We like to gab with cats and dogs, and even hamsters and fish, because we believe they hear us better than anyone else does – even if the conversation is one-sided. ‘We sense their regard for our thoughts and feelings.  Alone with them, our self-consciousness dissolves.’  From the book, “The Soul of All Living Creatures” by Dr. Vint Virga

Cameras have the unique ability to capture hundreds of details in a fraction of a second.  I want to photograph you or your pet in the best light and recommend you read the following to help ensure the best final product.


  • Please have your pet clean and looking its best.
  • Don’t have your pet groomed on the day of the shoot, it will be too stressed.
  • Let me know if there are certain behaviors or poses you would like to capture in the shots.
  • Bring the pet’s favorite toy if there is one.
  • In general, help the pet to look at the camera.
  • Try to keep your hands out of the portraits of your pet as much as possible; a light skin tone will distract from the portrait.  For this same reason, wear neutral clothing and long sleeves.
  • I like to get interactive shots of owners and their pets so please prepare yourself to be photographed as well.

People Portraits

  • Posing

    Following are some general rules but don’t worry,  I will help you with the posing.

    • When you pose, elongate your neck and push your forehead and chin forward a bit. It may feel awkward, but this position helps define your jawline and gives your face a more angular, lifted look.
    • If the image is taken with you looking at the camera, aim your gaze at the top of the camera lens. This will draw your eyes up and make them look brighter and bigger.
    • A more natural smile that keeps the muscles under you eyes from contracting is more often achieved by saying “Hi”, rather than “cheese.”
    • Angle your body.  Turn your body about 30 degrees to the right (or left depending on your ‘best side’) and turn your head in the opposite direction looking toward the opposite shoulder.
    • To look your slimmest, put your weight on your back leg and turn your front foot toward the camera.
    • If you are sitting, perch near the edge of the chair and sit up straight, rest your elbows on your thighs and lean slightly forward.
    • Watch the placement of your hands.
    • Take a deep breath and release it before the photo is taken.  This will bring a relaxed look to your face.
    • Have fun!
  • Clothing

    • Medium to medium-light solid colors work best.  Avoid patterns, stripes, prints (unless very subtle), and t-shirts with logos and bright colors as these will distract from your face.
    • Avoid wearing white unless specifically instructed to do so for a particular effect.  White has a tendency to lose detail in the photographic process.
    • Secure bra straps and/or hangar straps under clothing and out of sight.
    • Avoid clothing that is transparent or shows the lines of undergarments.
    • Select comfortable clothing.
    • Be careful with the jewelry!  Best to remove watches and wear simple jewelry as large jewelry and watches can be very distracting in photos.
    • You may want to bring a few changes of clothing.
  • Grooming

    • Pay attention to nail polish to ensure there is no chipping.
    • Stubble on faces and legs tend to be exaggerated in photographs so be sure to shave.
    • If you plan to have a haircut or perm, try to get it a least one week prior to the shoot so it  has time to settle and look natural.
    • Use a light gel or hairspray to avoid fly-away hair.
    • Don’t use too much hair product as it can make hair look greasy.
    • Get plenty of sleep the night prior to the shoot so you look refreshed and energized.
    • Many types of glasses will cause glare or distortion so if you have contacts or feel comfortable removing your eyewear for the photos you will enhance your photographic appearance.  Certain poses can be used to modify the glare, if you wish to have your photo taken with your glasses.
  • Make-Up

    • Face powder is helpful to eliminate unwanted shine.  If you have some, please bring it to the shoot.  I usually have some on hand.
    • Avoid heavy make-up – especially heavy mascara, brightly colored shadow, and dramatic eyeliner.  Natural colors photograph better.
    • Avoid eyebrow and/or facial waxing the week prior to the photo session as a ‘white mask’ will appear on film in the spots where wax was recently applied.
    • Matte lipstick looks best.  Avoid ‘frosted’ lipstick or very light lipstick.
    • If you need help with your make-up, let me know.
    • Please bring blush and lipstick with you as we may add some for contouring.  It is better if we use your own colors.
Copyright © TopDogFoto - Allison Quattrocchi