Paper Hat Pet Portrait Sessions



Looking for something a little different? Or maybe a bit more creative?

Our signature paper hats turn regular pet portraits into truly one-of-a-kind creations.

Every paper hat is handmade by our lead pet photographer and studio founder, J.B. Shepard, from post consumer paper products – including old newspapers, beer boxes, paper plates and junk mail.

The unique coloration and design patterns decorating the hats is composed entirely from careful placement of different color slips of paper. Meaning, once assembled these hats are not dyed or painted, resulting in a vibrant texture and spontaneous pattering that is truly like nothing else.

This time intensive process requires 3 to 5 days on average (depending on complexity and size) for assembly and drying before the pieces are ready to be worn and photographed.

Portrait of a bully breed dog wearing an Elizabethan style ruff colla


Puptrait Studio paper hats are purposely not secured or strapped down in any way. Our paper hats are not intended to worn by dogs for an extended period of time and in most instances, they’re not appropriate for video work. They are designed exclusively for still photography captured in a studio environment and are intended to be worn for only seconds at a time. And, there is a good reason for this.

We realized while experimenting during our first paper hats series that if a hat is strapped to or secured on a dog, that was exactly what would be captured on camera – a hat strapped to a dog.

The thing about dogs is that they are naturally inclined to engage with humans, often passively or in a reactionary way. That’s why in most photos of dogs, if they’re looking at a camera they give you the same universally bored waiting for a command or to receive a treat look. But if you place a hat on a dog and leave it unsecured, the dog will interact with the hat instead.

This active engagement lends dogs agency during portrait sessions. Allowing the camera an intimate glance into the dog’s true personality and the hat a chance to rest at jaunty or stylish angle.


Our private pet portrait clients are free to choose from our ready selection of paper hats, crowns, and collars – and may use these pre-made costume pieces in their Puptrait Studio session at no additional charge. Our ready made collection of paper hats are available exclusively for use in studio and contain a variety of unique designs, patterns and sizes that are regularly updated as new hats are created or retired.

Clients looking for a specific look or specialized design for their dog portrait session are encouraged to commission a custom designed piece.

To order a custom designed paper hat please call our studio (443.604.0711) prior to or shortly after booking your session to discuss your project and any additional costs. Our studio charges $75 an hour for design, material harvesting, and assembly of custom made paper hats. However, like our sitting fees, these additional design charges and fees may be credited to your first print order if certain criteria are met, the details of which will be discussed when you call the studio to place your custom order.

Please note that we require a minimum of one week from booking to scheduled session date for custom paper hat commissions. More sophisticated designs or custom projects that require specific or unique materials to be completed may require additional notice to be accommodated.

Portrait of a cute dog wearing a flatback Orioles hat


Studio sessions are now sitting fee FREE with minimum print order commitment. View availability and book online using the scheduling widget located below.