very friendly, she can look mean if she gets over threshold but she is not aggressive. If we were doing sessions in a studio, I would need him to schedule us at a time where we wouldn't meet dogs coming and going. (This is in contrast to her brother Ruger, who is one of those happy-go-lucky dogs and we could do the session anywhere and under almost any conditions.)
If I felt like the photographer was pushing us to locations or situations that she would not be comfortable in, I would thank him for his time and move along. Not because he is a bad photographer and not because he is a bad person, but I need to be an advocate for my dog. In short, I would look for a photographer who wanted to make sure Nessie was as happy as possible for her session and I encourage all of you to do the same for your pets.