Should I have my pet groomed before its pawtrait session?

It is not essential, though some owners may wish to have that “just groomed” look. If your pet is not going for the full grooming treatment, a good brush or clean up may give that coat an extra shine and be tangle free. It’s advisable to ensure that the eyes are free from stray hairs or other deposits that can accumulate (unless of course the breed of pet you have its typical for the eyes not to be visible). From experience as a dog photographer, I know many owners like to leave it a week or two after a groom, to let the new look settle in.

Chester petphotographer

Should I bring along some of my pet’s favourite toys?

Yes, please! Here are some things you should definitely bring: favourite toys and any outfits or props you may want to incorporate in your photos. It may also be helpful to bring a soft toy, blanket or something similar that your dog associates with lying down/resting. Balls are great – but not so easy in getting your pooch to settle down!

Should I bring any treats?

It is ok to have them with you if your dog or cat responds well to treats, yet please refrain from using them until directed as some animals can become too obsessed with treats once they know that they are present.  I have a selection of treats in the studio – but I’m mindful that many owners would prefer to use their own as some pooches have sensitive tummies.

Chester pet photographer

My pets are not very obedient, will this be a problem?

Many owners look at our photographs and think their pet will never sit or stay like that. It only takes a second to take a photograph so even for the most impatient pet, we should be able to capture its character.

I always take my time when photographing pets. I usually allow them to have a good sniff around the studio and wander about to familiarize themselves with a new environment before even thinking of taking a photograph. This can take 20/25 minutes before the camera comes out. In the meantime we can have a chat about all things doggie/cat related!

Many of my best photographs have been taken in the last 5 minutes of a session, by which time your pet may be a bit tired and is happy just to plop down! Obviously if your pet (dog) is trained to sit, stay or go down, this will mean we can have more choices when it comes to showing you your finished photographs.

Can the whole family come to the session?

Yes, of course, but try to keep numbers to a minimum so your pet doesn’t get too distracted by too many people. Two is an ideal number. If you would like your pet photographed with the family we would normally suggest a separate photo session. I will always ask if you would like to have a photograph with your best friend! 


How do you interact with my dogs/pets?

Chester pet photographer

When you first arrive at the studio don’t be surprised if I ignore your pet initially. It will be in new surroundings,with plenty of interesting smells to work out – so the last thing it needs is a 6ft man hovering all over it! I firmly believe in treating pets with kindness and respect – the added advantage of this, is that this approach, should not stress out your pet and it will make them easier to photograph and thereby create better shots. I will ask you to help get your dog into say a sitting position (probably not too easy with cats!) – and I will attract its attention with a few noises or squeaks. I sometimes demonstrate how I would like your dog to be positioned so please don’t laugh at my doggie impersonations!

My pet is really nervous in strange situations or around new people – will this be a problem?

I have photographed pets for many years now and they all have very different personalities.  As with all my sessions the well-being of your dog is paramount. If your pet is nervous of strangers, I will make time to get to know them without getting any of my equipment out at the beginning of the session. If they don’t like the camera or flashes being in close proximity to them, this isn’t a problem as I will simply put a longer lens on the camera and remove myself from their personal space.

My pet is shy/hyper/etc. What do we do?

It’s okay! We’ll work with your pet to get the best photos possible. Please let me know when you book how they act with strangers. I also recommend bringing your pet to a preshoot consultation, that way they aren’t meeting me for the first time during the photo session. We will work together to make your pet comfortable and we’ll get some amazing photos!  It is always a good idea to ensure they have gone on a walk before having their photos taken. Some owners bring their pets to the studio at a time of the day when they aren’t usually exercising which seems to help.

And finally, please ensure your pooch is toileted before coming to the shoot! (we do anticipate accidents!) Having said that, it’s not unusual for a dog to leave a scent! We have cleaning stuff and will always wipe up straight away. Most of all don’t worry – just relax and enjoy the experience!

My dog or pet is a rescue and is extremely nervous of new people, will this be a problem?

Absolutely not, we are more than used to dealing with pets that perhaps did not have the best start to life. 

I’m not really sure what style of photograph I would like. What do you suggest?

We would definitely recommend a pre session consultation. It’s an opportunity to bring your pet down to the studio, to get to know the surroundings, and feel comfortable ready for the shoot. We would be able to look at some sample photographs and discuss what type of background and style of shoot you would prefer. I always suggest clients have a look at our Gallery for examples and if anything in particular stands out then to please let me know. Please click on the link to see some examples of our work.

Some Ideas 

And finally!

It is common for even the best trained dogs to not react normally to commands in the studio and if they sense a little anxiety from their owners they will pick up on it. Therefore the best piece of advice I can give, is for you to relax and you will both have a great time!

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As soon as I saw an example of the Family PhotoBox I knew that it was something I wanted to do for my family. I’d had family photos on my to do list for months but had not seen anything that really grabbed me…until I was introduced to Downing Lifestyle Photography. I wanted something unique,… Read more “We loved every minute!”

The Shiel Family

What a great fun experience we had in the studio shooting the box! Our first family shoot together & memories captured for life . Simon & Mariela are so welcoming & friendly. They also did a great job looking after a bouncy boxer in between the shoots with our daughter. We Highly recommend going to… Read more “Box & Bubble Fun !”

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I can’t recommend these lovely people enough. We had a family shoot arranged for my mums 70th birthday of her grandchildren. Unfortunately Covid delayed proceedings for a while but once back open there was nothing to worry about. We were all temperature checked upon arrival, hand gel is available and encouraged to use as well… Read more “Amazing Box Photoshoot”

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What an experience!! We have always been too nervous to have a photoshoot as the children have always been too shy. Simon was amazing from start to finish and all the children loved it, I even think Rosie our dog loved it too. When I received my order I was shocked at how perfect it… Read more “Our family photoshoot”

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Our family box photoshoot was an amazing experience from start to finish. Our group aged between 6 months and 75 years old and we all had the best time during the shoot, Simon ensures everyone is involved in the process and has fun. The results are amazing, we absolutely love our print, it’s brilliant quality.… Read more “Family Memories for a lifetime”

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I wanted to say a huge thank you for a truly amazing family photo. The box photo was a surprise present for my Mum’s 70th and it did not disappoint. We had 4 teenagers and a 9 year old whom you made feel completely relaxed. They had such a good time at the photo shoot… Read more “Truly Amazing Family Photo”

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Thank you Simon and Mariela for our amazing photo shoot and pictures I collected yesterday. It may be the last family pictures we get so loved making these memories. Even Stanley loved it by showing his appreciation to Dave. Thanks again Nicky, Dave, Shaun, Ben and Stanley… Read more “Fabulous what else can I say”

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