A Session in the Woods

It’s a good day when I get to work with dogs and their humans. It seems dog people are just easy to connect with, don’t you agree? There’s nothing I love more than working with dogs and their people right here on our Shadow Dog property, where we have ten gorgeous acres of pine forest and open fields. We have an abundance of location possibilities, and my creative ideas are rolling from the moment a dog arrives. If you’re wondering what a Shadow Dog Photography session in the woods may look like, this is for you. Let’s look at a past session with three fun dogs and their incredible humans. 

First, let’s relax!

When dogs first arrive with their owners, they’re often unsure of the surroundings. They may be a little nervous, and super distracted. No problem, to the field we go! 

Lab Coonhound Running Shadow Dog Photography

With over an acre fenced in, dogs have a chance to catch up on new smells, find a ball, and safely run laps around their humans. Before long these pups are happily playing while I catch some candid action shots. For the more excitable models, this gives them a chance to burn off some energy before we head out for a walk in the woods.

Chow Shepherd Shadow Dog Photography

Different dogs have different levels of energy and confidence, and I let each individual guide the playtime. I follow their lead while I sit back and stay out of their space. This allows pups to become comfortable with me and my camera, before I ask anything of them. Once I see them relax, and they show me their big smile (tongue hanging out), we’re off to the woods.

Family is Important

Your dog is a big part of your family. She’s been there for you when you bought your new home, when your first child was born, and maybe even when that child went off to college. But do you have any family photos of ALL of you? Your dog has been there with you through thick and thin, and your children don’t know life without this amazing furry best friend. 

This is why I always, always ask to take some photos that include the family. 

Family with Dogs Shadow Dog Photography

Let’s Continue Your Session in the Woods

The pups have caught their breath, so we’re off to wander amongst the pines. It’s peaceful out there, and on a breezy day you can hear the trees whispering. This is when I love to get some individual portraits of the dogs. My mission is always to capture each pup’s unique personality, whether that’s sweet, bold, or quirky. I adore the silly, candid shots too. These are always great fun to share, and I love including them in the final images. 

Lab Coonhound Shadow Dog Photography

As the sun drops lower in the sky, the light in the woods is incredible. It’s the perfect backdrop and the dogs look gorgeous. There are always plenty of sights and sounds to keep the dogs interested, and if they’re seeming a little bored or at all stressed, we take a break. Each dog tells me when they need a break. I watch for signs of boredom or stress, and that’s when we take a break. After all, there’s plenty of “pmail” to read and send! When the pups seem refreshed, we’re back onto our adventure.

Chow Shepherd in Woods Shadow Dog Photography

Different dogs take a liking to different environments. If they’re comfortable on different surfaces, I’ll invite them up onto logs or stumps. This makes even the tiniest dog seem mighty in the forest!

Little Black Terrier Shadow Dog Photography

Dogs Together

Along with the individual photos of each pup, I love capturing all of the dogs together. Let’s face it, when you’re home alone, wrangling more than one dog for a photo can seem impossible! So I always make it a priority to try and get them all together for a group shot. 

Three Dogs Sitting Shadow Dog Photography


Is your pup big on the extras? Maybe a custom-designed collar, a bow tie, or a sweater suits his personality. I always encourage clients to bring these things along since it’s fun to see what each pup wears! And besides, what’s cuter than a dog with accessories? I love it.

Little Black Terrier in Yellow Sweather Shadow Dog Photography

Wrap Up

As each session comes to a close, the dogs are usually sleepy from their adventure. After playing in the field and wandering throughout the woods, each dog seems pretty satisfied with their visit. If they’re ready to go again, we make a stop back in the field. You can never get enough playtime, and if the dogs are up for it, I am too!

This gives you an idea of what a Shadow Dog Photography session in the woods looks like. Having fun is most important during your adventure, and if your pup falls asleep on the ride home, that’s a bonus! 

Have you been thinking about booking a session? Feel free to get in touch, I’d love to share some great portrait ideas with you.


Hi, I'm Jan

I help dog parents celebrate their best friends with adventurous portrait sessions and extraordinary artwork for their home. Tail wags and smiles guaranteed! Based in Whitewater, WI.


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