Howloween Fun: Tales from the Pet Photo Booth

dogs, How-to, pets, photography

Suze, Rumble, and Jen from Scallywags and Pawsitive Pantry

Fayston, Vermont. The only thing that snapped at my recent Howloween Photo booth was my shutter – thank you to everyone who came out for the event! Special thanks to Annemarie at Product Think Tank, and to Suze and Jen at Scallywags dog treats for their sponsorship. And, thank you to David for placing signs and trolling the Farmers Market for portrait subjects. The photo booth raised a little money for Golden Huggs Rescue and for PAWSitive Pantry.

This was my first time doing a photo booth using my cell phone, which I chose to do to speed up the process and ease of photo distribution at the sacrifice of quality. Next time, I’ll set up a “real” camera and give folks the option at a higher price point.

We held the event on a Friday afternoon, but performed an encore the next day, after the post office and Farmers’ Market closed. As we were cleaning up on Saturday, another shop owner asked if I’d return for Country Christmas, which is in December in the Mad River Valley. I’ll take that as a vote of support and my answer is maybe. I do think we’ll try this again next year, so think about costumes and practice sit-stay.

A good time was had by all, especially by a lab named Bear who enthusiastically licked my entire face and gobbled up multiple treats. I enjoyed meeting all the dogs and their people. Dog people really do mirror their dogs, if not in looks, then certainly in temperament! Scroll down for photos from the event, plus my crew.

If you missed my photo booth, check your local community calendar for dog events in your area.

Five take-aways from my photo booth experience:

  1. Bring a towel. Call this the “Watch Out for Bear” lesson.
  2. Relationships make great portraits. Don’t be shy – get in the picture! Most people just wanted a photo of their dog, but when the dog and the person are together, their interaction made for much more interesting and unique photos. We had so much fun when photographer Barrie Fisher stopped by with her dog and they struck a variety of poses together. Others who had been camera shy changed their mind about being in the picture when they watched Barrie. I re-snapped their portraits. Plus, having the dog owner in the picture makes it easier for the dog to slow down long enough for my shutter finger to catch up.
  3. Dress up isn’t for every dog. I knew this going in as my Charlie doesn’t like to wear things on his head. I have been practicing with hats and glasses on him, and his tolerance is improving. It’s taking time, however. Meanwhile, I put him in a pumpkin shirt for a photo, and he seemed to like the t-shirt – it was like putting on his Spot the Dog vest. Patience and practice are the keys if you want your dog to wear a costume.
  4. Socialization is important. A public event is challenging for most dogs because of all the new sounds, smells, and attention. Keep taking your dog on public outings!
  5. Practice Sit-Stay. Most dogs struggled to stay still. I doubt my dogs would ace this part given all the commotion, so this is certainly not a criticism but an observation. I took a lot of photos to get one or two decent shots, but the outtakes were hilarious! This is where my real camera would have been a better tool. That said, I’ll be practicing Sit-Stay with my pack more regularly.

If you want to try this for your next event, here’s what I brought for the photo booth:

  • A photo backdrop stand and a large piece of black cotton velour for a backdrop
  • Pumpkins (I bought real ones, but fake ones work, too) and a Trick or Treat sign from the crafts store for decor and props
  • A chair
  • Assorted costumes, hats, and a felt Halloween garland that I purchased at a craft store – the garland made a fun scarf
  • A pumpkin bucket for donations with a sign
  • Candy for people

We located the photo booth outside on a covered sidewalk. We had plenty of afternoon sun for light, but I brought a light wand and a second tripod just in case. I used my phone (an iPhone 7Plus) on portrait mode. I think next time I’ll go back to a camera on a tripod for an upcharge option.

Did I say we had fun? We sure did!

One thought on “Howloween Fun: Tales from the Pet Photo Booth

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