I learned the hard way how important a studio kit is to a studio photographer. It has become a necessity to have on shoot days, because you should always be prepared for the worst scenario (your worst nightmare will be a reality more likely than not). It's important to be prepared not only for yourself, but for your client because most of the time they are paying by the hour for a quality service and there isn't time to waste on running out to buy tape or batteries.
That being said, my studio kit consists of 2 sets of Cactus triggers (https://cactus-image.com/v5.html) because you honestly never know when you'll need the extra set. That being said, always have at least 1 extra set of AA and AAA batteries for triggers and other equipment. Duct tape, painters tape, and packing tape are essential, especially when you need to tape down equipment and wires for small children and dogs to prevent tripping. With tape comes the need for scissors, so have that swell. A-clamps (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/283213-REG/Adjustable_Clamp_Company_3202HT_Pony_Spring_A_Clamp.html) are great for seamless backgrounds, holding wires together, and clipping back fabric or clothes. Last but not least, a good sewing kit for a fashion photographer can go a long way (try and find one with pins, needles, and thread just in case.)
One of the most relaxing parts of a shoot is the retouching. It's a time for me to really analyze my work and see what I can get out of it. The thing about photographing dogs is that they move around a lot so sometimes you have to think fast and improvise to get the shot that you want (example: image on the bottom left). My typical editing workflow consists of importing into Capture One, culling, making basic adjustments, the occasional cropping, and exporting as a 16 bit TIFF to bring straight into Photoshop, where most of the magic happens.
For this shot the biggest issue was clearly the background, so I just made a new white background altogether with a brush on a new layer (ALWAYS label your layers... I've had it backfire on me more than once), although the alternative for the background would be using Quick Select for the dog and pasting it onto a new background altogether by hitting CMD+J. After that, the other issue was the visible flare and overall contrast, which I fixed using various masks (Hue/Saturation and Contrast for the flare).
Unfortunately, this isn't the hardest image I have ever retouched. The dog series seems to be giving me a bit of a break on that part. Olive was already a gorgeous dog before the retouch but you can really see what some time spent on editing can really do to an image, this is now one of my favourites from the series.
Needless to say, I spend a lot of time with dogs and for some reason, I thought photographing them would be easier than the redheads I photographed weeks before. I was wrong. To some extent, photographing dogs tends to be worse than photographing toddlers. At least the toddlers know that if they try to bite the wires then they get a time out.
I have learned that practice makes perfect, and patience is so so so important. As much as I try to prepare before a shoot, you can never fully know what you're getting into until you're forced to take a deep breath and start shooting. Recently, my shoots have turned into this kind of 5-minute-shoot-10-minute-break ordeal, partially for the dogs, and partially for myself.
Apart from patience, you need to love what you do in order to get the right shot. If I didn't love my subjects as much as I do, how can I be expected to work with them for a couple of hours? Sure, it takes a lot of energy and focus to be able to complete a full hour or two of shooting, but the final product is ALWAYS worth it. To be honest with you, I didn't expect it to be this rewarding.
What I didn't know is how important a role the owners of the dogs would play. When someone is a great owner and truly values their pet, it reflects on the final image. It's always a fun time when you're able to talk with people that have similar interests as you and are as excited, if not more, about the project.
So be patient, stay focused, and accept that as hard as it might be, it'll be worth it in the end.