June 20, 2019 /
10 Tips for THE BEST Engagement Pictures with your Dog
Who here is a dog lover? You know we’re unapologetically in love with our corgis over here. If you’ve got a pet, odds are they are a BIG part of your life. Like a BIG part. Whether it’s a cat or a dog. Have you ever thought about doing engagement pictures with your dog? Cats don’t often make an appearance in engagement photos, but dogs definitely do. Which we think is pretty fan-freaking-tastic. Because that means we get to meet and love on your dogs too. And that’s pretty much the best thing ever.
We always get so excited when our couples ask if they can have a few photos with their dogs. And secretly a little nervous because we want your pups to LOVE us when they meet us!
It’s not always an easy decision about whether to do engagement pictures with your dog.
And we totally understand, it’s kind of a hard decision. Maybe they’re super hyper, or not the most friendly pup out there. Some dogs get super anxious, or very protective of their owners. Every single dog is different and can react different to cameras and new people.
Over the last 11 years we’ve gotten to meet so many of your fur babies, and we’ve loved every single one of them. But we’ve also learned a lot about how to have THE BEST engagement session with your pup. We always pass our tips and trick along to our couples before their engagement session, and today we’ve decided to share them with you too so that you can feel confident in having your pup in your engagement session.
Oh, and as we go, we’re going to share some of our FAVORITE photos of Chris and Valeria’s sweet, bright summer engagement session with their poodle, Murphy.
10 Tips for THE BEST Engagement Pictures with your Dog
1. Wear them out.
Yep, that’s right. Photos will wear them out even more, but it’s super helpful to take them for a nice long walk, or to the dog park for a good romp before you arrive for photos. Most dogs are much better behaved when they’re tired and aren’t super motivated to explore the new place they’re in.
2. Bring another person along that they LOVE.
You might be thinking, “a third wheel might be awkward…” BUT, hear us out. Chances are your photographer will want to take a few pictures of just the two of you without your pups. Instead of asking the photographer to try to hold on to them and take pictures, or tying them around a tree and hoping they don’t freak out, just ask a friend to come along for about 45 minutes. That way your dogs have someone else they know, love, and trust to help out during your session.
3. Don’t expect them to be perfect.
This is a biggie, friends. Humans aren’t perfect. And we certainly can’t expect our four legged friends to be perfect either. Especially if they’re in a new environment with new humans and smells, lights flashing and shutters clicking. They might get a little wound up and that’s ok. Just take a few minutes to love on them and treat them to get them back on track.
4. Keep them cool.
Hot dogs = big tongues and lots of slobber that you may not want in photos (or on your clothes). Keep those fur babies cool during your session. Stick to photo locations with some shade and grass and avoid those with lots of cement and concrete. And it never hurts to bring them some water too.
5. First location only.
A lot of the photographers we know will visit multiple locations during an engagement session, us included. We always insist that if we’re including your fur babies in your session that we start with them at the first location we visit. Sunset pictures aren’t nearly quite as romantic with a tale wagging against your leg. 🙂
6. Start early.
Yep. We know you probably don’t want to leave work any earlier than you have to. BUT, if you’re planning on including your pup start a good 30-45 minutes earlier than you normally would. This will give you plenty of time for potty breaks, to get used to the new environment, and to run home to drop them off and change clothes before finishing up your session at the perfect golden light/sunset time.
7. Let your photographer get to know your dogs.
We can’t speak for everyone, but we are 110% dog lovers. The first thing we always do during any session with animals is to spend the first 10-15 minutes just getting to know the animal and their personality. We will literally sit on the grass with them, rub their bellies, scratch them, and let them sniff our camera gear and bags so that it all becomes familiar to them. This way, when we start shooting, they feel comfortable with everything and the sounds that goes with them.
8. Fill your photographer in on your commands.
Most dogs know how to sit and stay, which is great. BUT, everyone’s sit commands are a little different. If your photographer doesn’t ask, show them what your pup responds to. It’s so helpful when (as a photographer) you’re part of the club that knows the commands so we can help direct your dog as you two do your own thing too.
9. Bring treats (or their favorite toy).
And all kinds of them. If your pup is used to big Milk bones, break them into smaller pieces so your photographer can stick some in their pocket for the session. Are they very treat motivated? Bring a few different kinds with you. If they’re NOT treat motivated, bring their favorite toy with you. Your photographer can use this to help get your pup’s attention and (just like with the treats) reward them when they’ve done something awesome. (As dog owners ourselves we normally come equipped with treats and poop bags, just in case.)
10. Please bring a leash.
Please, please bring a leash. This might sound like common sense, but we promise it wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t run into circumstances with no leash before. Odds are you’ll be taking engagement pictures with your dog in a public place, with lots of distractions, and potentially traffic. We are just as big of animal/puppy lovers as you are, and we want your pup to be safe and close to us at all times.
Hopefully this helps, friends!! Because, honestly? Engagement pictures with dogs are the best thing ever. And more often than not when our couples include their sweet pups? Those images are their very, very favorites. 🙂
PS – Chris and Valeria – thank you both so much for letting us create your engagement pictures!! We’re so glad you love so many of them and absolutely cannot wait for your wedding day!!
Feel like you’re missing something? Check out Chris and Valeria’s Sneak Peek here.