I’m proud to introduce an exciting new type of post for the Allison Shamrell Photography blog – a guest post! I always recommend that my clients consider booking a grooming appointment (or at least a bath) for their pets a few days before our session. So the wonderful people at Awesome Doggies, San Diego’s premier mobile pet grooming service, answered a few questions that a first-time photography client might have about getting dog grooming before a photo session. They’re the experts when it comes to grooming, and they have some fabulous insights into all the factors that make up a great grooming appointment! Take a look!
Left: Elyse uses a hair dryer on Henry the black lab. Right: grooming tools & brushes in the Awesome Doggies service trailer. (Photo credit: UT San Diego, used with permission.)
Written by Elyse Angone, Operations Manager at Awesome Doggies Mobile Grooming
Have you ever gotten a fresh new haircut right before a big event or photo sesh, only to feel uncomfortable in your new do or not liking the pictures as much as you’d hoped? Well, one trick to grooming for pet photography is to know your pup can have the same dilemma! But don’t worry – with some pre-planning, your pooch can feel comfortable and look fabulous for the camera. Here are some things to consider:
What kind of “look” best suits your pet?
You probably want your dog to be clean (or mostly clean), brushed out, and looking their best for their pictures, but you also might not want them to look too different from how they always look – you may not want to try a standard breed clip for your Westie if they’re usually in a casual puppy cut (or you might not recognize her in the photo!). If you usually get your dog clipped short when they see a groomer, but they spend most of their time looking shaggy, you may want to opt for a bath-only with some light trimming just before picture day. Put some thought into what look best represents your dog, and talk to your groomer ahead of time to decide when to have your pup groomed, & what look to go for.
Elyse washes Henry with one of Awesome Doggies’ many shampoos. (Photo credit: UT San Diego, used with permission.)
When should you see the groomer?
If your dog doesn’t need a full haircut, it’s probably safe to have them groomed a day or two before your session is scheduled. If a haircut is happening, you may want to have that done a little farther in advance. That gives you time to make sure the haircut is to your liking, without the stress of being rushed. It’s nice to have a day or so to look over the haircut at home, in your dog’s natural environment. Be sure to call your groomer ahead of time to schedule their appointment, & let them know that a professional photo session is scheduled. If you think your pet may have a matted coat, or if they’ve ever had a shave-down due to matting, consult with your groomer well in advance for recommendations on how & when to handle the matting. Keep in mind that a shaved coat can take months to grow back.
Left: Henry basks in his bath. Right: various shampoos & treatments for different types of dogs. (Photo credit: UT San Diego, used with permission.)
What other grooming options are there?
Groomers have a few tricks beyond basic baths and haircuts that can help your pictures come out great. Some shampoos have optical brighteners in them to make coat colors “pop”, and conditioners that can add a fresh shine. Paw pads can be conditioned to make them look and feel softer. Black toe nails can even be painted with black non-toxic nail polish to make them look extra nice (or you can use nail polish to add a splash of color). Even if your dog doesn’t get a haircut, your groomer may be able to neaten the fur between their toes, or thin out the hair around their ears to make them appear perkier. Ask your groomer what they have & what they recommend for your dog.
Lastly, and most important, remember to have some fun with your pup on picture day! Put some thought into the grooming plan ahead of time, so that when the camera comes out you can just enjoy watching your four-legged friend shine!
Left: Elyse finishes drying Henry with the hair dryer. Right: Elyse & Henry finish their appointment, with Henry sparkling clean, and they exit the service trailer. (Photo credit: UT San Diego, used with permission.)
If you’re in need of a groomer to provide extra gentle care in the most stress-free environment possible, Awesome Doggies serves most neighborhoods of San Diego, bringing a mobile grooming salon to your doorstep. Click here to visit the Facebook page (which always posts cute photos & funny links!), or you can reach Awesome Doggies by calling (858) 633-3641.
Thanks for the article, Elyse! (I personally had no idea about the optical brighteners in some shampoos – that’s an awesome tip!) Awesome Doggies does fabulous work, and I’m thrilled to feature their expertise here on the blog. I hope you liked this post as much as I did! :)