Preparing for your outdoor photoshoot with Doggy Dates Toronto

Never work with animals or children they said…..

I have been doing these sunrise sessions for over 3 years now, but like anything that’s worth having, what we are trying to do is not always easy. I am a perfectionist, I dream about these sunrise sessions, and work obsessively at being the best I can at my craft. I control as much as is possible about the session which I structure and time around the sunrise. That being said, and in order to manage expectations, I stress to every client that this is outdoor, off leash dog photography, and dogs will be dogs (which is why we love them so much)!

Training and tricks 

The most important thing that we need from your dog is to be able to hold a sit or down position for at least 5 seconds. If you can spend some time practicing this in the lead up to your photoshoot it will be the most important investment in the session. If you can get them to hold this position for even longer, even better! If you want to incorporate a high five, a treat catch, a roll over, or any other tricks you might like your dog to do feel free to practice in the lead up to the photoshoot session. These extras are absolutely not essential, these are just for fun if you wanted to try them.


If your dog is regularly groomed, it would be great timing to get a groom done in the days leading up to your shoot. A quick nail trim also looks great.

The morning of the shoot

Please arrive no later than the agreed time. The different locations/backdrops of the session have been purposefully chosen to work with the position of the sun, so if we start late, we will not only miss the sunrise, but the rest of the shoot won’t be as ideal as it can be. The beautifully saturated colours of the sunrise only last 15 minutes or so and we need time to acclimatize your dog to the camera and flash. Whilst I know it’s tough to get up so early, it’s not only the best time photographically in terms of light and colour, but also there are less distractions around for your dog at this time.


We go through a lot of treats during a typical photos shoot so I strongly advise against feeding your dog prior to the session. Please bring some peanut butter and a selection of your dogs favourite treats. I will bring some liver treats, but it works well having some high value treats on standby. You will need more than you think you will need - we go through a lot of treats!

During the shoot

I will acclimatize your dog to the flash/camera and once they are comfortable we’ll go straight into the session. When I am doing close up work with your dog, your best place to stand is behind us and just enjoy the show. The close up shots work much better if I can get your dog to focus solely on me (hence the treats!). During the action /running segment of the session, you will be involved in getting your dog running towards me at high speed! If you wanted to take any behind the scenes photos we always welcome any images you can send or tag us in!


Think about the collar your dog is wearing. I will leave it up to you if you want the collar on or not. If you are comfortable with it being off for the shoot I believe the images look better this way, but it is totally your call and comfort level. 

Extras you might want to bring

Water - there is one location during the shoot where your dog will not have access to water so during the hot summer months, you might want to bring some extra water. During the colder months, you may want to bring a blanket / coat for your dog, particularly if they are small or not winter loving dogs.

What happens after the shoot, when and how do I get my images?

Editing time varies, but I should be able to send you your gallery within 10 days to 2 weeks after the session. From your gallery, you can select your favourite images. In all of our packages, I provide additional images so that you have a choice when selecting the images. Once you pay the balance of your session via the gallery checkout, your web optimized images will be emailed to you without the watermark. Web optimized images are suitable for everything aside from printing.

I love the images so much I want to print one - what now?

If you have chosen a package that includes prints, you will have a meeting or call with Jack to discuss printing options. If the package you choose does not include printed products, we can still do an ordering session with you. There is a considerable amount of additional work involved when printing images which is why Jack handles this in house.

This year has taught us many things, one of those things being how much our dogs have been fundamental in helping so many of us during the pandemic. Hell yes, let’s celebrate them.

For more stories about unconditional love and the transformative power dogs have on our lives check out the Don’t You Want Me Project.

Feel free to share this blog if you want your doggo pals to get in on the Doggy Dates action!

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