You want to bring your dog to your engagement session. AWESOME! I’ll be the first one to admit that since we’ve had our dog, Boris, he has participated in all our family photo sessions. Why? Because he’s a part of our family and we just love him so dang much! So if your thinking of incorporating your dog in your upcoming engagement session, here are a few tips that will help you come prepared so you get the best photos possible.
Although I certainly wish I could take my dog with me everywhere, there are many locations that aren’t dog friendly. But this is why doing some research beforehand is important. Learn More about engagement photo locations, just to get a bit of inspiration for your session. Don’t just turn up to a location with the dog, as some places may not allow this. Even if it’s a park where you are 99% sure you can bring your dog, it’s always good to double check. I’ve been in a few situations where we had to quickly change location plans because we found out last minute that animals weren’t allowed, so check that out in advance.
I always tell my couples that if they are thinking about bringing their dog to their engagement session, bring a friend to take care of them when we’ve finished with their portion. Let’s be real, your dog isn’t going to want to be in all 2 hours of your photos, nor would you want them too! Their attention span is too small for that amount of time. So let’s have them in about 10-15 minutes worth of photos, then hand them off to a friend while we finish up the rest of our session. And trust me, you’ll be so much happier knowing that they are walking around and having fun with your friend, rather then sitting in a hot car alone for hours.. safety for our fur babies!
This is such a big one, friends. When your dog is sitting down nicely for photos, they need to be rewarded! Treats or toys can be a huge motivator for them! If I have a treat in my hand, you better believe that dog is sitting nicely and fixated on me until he gets that treat! A few clicks later, I’m happy because I got the shots I wanted, and the dog is happy because he got his treat! The session will definitely go so much smoother with these incentives.
Whether it’s for drool, or just to clean off your dog when they get messy, it’s nice to have a rag available. Our dog is extremely drooly, especially when we are feeding him yummy treats, so we bring a drool rag everywhere we go so that his face and our clothes stay clean. At our last family session with Boris, we were at a dry lake bed and he kept wanting to stick his face in the cool sand. He was a dirty mess. I’m so glad we brought a rag to wipe down his face when we could. Not that he cooperated though.. many of our pictures had a drooly, sandy dog in them, but hey! That’s real life Boris for ya ;)
Obvious, I know. But same with photographing children, dogs can be crazy and uncooperative sometimes. Just know that he probably isn’t going to be looking at the camera for all the photos, and that’s totally ok! He’s going to be his normal dog self and everyone involved needs to just have patience with him. I’m a huge fan of the show Dog Whisperer, and I whole-heartedly believe that our animals sense when we are uncomfortable, scared, or nervous and that plays a huge part in how our dogs are going to react to new situations, like getting their picture taken by a stranger. So be calm, have patience, and everything else will work itself out!
I hope these tips will help you during your engagement session or any future photo session you have with your dog! It pays to be prepared so don’t forget to make sure the location allows dogs, bring a friend to look after them, bring lots of treats, a drool rag for mess clean up, and stay calm and patient. I promise that if you follow these tips, you’ll have a happy dog during your session. A happy dog often results in an obedient dog too, so you should be able to get some beautiful pictures when your dog is behaving and listening to you. Hopefully, these tips will help you to get those sorts of pictures!
Comment below with any other tips that have helped your animals, or tips you give your clients who want to bring animals to photo sessions! I’d love to hear them!
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