Hug Tails – Photo Session Scoop

Updated 5-26-17

Any problems photo day?  Call or text me at 925-683-5918!  

NEW:  The most recent photography schedule can be found here:  ****  Click here:    Photo Sessions as of 5-26-17 ****

We are down to our last 7 teams for ‘at work’ sessions  so it is time to start taking your pet’s studio image!

Please click the button below to take you to the main sign up page.

sign up now4 Hug Tails   Photo Session Scoop

These are the studio instructions included on that page:

It is time to take a beautiful studio portrait of your Therapy Pet (just like handsome Bosco here who came for an early studio session!).

Please select a 20 minute slot for your studio session (two pet households or single cat households,  please select two consecutive appointment times).   If you are available during weekday times, if possible, please choose one of those and save the evenings and weekends for people who are not available week days.  But if that is all that is left, don’t hesitate to book it.

The days available below are Wednesday June 7, Sunday June 11, Thursday June 15 and Tuesday June 20.  If none of those dates work, just click on the ‘contact me’ envelope below and I will schedule you on another day before or after one of my regular client sessions. You can also call me at 925-284-3280 or email me at  I know a number of you might need to get in before June 7 and I will make that work!

If you or your pet are not feeling well on photo day, please do not hesitate to reschedule.  There will be plenty of make-up days!   Don’t worry about things like healing hot spots or shaved areas; I can edit those out.

My studio is at my home at 3196 Lucas Drive in Lafayette .  Please park in the driveway if a spot is open, or there is plenty of street parking.

Preparation Instructions for dogs:

  • No stressing!  Dogs are goofy and studios are strange.  Expect the unexpected and we can all have a good laugh.  Your dog will pick up on any ‘performance’ anxiety you might have and will get worried too.  I have photographed the most nervous dogs (and 100′s of rescues) and all of them have ended up with great portraits and had a good time.  So that will be our goal – that your dog enjoys it.  It is ok if your dog won’t hold a sit or down; even the most well trained dogs can lose their little minds in a studio situation.
  • Please arrive a few minutes early and walk your dog around my shady front yard.
  • Your dog should come a bit tired and hungry.
  • Bring your own treats if your dog has allergies; otherwise I have some very high quality ones I might use.  But generally I do not need them.
  • I may have an assistant for your session or will instruct you on keeping your dog in position.  I use show leads as needed for most dogs to assist with keeping in position!  I keep my studio very calm and request that commands to your pups be kept to a minimum.  There is so much excitement in the studio that I don’t want to overwhelm them. I take care of attention getting and will capture a variety of poses very quickly!
  • I will provide vests if needed (or you can bring your own), but most images will be head shots without them.  The best head shots are when your pet is sitting.
  • All photography is taken on seamless paper of various colors.  If your dog has some weakness in his or her legs, I put them on a rug or a low ottoman to avoid slipping.
  • No people are included in these sessions.
  • Dogs that are groomed with a cut or clip should select an appointment that allows a day or two for the cut to settle in.  Other dogs should just come well brushed. If your dog needs something to hold it’s hair up out of eyes, please choose ribbons or bands that are not too bright.

Preparation Instruction for Cats:

  • Pray!  (just kidding)  Well brushed is all I need!

Questions or concerns?  Please email me at or call me at 925-284-3280.

‘At Work’ Instructions:

Library participant instructions:

  • I am looking to see if I can capture some photos with the dogs looking at the books.  What has been working and I encourage you to practice at home, is the following:  Smoosh something delicious and smelly on an index card sized piece of paper.  Not so much food that the dog wants to eat the paper, but just to get the dog’s attention.    Then open a book and lean the paper on the inside of the book with your dog in a sit or down and see if it gets their attention.    If it does, big reward!  Practice it a few times and you may get to the point that very little needs to be on the paper.  This is fun thing for the dog to know how to do at an actual reading program!

If I goofed something up or you have any questions – please let me know ASAP! or 925-284-3280

Please arrive 10 minutes early to your session.

Session Instructions:

  • Vests and collars:  Please remove any extra goodies from your vest.  If not possible, I have new ones you can use.  If yours is dirty, toss it in the washer/dryer!  Collars should be simple and clean with tags off.
  • Types of images – Hopefully I will be capturing images with your pet interacting with their person.  Some pets only have eyes for their owner.  I have a few tricks that I might need to use to get the pet focused on their person or task.  It could include a treat rubbed on a book or moving the owner to the side so it looks like the dog is looking at their person.  The best interactions often happen when the initial meeting occurs.  Your pet’s person will be all set up and ready to photograph before your bring in your pet.  I will be ready to capture their person reaching down to them or the look on their face when they first see your pet.  I may use a long line on your dog so they can approach their person easily (this all depends on the person they are paired with).
  • During your session:  The hardest part of pet photography is often too many distractions.    We will be trying to create as stress free of a situation as we can so the pets are all relaxed.  Something goofy will happen for sure; we will just roll with it!  Please do not stress if your dog does not hold a sit or a down.  We will make it work!
  • If you or your pet are not feeling well on the day of your session, please do not hesitate to cancel.  You will be scheduled with a make-up group.  It might not be with your first choice of location, but will still be wonderful – I promise!
  • There is a small chance you could be in an image, so please wear your Hug Pack shirt!

Locations – PLEASE ARRIVE 10 MINUTES early! 

VA Hospital:  150 Muir Rd., Martinez, CA 94553.  There is parking on the main campus or across the street in the gravel lot.  Meet in the lobby in building 20/22, which is right across from the big flagpole and we will come get you when we are ready.

John Muir Walnut Creek:  Meet in main lobby.  (If you are not a current JM volunteer, sign in as pet therapy and get a name tag.  Meet in the lobby behind the main desk.  You will be asked to sign a JM waiver and release)

Cal – download map here:  click here

ARF - Please wait in the hallway of the people connect corridor.

The Reutlinger Community:  4000 Camino Tassajara, Danville, CA 94506.  There is always parking available on the street if none in the lot.  Please sign in at the reception area and put on a visitor name tag.  We will come get you when we are ready! 

Orinda Care Center - Lots of street parking – please wait in the lobby.  11 Altarinda Rd, Orinda, CA 94563

Lafayette Library and Learning Center - Parking underneath the building.  3491 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549