6 Tips For Including Your Dog in Your Photos

If you’re like me, your furry pals aren’t just pets… they’re family members. I can’t imagine taking any important family photos without Hank & Kelly by my side. Including your dog doesn’t always make for a super-smooth shoot, but these tips should help keep Fido photo-ready!

Dog Running Engagement Photos

1.
Play First, Then Pose

Working with dogs is a lot like working with small children. When they arrive to their photo session, they’re usually excited and have a lot of pent-up energy. By starting your session off with “playtime,” you can get some fun action shots while Fido gets a chance to run off some of that excitement. This also gives your pooch a chance to get familiar with your photographer and realize it’s going to be a fun hour or so. So break out that tennis ball or play some tug of war with his favorite toy while your photographer snaps the fun!

2.
Enlist a Friendly Helper

I strongly encourage my clients to enlist a friend or family member who won’t be in the photos to come along and help during the session. They can stand behind me to get Fido’s attention, or they can help move Fido in and out of shots so that we can get some portraits with as well as without him. If you plan to change clothes during your session, they can also take your pal for a stroll until you’re ready for the next set of photos.

3.
Bring Fido’s Favorite Toys & Treats

My dog Kelly will do anything for a treat, and Hank goes nuts for his tennis ball. If your dog has something he or she loves, bring it with you to your shoot. Treats and toys are great attention-getters and rewards for good behavior.

4.
Don’t Plan a Long Session

Most dogs have short attention spans when it comes to posing for photos. Don’t expect Fido to sit still for a full hour or more. Grab your shots with Fido first and then let your helper take him for stroll while we work without him. Then bring him back near the end of the shoot for a few more poses.

5.
Expect the Unexpected (And Embrace It!)

One of the things I love about my dogs is that I never know what kind of antics they’ll get up to. It’s never boring around my house! Your dog may sit perfectly still and perk those ears up oh-so-adorably. Or he may decide to jump up and lick your face just as I press the shutter button. Those silly outtakes usually end up being my clients’ favorites, so just roll with it and enjoy the memories!

6.
Other Things To Bring

Over-excitement could lead to loose bladders, so don’t forget those baggies. I also recommend bringing some pet-safe wet wipes or a small towel in case Fido gets some muddy feet or decides to lawn surf in the park. Simple leashes and collars look best, and I recommend a non-retractable leash for safety and aesthetics. And if we aren’t in a dog-friendly location with easy access to water, I’d suggest bringing a travel dish and bottle of water especially if it’s summertime.


Ready to book your family portraits, senior session or engagement shoot with your pets? I’d love to work with you!