“Can our dog be in our engagement photos?” Without a doubt, this is one of the most common questions I get about engagement (and portrait) sessions. My answer is always a very enthusiastic YES! I love dogs (we have one of our own), and it’s always the best when your furry family member joins the fun. I love pampering them with lots of pets and treats!
As we plan your shoot, it’s important to prepare for a few extra details. Find out my top tips for bringing your dog to your engagement session below!
Most pups get so excited about being in a new place, especially when you’re doing something fun together! My top tip is to make sure someone comes along to hold the leash throughout the session. Although I’ll take many photos of you + your dog, you’ll want a few with just the two of you. If you don’t have someone, I have to either try to hold the leash while shooting or we have to tie the leash somewhere. Many locations don’t have a spot like that nearby, or your dog may be very upset if they are stuck tied to the sidelines without you. Having someone there will help your dog relax during downtime, and they have the option of walking your dog around or attending to any other needs.
The end result? You’ll be able to focus only on each other, and your dog will have a blast walking around in between photos.
Hearing a squeak or seeing a treat can help me get their attention when I need it, and reward them for doing a good job. Since every dog has their own diet requirements, I recommend bringing your own so you know they’ll enjoy the treat.
Having a streamlined collar and leash allows the focus of the photos to be on you two + your dog, instead of being distracted by a bold collar or complicated leash/harness set-up. Of course, it’s always important to put safety first, so if your dog needs a harness I recommend using one. But it can be helpful to find one in a color that matches your pup, or that has a simple design.
If you know your dog has lots of energy, it can be helpful to go on a walk just before the session. That way, when you arrive, he or she will be a little calmer for the session. If you’re able to come early and get your dog used to the location, that can help as well!
Dogs are welcome 100% of the time at my sessions (as long as that venue/location allows dogs). All I ask is that you let me know ahead of time so I’m prepared! We always need to check since some places do not allow dogs, and we don’t want to be surprised that day.
Why not get your pup all dressed up? A few ideas: floral collars, greenery leashes, bandannas and flower crowns. I’m always happy to refer you to a florist if you’re wondering where to find one! You can also see more ideas here.
Let’s be real: the pups typically control the show! Don’t stress if they’re not perfectly behaved during the session. It’s an exciting, new experience for them, so of course they are going to be a bit more energetic than normal. Sometimes the silly photos end up being the cutest anyway, so try not to stress about your dog posing for the “perfect photo.” It should be a fun experience, and capturing your dog’s personality is one of my favorite parts!