“Where should we take our photos?” is a very common question I get while planning your dog’s session. With so many beautiful, postcard-worthy locations to choose from here in Hawaii, the possibilities are endless. Here are seven things to consider when selecting the best location for pet photography:
My number one rule for every session is to keep you and your dogs safe. Aside from being dog-friendly, the location must also allow you to effectively control your dogs. For example, if you are not able to navigate steep terrain then we will not use a hiking trail for your session.
Side note: it is ok if your dog can’t be let off-leash, 90% of the dogs I photograph aren’t! Leashes and people are always edited out of the final image.
Does your dog love to meet new people or dogs? Or do they prefer their own space away from too much excitement? Or maybe they have physical limitations or are afraid of the ocean? No matter how stunning a location is, if your dog is not comfortable and relaxed there it will show in your photos through their body language and eyes. I want your dog to feel relaxed and have fun during their session so even if this means choosing a spot off the beaten trail, it is definitely worth it!
Do you take your dog to play at their favorite beach every week? Is there a neighborhood walk you enjoy every day together? Or just a sentimental place that holds meaningful memories? If so, including them into your session will make your images more special!
How do you want the final images to look and feel? A beach setting with lots of blue skies and palm trees? Or a more natural look at a park or on a hike? We could even do a lifestyle session to incorporate your home, yard, and neighborhood. Also, take into consideration how many backdrops there are at that location. To create a wide variety of images, we usually utilize 3-5 backdrops during your session.
Choosing the right time of day plays an important part in location selection. Some locations are better during certain times of the year (for example, North Shore beaches are not ideal during the winter due to large surf) or time of day depending on where the sun sets. Because I utilize mostly natural light, the best time to capture the most dreamy portraits are the couple hours after sunrise and the couple hours before sunset. This “golden hour” occurs when the sun is lower in the sky creating soft, flattering shadows and warm color tones.
6. Your Artwork
Last but certainly not least, think about how you’d love to display your images from the session to compliment your home decor. A beach or park location is better suited for homes with a traditional, coastal, or rustic theme than an urban location. If you prefer to document a “day in the life” of your dog with an album, a session done in your home and at their favorite hang out spots will tell their story with the most meaning.
My Shortlist: Best Location for Pet Photography
- Waialae Beach Park
- Kuliouou Beach
- Makapuu Beach
- Sherwoods Beach
- Kailua Beach
- Kakaako Waterfront Park
- Dillingham Ranch
Over the years I’ve curated a list of my favorite locations, each suited for dogs with different personalities. If you have a personal favorite, leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram. I’d love to see your photos!