Including Your Dog in Your Photo Shoot

More and more people want to include their four legged family members in their photo sessions these days (and I'm here for it!).

I'm a huge animal lover - I currently have a cat and a 105lbs Rottweiler (so I'm very comfortable around dogs of all sizes and every levels). Throughout my life I've had more pets than I can count...everything from hedgehogs to horses!

There are definitely a few things to keep in mind if you're interested in including your animal pals in your family photos. Here's a list of tips for making the most of including your pet in your photo shoot!

Consider location

Not all outdoor locations are dog friendly. Please make sure you let me know that you'll be bringing your dog so we can choose an appropriate spot.

Keep their part of your session short

Dogs can become restless, bored and distracted during a long photo shoot...they want to explore and run and sniff things which can, in turn, make it challenging for you to focus on special moments with your human kiddos! I've found it works best to include your dog in the first 10-15 minutes of your shoot, and then spend the rest of the time focusing on the human members of your family.

I strongly recommend bringing along a friend who can act as a handler, someone who can take your dog for a walk once we've got the shots that we need. It's best if they're able to leave the area as I've found many dogs will bark and fuss if they can still see their family running around and having fun without them!

For quieter/older dogs you may be able to simply bring a long leash (as well as your standard walking leash) and tie them out of the way while we take some photos without them, which leads me to my next tip...

Consider your dog's temperament

Some dogs are very laid back and quiet, while others are more wild and boisterous!

If your dog is going to get very excited every time they see a person or other dog we should make sure to choose a quieter location for your shoot. It can also mean that your full family photos may not be as organized as they would otherwise be (as a rambunctious pup can be hard to keep still for a photo!).

An older/more laid back dog may be easier to include in your full outdoor shoot (as long as they're mobile enough to keep up!).

Please remember that not every dog will do well at a family photo shoot. Some dogs are anxious or nervous, some dogs don't like other animals, some dogs don't like strangers. While I 100% understand that everyone wants photos with their dog, it's important to make sure your dog will have an enjoyable experience as well!

Consider photos at home

If you want your dog (or other pets!) to be including in your full shoot, your home would be the best place to do so!

Your dog will be most relaxed at home, and they'll be able to interact with your family in a natural way without the distraction of a new location.

Bring treats and/or a toy

Bring lots of tasty treats and fun toys to help keep them focused and engaged in the shoot. We want to make the photos a fun and positive experience for your dog!

Dress them up

Make sure your dog's collar and leash are in good shape and match everyone else's attire. You don't want a ratty old leash ruining your photos!

Multiple dogs

If you have multiple dogs, please consider how you'll handle them while also managing your children for these photos! Can one adult walk all of your dogs while the other will be able to carry/care for your children solo?

Elderly and small dogs

If your dog is elderly or small please consider their mobility and temperature tolerance when it comes to choosing a location/choosing to include them in your shoot.