Easter minis are right around the corner and I figured this would be the perfect time to go over some important information when planning for those adorable spring sessions our clients love so much. Every year photographers advertise their upcoming easter minis where they often love using live animals. The thing is, photographers often don’t realize how many rules there are to follow when doing this sort of thing. It’s not as simple as finding a bunny or chicks, picking them up and then using them for the session and dropping them off after. There’s so much more to it that photographers should consider before offering easter minis. The good news is that there is a great alternative. Using digital animals overlays. 


Things to remember when you want to use live animals:

YOU NEED A PERMIT AND LICENSE. In most states the USDA requires a permit for those that handle live animals which would include photographers who use live animals for a session. (this doesn’t include your clients household pet). If you do want to use live animals during a session then you will need to go about it legally and get the correct permits and licenses.

ANIMAL SPECIALIST. Some states also need a veterinarian or animal specialist present at your easter mini session to insure the safety of the animals. They are there to make sure that the animals are being treated and cared for correctly.

STRESSFUL ON THE ANIMALS. These little animals are not used to being handled by children and it can be quite stressful on them when they are being touched by children. Many children don’t know how to properly handle little animals and can easily hurt them on accident. I can’t tell you how many stores I hear every year about baby chicks accidentally dying during an easter mini session simply because they aren’t being handle correctly and are under an enormous amount of stress.

ANIMALS CARRY DISEASES. It is not uncommon for baby rabbits, ducklings, and chicks can carry all sorts of diseases. One of them Rabbit fever and Salmonella. Little children especially are naturally more prone to catching something. Educate your clients on why using live animals can be a bad idea regardless of how adorable they are. No one wants their little one to catch a disease by getting easter photos done.

SAFETY. Bunnies can bite and chicks can scratch. They are animals, it is natural for them to do this especially if they are being held wrong or are under stress. I know I personally would never put my clients children in a situation where they could possibly get hurt. It is a huge safety and liability issue and just not worth it.

BEING GENTLE. Of course there are lots of children that can be gentle with animals. Baby animals are so delicate and can easily break their little bones while being held to tight. There are a lot of children, especially toddlers that have a hard time with being gentle enough to hold these little creatures. I know it’s sad to think about but so important. Children have no intentions on hurting animals but sadly it is a strong possible outcome when you let children hold these precious animals.

The good news is that I myself love easter mini sessions just like all of you. I know our clients love them so here is one way you can create stunning easter mini sessions for your clients while keeping everyone safe.

DIGITAL ANIMAL OVERLAYS. There’s a reason I started using digital animal overlays for my sessions. It’s a million times easier and my clients love the end result. These backdrops are super simple to use, all you have to do is drag and resize the animal onto your image. (most of them come on a transparent background) so you have literally no editing to do. I’ve added so many different animals for you to use. We have bunny overlays, chick overlays, duckling overlays, an adorable lamb overlay, baby pig overlay, and then a few other animals.

New to using digital overlays? Here's a video tutorial to show you just how easy it is to do! 


Don’t forget, there are so many beautiful easter props aside from live animals to use during sessions, the possibilities are endless.

P.s. If you have ever used my animal overlays then please share them with me by emailing me at modernbabyphotography@gmail.com I love seeing what you all create with them and will be sharing some of my favorite on my fan page. (Make sure to watermark your image and be sure to add your fan page link in the email so I can be sure to tag it when I share it!) 



February 10, 2016 — Elena Ringeisen


Bilimama said:

Love it, thank you so much for writing this article. Animals need us to protect them from being hurt and abused.

Maggie T said:

I’m so glad you bring out all these excellent points! I feel the same way when parents insist on making children ride the pony when they are terrified and screaming—what kind of picture do you expect to get from that?! Plus they may make their children fearful in future encounters. Ditto poor Santa! Parents need to be realistic and sensitive/respectful of their child’s feelings.

Barbara said:

I’m a hobby photographer, so I do not have a license yet..can I still purchase your overlays?

Simpson Photography said:

Stupid question….my son has a 5 year old lionhead bunny, he’s our household pet, and used to being handled, even by small children. I assume, because he’s a personal pet, I won’t need a license for this?

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