dog photographer Northamptonshire


Jan 14, 2018 | Dogs, Guides

January 14th marks National Dress Up Your Pet Day, a light-hearted occasion designed to give pets a little more attention, with the underlying goal of helping to raise awareness of homeless animals and promote adoption. Whether you’re taking part or sitting it out this year, I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about canine fashion in general, as well as offer some useful advice on how you can dress your dog for a portrait session and get the most out of your photos!

Generally speaking, I believe that dressing up your dog (within reason) is pretty harmless, as long as you understand your dog’s temperament, behaviour, and body language, and act appropriately. It goes without saying that dressing your dog up in any capacity is a bad idea if it makes them at all uncomfortable, fearful or stressed out. Some key signs that your dog is unhappy or stressed include the ‘whale eye’, yawning, tail being tucked between their legs, or licking their lips/nose. You might also find that they are reluctant to move whilst wearing their new outfit, or struggle to sit/move properly. If your dog shows any signs of stress or discomfort, best sit this one out, or dial it back. In any case, time spent wearing outfits should be kept to a minimum to reduce the risk of your dog becoming uncomfortable or overheating over time – just enough to take a few snaps should be fine!

Cockapoo wearing black tie
White dog wearing halloween outfit

The thing is, your dog doesn’t need to be dressed from head to toe in designer gear or a full-body costume to join in the fun – a new accessory like a bow tie or bandana, or even just a new collar, can go a long way in freshening up their look. These subtle fashion choices are my favourites, minimally invasive and easy to change up if needed – plus they’re a great choice if you’re planning a photo session for your dog.

Pug wearing a bow tie
Cockapoo puppy running in woods
Chihuahua wearing pearl necklace
Beagle wearing bow tie

Unless we’re in a secure environment, chances are your dog will be wearing a collar for their session, and it will show up in most of your images – but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Dust off an old favourite, or buy something shiny and new to mark the occasion (and the same goes for tags too). Think about colours, patterns and materials that compliment your dog’s fur, as well as the location of your session (will you be in the woods, at the beach, in the city?).

Scottie dog wearing tartan collar
Greyhound wearing oriental collar
Jack Russell wearing studded collar

These things might seem trivial, but a simple collar or accessory can go a long way in creating beautiful photos of your dog. That being said, some owners prefer their dogs to look as natural as possible, and will opt to remove the collar entirely. As long as we’re in a safe and secure location (like a garden) then ‘naked’ dogs are no problem either!

Puppy sitting on a rock
Pug posing for camera

If you and your dog are celebrating National Dress Up Your Pet Day today, I’d love to see! Feel free to share your photos over on my Facebook page. If you’re interested in hearing more from me, including useful session guides and general dog-related ramblings, be sure to sign up to my email newsletter and be the first to hear about events and special offers.

Fine art pet portrait artist | Northamptonshire, East Midlands, UK