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Dog, Park, Photo Session, What to expect

To leash or not to leash, that is the question.  Actually, it’s not really a question in my mind. It’s a pretty simple answer…..yes!    I have a lot of experience with dogs on leash photography, as you can see from the examples below.

A dachshund dog on the beach of Lake Michigan with a leash
A happy dachshund on the beach of Old Mission Lighthouse park in Traverse City

One of the concerns that many people have before booking a pet portrait session is that their dog needs to stay on a leash at all times.  They are afraid that all the images will have the leash in them or that they can’t get the type of images that they see on pet photography websites.

A golden doodle sitting on the path in Maybury State Park in winter
A beautiful doodle dog sitting on the path in a snowy forest

I have good news for you.  Your dog absolutely does not need to be off leash to get amazing images.  In fact, I would prefer that your pup stays on a leash unless we are in a fenced-in area.  

A sweet Cavalier King Charles Spaniel looks at the camera while posing on a stony landscape
A red and white Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy sitting on a stony landscape

I know some people are very comfortable with their dogs being off leash.  But some other considerations are other dogs or wildlife that may be in the area, even well-trained dogs are not perfect, and the fact that it is a state law to have your dog on leash.  So you can actually get a ticket/fine for not having your dog on leash.   

A black newfie puppy covered in sand on the beach with a red leash
A black newfoundland puppy covered in sand on the beach

My preference is always better safe than sorry, but especially when it comes to our pets.

Here’s how it works.  I can give you some simple instructions on how to hold the leash to minimize its appearance in an image.  I even have some special leashes that we can use. Then I do some photoshop magic to remove the leash in my editing process.  Viola, safe dog and happy pet parents 🙂

A golden doodle on leash on the beach at Fisherman's State Park in Michigan
A golden doodle on a stony beach along Lake Michigan with it's mouth open in summer

So, please don’t let the fact that your dog needs to be on a leash prevent you from having gorgeous images of you and your pet.  As part of our pre-session call we will discuss locations and behaviors so that we get exactly what you want without any risk.

Book your no-obligation call today by answering a few questions here.

An adorable Klee Kai dog on a snowy bridge in wearing a leash
A Klee Kai dog on the bridge in Lake St. Clair metropark in winter

As always, feel free to contact me at if you have any questions regarding a pet portrait session.

So to conclude, yes, your dog can be on a leash during our pet photoshoot and you’ll still get gorgeous images to display in your home for years. 

A dachshund dog on a leash splashes through shallow water
A dachshund dog splashed through the shallow water of a lake