engaged couple cuddling and kissing their dog during engagement photoshoot

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My answer to the question, “should I bring my dog to the photoshoot?!”, is always going to be ABSOLUTELY!!! (And not just because I love any and all furry friends) Below I am going to be sharing my Top 5 Tips to have the best possible photoshoots with your dog!

If you are going to get all dressed up and invest in your portraits.. why not bring the whole family! I love capturing the hilarious, and snuggly personalities of your pups… even when that means lying on the ground, covered in dog fur with a giant tongue coming at my camera! DOGS WILL BE DOGS! Photoshoots with dogs are so fun, but they can also be a lot of work!

Bringing a pup along to a photoshoot definitely requires advanced planning… do they get weary of new locations, get rambunctious after dinner. . .or easily distracted by new smells and screaming children… All of these factors should help you determine how to prepare and pick a location that fits their personality!

Dogs make the perfect addition to your engagement, wedding or family portraits, but there are a few secrets to making these work like magic!

I have photographed dozens of dogs and their humans and I wanted to share my TOP 5 tips for capturing your furry friend on camera!

engaged couple cuddling and kissing their dog during engagement photoshoot engaged couple posing together while dog sits at their feet engaged couple cuddling and kissing their dog during engagement photoshoot

Tip #1: Know Their Personality

You know your dog better than anyone, and this process is most likely completely new to them! Unless your dog is an Instagram star, they probably don’t understand how to sit still for the camera. I know that you might envision that perfectly posed Labrador sitting stoically in front of you while you’re kissing your partner for your save the date… But if your dog doesn’t act like this on a normal day, you can’t expect him to suddenly gain composure with the distraction of a camera!

Your photoshoot destination will most likely be a BRAND NEW location for your pup, full of new smells and oh so many squirrels! Try arriving early to let your dog explore around, drain their energy, before we try to make them smile pretty for the camera, make sure you don’t let your dog off their leash unless you are 100% sure he is trained to stay close by! TRUST ME, I wish so badly that my dog Dobe had a bit more self-control to be interested in me rather than the weird shaped leaf he just saw blow in the wind. But I know we would spend at least an hour chasing my hound dog trying to get him back in place. So do not worry about using a leash! If you are worried it won’t look attractive in the photos you can try getting a neutral color or matching leash and collar for a more polished look!

engaged couple cuddling and kissing their dog during engagement photoshoot engaged couple cuddling and kissing their dog during engagement photoshoot engaged couple kissing while dog sits at their feet and looks right at the camera engaged couple cuddling and kissing their dog during engagement photoshoot engaged couple kissing while dog sits at their feet and looks away from the camera

Tip #2: Make it the Best Day Ever

Photoshoot day should be just as exciting for your dog as it is for you! They should be just as excited as when they get that dog friendly peanut butter cake on their birthday!

Bring their favorite treats, or some crushed up bacon, anything you know they will work really hard to get! If you dog is very food motivated you can hold off on breakfast or dinner until after your session, so he is beyond excited to cooperate for some treats.

Although we have some time constraints and will want your portrait session to take place during golden hour in the morning or evening, you can work with your dogs feeding schedule for the best outcome!

engaged couple cuddling and kissing their dog during engagement photoshoot engaged couple playing with dog while they sit on a blanket in the park for their engagement photoshoot engaged couple cuddling and kissing their dog during engagement photoshoot engaged couple cuddling and kissing their dog during engagement photoshoot

Tip #3: Bring Backup

This is my favorite tip, and makes such a huge difference on how efficiently these portrait sessions can go!

Always bring a friend to help! They are the master of the squeaky toy, and can help fix your hair or outfit, once we’ve finally got your pup perfectly in place. It’s almost impossible for me to hold the camera, click the trigger, and keep a treat above my head before your puppy jumps out of position. Your bestie, parent, or sibling is the perfect addition to your session and can also be the dog handler while we take some 1 on 1 portraits! I can guarantee you that your friend will feel honored that you have asked them to be a part of this special process and will be more than happy to help out!

Wedding party posing with the family dog on the wedding day bride groom and flowergirl celebrate their wedding day with the family dog bride and groom celebrate their wedding day with the family dog

Tip #4: Let Them Be Dogs

Your dog doesn’t understand that we only have a few hours of sunlight, or that my camera is not a new toy. This is why we will allow extra time to let them roll in the dirt, steal the pumpkin props and let them be themselves! Grab a ball or their favorite treat, give them puppy kisses, and laugh through the awkward feeling of being photographed for the first time! These are the easiest photos to take and my favorite way to start your session.

We will want to allow extra time for this warm up period, about 15-30 minutes to help tire them out in time for some snuggly sunset shots!

engaged couple cuddling and kissing their dog during engagement photoshoot engaged couple posing with their dog during engagement photoshoot

Tip #5: Be Patient

I could photograph these fur-balls all day, but this session is really about you! I like to start with your pup photos at the beginning of your session as a warm up, with tons of candids and just letting them be themselves before we try to get them to sit and stay!

Then we will focus on just the couple, we can always add your pup for more photos throughout! Regardless of their energy level or enthusiasm for posing in front of the camera, we are sure to capture their true spirit even if they result in adorable outtakes! NO MATTER WHAT. . . do not get discouraged!

engaged couple cuddling and kissing their dog during engagement photoshoot engaged couple cuddling and kissing their dog during engagement photoshoot engaged couple cuddling and kissing their dog during engagement photoshoot

Our pets are such a gift and constant companion, they do not understand what a camera is or how to be anything other than a dog. So let them chase squirrels, eat pumpkins and dig in the dirt and I promise we will capture their true spirit on film!

I would love to chat more and help you bring your photoshoot vision and dreams to life!

Head to my site to get some more information and to submit an inquiry. 

Looking for a cute dog collar or leash to incorporate into your shoot? HERE is one of my favorite Etsy shops to find some great doggie accessories to bring to your photoshoot with your dog!

Top 5 tips for bringing your dog to your photoshoot

Aug 11, 2021

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hey friends!

I'm Heather, a Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer serving Central Virginia & Beyond! I love sharing beautiful love stories, inspiring wedding details, and practical tips for a stress free wedding!

recent posts

wedding tips

Real couples

personal

Catagories

Join the newsletter