Animals are our favorite models to have in the studio! Stephanie has a cat and a dog and they’re always the best subjects.  Her living room is filled with photos of Hailey, her beloved shetland sheepmonster and she’s in all their family portraits.

(Note from Stephanie: Mr. Dracula’s portraits are currently on order so he can stop being jealous.  And yes, I have a daughter as well – but she’s a climber and, the pets stay still in the studio!)

We get it.

They’re not just pets, they’re family.

About ten years ago, pet portraiture was a relatively unheard of specialization in the professional photography industry.  Stephanie forged the way in elevating pet portraiture to an art form, bringing your pets’ beauty to canvases, collages, and folio boxes.

So let’s get down to it – below are our tips we recommend for your first/next dog portraiture shoot, and tricks we use in the studio to get those perfect shots of your beloved pup.


  1. Schedule a trim one to two weeks before the shoot.  Keep the fur looking fresh, but not too close to the session to avoid that “bald” look!
  2. Walk your dog in our studio’s neighborhood. It helps him get used to all the new smells and gives him time to take care of nature’s call first.
  3. Come tired and hungry – a well-exercised dog is more amenable to posing.  As a reward, he’ll get lots of snacks here; we want to avoid over-feeding!
  4. Bring your pup’s favorite toys and treats.  We use these for incentives to get your furbaby to pose.  We keep treats on hand, but a few of his favorites can go a long way.
  5. Add the family!  We absolutely LOVE to add your little ones to a session.  That dog-kid relationship is something to treasure.  Let’s capture that for you!


  1. Lavender.  The scent is extremely calming for babies AND furbabies alike!  We use lavender hand soaps and sprays in the studio.
  2. If you’re familiar with our work, you’ll notice how crisp the texture of the fur appears. This is through a very specific set-up that can only be achieved with studio lights.  You’ll see Stephanie move her lights around a lot by seemingly one or two centimeters.  This is why!
  3. New noises are the best noises.  Fortunately, we have an arsenal of squeakers, shakers, animal sounds, and even a Moo-in-a-Can.  Don’t worry if your dog doesn’t respond to his name.  We got this.
  4. Animals feed off your energy.  The more excited you are, the more excited he’ll be.  Don’t worry, all pets go a little crazy during photo shoots.  This is totally, 100% normal. We’re not upset – neither should you be.  đź™‚

Some photos our favorite dogs we’ve had the pleasure of photographing.


To book a shoot with Stephanie Millner Photography please visit our contact form for more information.

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