Incorporating Pets into Your Photography Session

August 31, 2018
Incorporating dogs into engagement photos

“Can we bring our dog to our engagement/portrait/family session?” I get this question a lot from clients, and the answer 99% of the time is YES! Here are a few helpful tips to know about incorporating your furry friends into our photography session:

Get a cute collar/harness and leash!

Utility harnesses and retractable leashes have their uses, but since you and your partner are dressing up for your session, why not use this as an opportunity to buy that bow tie you’ve been eyeing for Fido? One of my favorite Etsy shops that sells cute dog gear is LearnedStitchworks. I’ve been purchasing Nugget’s bow tie and harnesses from Karen for years. A simple, thin leather leash or nylon leash in a neutral color works well to hide or disguise in pictures as well. Want to go all out? Consider asking your florist to make Fido a floral garland! Just be sure they use pet-friendly flowers in case some get ingested. While your at it, a trim at the groomers if that’s part of their usual maintenance routine is not a bad idea. How dapper is Sawyer in his bow tie and handkerchief in Jon and Carina’s engagement session?

Incorporating dogs into engagement session

Bring a friend or family member

With all sessions that involve your fur-babies, I ask that my clients bring a friend or family member along to hold onto Fido when he/she is not in pictures. Dogs have shorter attention spans, so it’s very helpful to have someone there to provide extra hands and distract Fido when needed. Which brings me to my next two points…

Incorporating dogs into engagement session

Treats! Lots of them!

I may ask your friend or family member to stand behind me and hold a treat over my head as I shoot so that we can try to get the dog to look at the camera. No worries if your fur baby doesn’t look at the camera though- candids are equally adorable. I mean, how cute is it when Fido slobbers on your face with doggy kisses!? Not so much? Oh well, I tried. PS- Isn’t Cookie such a HAM? The cutest!

Incorporating dogs into engagement session

Your dog doesn’t need to stay the entire time

Depending on your session location, it may make more sense to have your friend or family member just pop in for 20 minutes or so with the dog, and then bring your pet home afterwards. Especially in the summer, it’s more comfortable for everyone and we ensure that nobody gets dehydrated from the heat.

Consider an in-home lifestyle session 

Some animals are not comfortable outside of their “territory” or in new, unfamiliar places with strangers. This is perfectly fine, and we shouldn’t push your fur baby outside of his/her comfort zone for your photo session. Consider an in-home lifestyle session, where your dog is able to come and go as it pleases in the comfort of his/her home. Not sure what it might look like? Check out Murphy in his human brother’s in home lifestyle newborn session, or Alister with his furry nannies!

I know I mention dogs a lot in this post, but only because I haven’t had anyone ask me to do a session with their cat yet! Finally, you know I couldn’t end this post without sharing a picture of Nugget, right? Here he is on our wedding day (clearly thrilled)- photo by the fabulous Julie Lim. Isn’t he handsome? Sometimes Darren and I lay in bed just staring at him and wonder how we ended up with such an adorable companion. If this is you and your significant other, I am the photographer for you 🙂