As we scroll through Instagram, we see all these beautiful groomers displaying their magic. I used to hesitate posting my personal grooming pictures because I felt like they weren’t good enough in comparison. (If you feel this way keep reading!)
Let me just say this: Don’t hesitate, post that picture!! We’re all here to help and support each other! This grooming community is growing and only getting stronger. Instagram has become an AMAZING platform for all groomers to share, educate, support, and encourage one another. Take the leap, I promise it won’t hurt!
Now let’s talk pictures - First off, the dog doesn’t give one FLYING FLUFF if we get a good picture or not. I think we all need to remember that. But what do I even know about perfect pictures? I’m not a professional photographer, I’m a professional groomer. I’ve been grooming over 8 years, and I just started my in-home grooming business last year. So then why did I get an entry level DSLR camera? My husband bought it for me so I would stop paying professionals to take pictures of my own dogs (classic dog mom problems). It started out as a hobby. I’m nowhere near professional status - but my enjoyment of taking dog pictures is out of control.
I personally think the “ugly” pictures are the BEST pictures. When the dog looks away, sticks their tongue out, or even blinks, those are the best!
When I first started taking pictures, I used to get so upset and stressed out about getting the dog to look right into the camera and not move! It started to cause me so much anxiety, so I had to stop myself and ask why? My new philosophy is no longer striving for the perfect shot, and now I personally think my work is only getting better. It’s also way more enjoyable for me and my clients!
We are groomers first. The photoshoots are now just a part of my process as a little added bonus for me and my clients.
Here are my 10 Tips that I use in my photo sessions that I find helpful (aside from the basics - treats/squeaky toys, asking if they want to go for a walk, etc.)
1. A maximum time of 4 minutes tops (seriously after 4 minutes just stop).
2. Have a clean and simple backdrop. Less is best! I like going outside if the weather is nice or I like twinkle lights colored for each holiday (all mine come from clearance section from Michael’s & Amazon)
3. Don’t shoot straight on the dog. Either stand on a chair and shoot down towards the dog or kneel on the ground and shoot up. Get those flattering ANGLES!
4. Go straight from grooming to pictures. Don’t let the dog think she is officially done with her hair cut. It’s just a part of the process. And then once I get it the shot, we celebrate a job well done!
5. Good lighting. Like duh. (Natural lighting is best. And always have the light shining towards the pup. Don't want it shining from behind.)
6. Don’t be afraid to edit your pictures/add that filter. Highlight the eyes but keep the focus on the dog.
7. Not every dog wants its picture taken. So just don’t force it.
8. Props. Use them! These pictures are ALSO for our clients. Pet Parents will appreciate the silly Santa hat, or a beautiful flower crown and even a funny Valentine’s Day headband- it’s hilarious.
9. Use the best camera that works for you. I personally use a Nikon D3500 DSLR with a decent 50mm, f/1.8g lens. Using an entry level DSLR helps me get that nice blurry background (referred to as bokeh by the pros) while keeping the focus on the dog to give nice character to the overall photo. With the evolution of cell phone technology, some of these camera phones today take some darn good pictures too! Use what you’re comfortable with, but don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith and invest in better equipment.
10. It’s all about your attitude. I know it sounds silly, but I swear when I have great energy the dog just smiles for me.
So as we all scroll through IG, looking at all these amazing groomers and their amazing grooms let’s support each other! And instead of feeling insecure, I now feel empowered, and the creative juices are flowing. The creativity I see blows my mind, and I feel so honored and blessed to be a contributing part of this grooming community. Keep on celebrating and supporting each other!
Thank you, Scottie, for sharing your 10 tips with us! If you want to follow Scottie, check her out on Instagram @scottiesdoggrooming and check out her website.