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Siberian Husky with spring blossom in Windsor Home Park laying on the grass

Can you still get great photography with a dog on a lead?

I recently received a comment from a dog owner that whilst they love seeing my images, they'd never get anything like that for their dog as they are not allowed off lead in public areas. How could they possibly still get amazing pictures if their dog stays on a lead at all times?

Keep your dog on a lead for the dog photography session

It's quite common to keep a dog on a lead throughout a photo session. All professional dog photographers will always keep the dog's safety paramount, and to that end, we have developed skills to ensure we still create stunning images - lead or no lead! It makes most sense for the dog to wear their own collar, ideally with as thin a lead as possible. Most professional dog photographers will carry a thin lead just in case - this helps them in post processing edits.

Siberian Husky smiling at the camera in Home Park in Windsor

Can you really do an entire dog photography session on a lead?

Kosmos is a two year old Siberian Husky in these photos. He is full of life, has a tremendous character, and likes to play. As many Husky owners know, recall can sometimes be challenging if there are more interesting distractions around!

Siberian Husky Smiling and protecting Windsor Castle from Home Park

All of the photos of Kosmos were taken in Windsor, Berkshire. For those of you that know the area, Home Park has some amazing views of Windsor Castle - but also has lots of people and a few rugby pitches too.

Lots of fun and distractions for a playful Husky. Kosmos had so much fun, and was on a lead at all times.

Siberian Husky sitting at Windsor Bandstand with Windsor Castle in the background

We also tried some photos around other landmarks in Windsor, such as Eton Bridge and the Windsor Bandstand. For Kosmos' safety, he remained on his lead at all times. Our sole focus was to make sure that Kosmos was happy, safe, and that his true character shines through in the images captured.

There are various techniques for hiding the lead naturally

To save me some time in post processing and to keep things as natural as possible, I use some methods to hide the lead where possible. For example, on a park bench, it's likely we can have the owners behind the bench and the lead fed through. In most sessions, there are normally some photos taken with the owners land their dog. It's likely that we can position the lead between the owners, and hidden from the camera.

MIL Pet Photography - Dog Photographer

The power of the digital darkroom

There are a variety of techniques available to professional dog photographers to remove the lead in every photo taken. I normally show a client 20-30 fully edited images at their Viewing and Ordering Session, and I remove the lead in every one of them before the client sees them.

Of course, when you view my portfolio, there are photos in there of dogs in action and flying over logs. I will only attempt to capture images like these if the dog is used to running, leaping and jumping AND that the owner is completely comfortable with their dog's recall.

It is possible to capture images of a dog running with a lead and edit out afterwards - such as this one from Kosmos. Unless the lead makes part of the story, they can always be edited out in digital post processing.

Siberian Husky with a large stick

Being the best I can be for every client

As a professional dog photographer, I spend quality time every month learning, enhancing and mastering my skills. I attend professional photography conferences, and now an International dog photographers conference too. I also regularly participate in specialist dog photography education. I do all of this each year with one goal in mind - to ensure that I can be the best I can possibly be for every client.

Harness versus lead

Harnesses are much more difficult to edit in post processing and still retain a very natural appearance. If at all possible, it's best to use a collar and lead for the photography. At all times, the focus must be on the safety of the dog and so if needed, a harness can be used for walking between locations, switching to the collar for the actual photos.

MIL Pet Photography - Dog Photographer

Keep your friends in awe at how well behaved your dog was

So whether your dog is an untrained puppy or simply obsessed with squirrels, you can still have great dog photography with your dog on a lead. Let me handle your dog lead removal in digital post processing and then keep your friends in awe at how well behaved your dog was at the photoshoot.

Chris Miller

MIL Pet Photography

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