Who doesn’t love the idea of a doggy photo shoot, especially as the cooler months of autumn arrive and there’s pumpkins to be picked! No one can get enough of pictures of dogs doing cute things, so we thought we’d put together a guide about how to stage a pumpkin patch photoshoot of your own! Even if you don’t have any specialized photography experience, you can still make a fun, and safe, environment for your pooch to play in. After you follow this guide, you’ll just have to decide which photos to post on your social media accounts and are worthy of a share with friends. Maybe you’ll want to even frame a couple as well!
Keep reading to learn how to:
- Scope out the right environment
- Get your dog ready for their photoshoot
- Best angles and shots for your doggy
Scoping Out the Pumpkin Patch
Do your research
Have you ever searched for something online only to be disappointed by it in person? It’s something that happens to us all, but hopefully not too often. If you’ve decided that this fall is the right time to get some Insta-worthy photos of your dog at a pumpkin patch, you’ll probably need to do a little research before hand. Get a list together of available pumpkin patches-- and even farmer’s markets-- in your area that have no problem with having dogs around while customers check out pumpkins. Be sure to ask if there are any groups or field trips planned for the pumpkin patch that day, as having too many people around might be overstimulating for your dog, especially if there are lots of loud children around.
Just to be sure, it might be a good idea to give them a call ahead of time to be certain the proprietors will have no problem with you doing your little photoshoot and using some of their props or pumpkins while you’re at it. Most people would love to see a cute doggy photo shoot and would welcome the chance to host, but sometimes you never know.
Arrive at the right time
Now that you have a couple of options scoped out, you’re going to want to time your visit right. If you’d really like to capture the details and have some great natural light, arrive for your shoot in the early morning or evening hours. These times might also be some of the most quiet times at the pumpkin patch as well, so that might be the best time to visit with your pooch.
We can’t predict the weather, but if you’re planning to get some amazing pictures, consider waiting for a day that is overcast as well. These types of days have a softer light that seem to make the details of your photos pop. Morning and evening, again, might also be a good option for your puppy photoshoot because they tend to be non-peak times, and will likely be less crowded. Same goes for the day of the week you choose-- Saturday and Sunday might see twice the amount of people, if not more, at the pumpkin patch. If you can swing it, choose instead a week night where it will definitely be more low key-- plus you might just get the place to yourself!
Making Sure You and Your Dog Are Ready
Now that you’re sure that you’ve found the perfect pumpkin patch, it’s time to make sure both you and your pooch are ready to nail your photoshoot! Perfect photos don’t just happen, they’re prepared for-- so now is the time to make sure you have a good plan in place in order to capture some adorable moments with your dog.
It goes without saying that only dogs who are comfortable around people and well socialized should be considered for an outdoor photo shoot at the pumpkin patch. If your dog is uncomfortable with crowds, other animals, or loud noises, you may want to consider doing your shoot elsewhere.
Get them adjusted
But assuming your dog is a friendly pooch who likes the idea of a lot of attention, it’s still a good idea to get them acclimated to the camera and any other equipment you intend on bringing with you to the shoot. If you’re planning to use your smartphone, this may be a lot easier than if you have a professional camera, but still let your dog sniff and get adjusted to the equipment. Before you leave for the patch, make sure you’re prepared with some water and a bowl and ensure that the leash you are using is well made and has a length limit. This will help your dog stay near you and not interested in what’s going on away from your camera. Also it’s important to remember that not everyone wants to interact with your dog (we know, it is hard to believe) so a shorter leash is probably best.
Before beginning your shoot, it’s important to take your dog for a walk before hand to ensure they have a chance to go potty. No one wants the embarrassment of having their dog going to the bathroom in the middle of the pumpkin patch with hopeful pumpkin pickers all around! A walk will not only give them a chance to do their business, it will also get any extra energy out that might be too much for a pumpkin patch.
Because you are going to a place that you and your pup might not typically visit, it’s important that you’re aware of some of the hazards that can accompany a pumpkin patch or a farmer’s market. Depending on when you go, it might be crowded with lots of children-- potentially in Halloween costumes. This might even spook the most social dog, as they might not be used to seeing the different accessories that can accompany kids’ costumes.
You should also be aware that some pumpkin patches use chemicals in their fields and possibly on their pumpkins. Your dog is going to be sniffing all around and exploring a new area, so be aware if there appears to be pesticides or insecticides in use. Just to be cautious, when you get home, wipe down your pup’s paws and legs.
Many pumpkin patches are also operating farms, which means there is the possibility of having other farm animals on site. Be prepared for anything from cats, sheep, cows, and chickens and pay attention to how your doggy is reacting to these new smells, sounds, and creatures. Most of the time farm animals at a pumpkin patch are used to having lots of people and other animals around them, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Which Angle is Best?
Ready for their close up!
Now that you’re and your pup are prepared for the patch and aware of some of the things to be cautious of, it’s time to get out there and get some shots! Instead of trying to overplan your shoot, just follow how your dog is reacting and allow them to direct, and just let your camera follow. This way you’ll get more natural shots that show your dog having a blast in the pumpkin patch.
For some really good action shots, it might be helpful to have a friend come with you for the shoot, that way they can either take pictures while you play with your dog, or free you up to take pictures while they handle your dog in the patch. Either way you’ll definitely want to get some action shots of your dog playing and romping among the pumpkins and hay barrels. Consider taking a few toys or balls to your shoot to really get them in a playful mood.
After some perfect action shots, maybe slow it down a little and get some stills or portraits of your puppy enjoying the moment. For this, you might want to pack some treats, especially if your dog has a hard time sitting still. Hold the treat where you’d like them to look, and voila, instant portrait!
Another good idea is to take some shots from your dog’s level-- which might mean getting a little dirty! These pictures will definitely be worth it though, as they offer a new perspective and are a great way to grab some amazing candid shots. This is also a good way to get some up close and personal shots of your pup, and give you some interesting photos that you may not get otherwise.
Remember to keep in mind the time of day you go to the pumpkin patch, because this will be your lighting for the shoot. Avoid using the flash on your camera as it can give animals strange eyes and can even startle your pooch as well. Really let your dog be themselves, and don’t force them into constructed stances or even make them wear a costume, as not all dogs are fans of this. You want your dog to look natural-- it’s very easy to spot photos that seem forced.
One last tip-- take lots of photos! You never know which one will end up being your favorite, so be sure not to be stingy with your shots. When you’re finished with your pumpkin patch shoot, upload your pictures to your computer and see if any of them could benefit from a little editing. Adjusting the brightness or the sharpness of your photos is a fantastic way to make your pup’s photos go from good to great! Now you’re ready to share the amazing photos of the fun day you and your dog had at the patch-- the pictures will be sure to garner lots of likes and comments!
Taking your dog to a pumpkin patch for a fall photo shoot is a great idea, and sure to get some adorable pictures. Just make sure you and your puppy are ready for the experience and you’ll be on your way to some Insta-worthy photos!