Photography is a groomer’s best friend. It is one of the best ways to create a client connection, showcase your talent and keep track of your personal progress. Your patrons will remember the extra time you took to take that beautiful picture of Fluffy. Every single one of them deserve the one-on-one attention that we can offer at the end of their groom. The few moments we take to put on their bow or bandana, spray them with some delicious perfume, sneak in a couple kisses, and set them up for their photo can create some of the most amazing memories with your clients. In addition to creating this connection, it can serve as a personal portfolio and give you the ability to critique your grooms at a later date in order to improve your skills. Here are 5 tips that will help create better quality grooming photographs:
Tip #1: Find your lighting and camera settings
Lighting creates a mood. Even though I don’t have much natural lighting in my salon, I use certain spots in the room that have the most light and the least amount of shadow. On super cloudy days, I will increase the exposure in an editing app to brighten up the room. I adjust my phone settings depending on what I am trying to capture; if I just want a headshot of my client, I often shoot in “Portrait” mode. For full body shots, I usually use the regular camera mode so the entire body is in focus. You want to show as much of your groom as possible, so adjust how you shoot based on what you are shooting!
Tip #2: Clean your surroundings
A clean environment makes your photographs look crisp! Your client is looking his or her best, and your salon should, too! Wipe down your table, move your coffee cup from the background, and blow off any stray hairs. This adds professionalism, and really puts the emphasis on your groom.
Tip #3: Get on their level
Shooting your clients from their level (i.e. getting down and taking the picture directly in front of their chests) creates the best angles for showcasing your grooms! Pointing your camera down creates a smaller dog and captures less of your hard work. If you are shooting from the side, try and have a coworker hold and stack your dog. This will allow you to back up a few feet and get the entire groom centered in the frame.
Tip #4: Capture their attention
Every dog reacts differently to different noises and distractions. Some will give you the cutest head tilt when you squeak a ball, while others perk their ears when they hear “want a treat?!” Keep a stash of different toys and practice making funny noises with your own pups at home. Consider asking in your paperwork if their pup can have a healthy snack as a treat after their groom, and use that treat as a distraction to get a good photo. Some dogs are camera shy, and that’s ok! If they are too excited to want to sit still, have a coworker take a picture of you snuggling or interacting with your client.
Tip #5: Happy clients = happy photographs
If your clients are happy and relaxed during their grooming process, this will translate to their photos! The owner wants to see that their pup trusts you and enjoys their time with you! Take the time with every dog or cat to make their day at the grooming salon a fun experience.
If you follow these tips, you will create pictures that you and your clients can both appreciate for many years to come. Remember, we play a huge role in the life of these animals. We are not only their hairstylists, but one of their best friends. There is nothing like the bond between a dog and their groomer. So do yourself a favor, and create memories of those relationships.
Thanks, Emily! Follow Emily Walker on Instagram @ezgrooming