Engagement Photos With Your Dogs

5 Tips for Including Dogs in Your Engagement Photo Shoot

Over the years I have shot dozens of engagement photos with all kinds of dogs. Little dogs, Big dogs,  lazy dogs, hyper dogs,  – I have worked with them all! Thinking about including dogs in your engagement photo shoot? Let’s talk about the best way to do it!

The first thing I do after a couple books me for their wedding is talk about setting up an engagement shoot. Engagements shoots are a great opportunity for us to get to know each other better… so it’s only natural to include your furry family member! Here is a bit of what I have learned from doing photo shoots with dogs!

Including Dogs in Your Engagement Photo ShootDon’t leave home without:

  • a leash
  • poop bags
  • treats
  • a toy or two (squeaky/ball/etc)
  • realistic expectations
  • an extra person to lend a hand

And now for the tips!

1. Tucker them out beforehand

If your dog tends to be full with energy, it’s a great idea to make sure they’ve had plenty of time to run and get exhausted before we meet for the shoot. Sometimes I work with older dogs or dogs who are naturally relaxed, so in that case, be careful not to wear them out TOO much! You know your dog best, so plan in advance for his or her energy level.

Including Dogs in Your Engagement Photo Shoot

2. Plan for incorporating your dogs in half of the shoot

Plan to include your furry friends in half of the shoot (at the most). Which half is dependent on a few different things. Sometimes it works best to shoot in a more casual outfit with your dogs, then you can change and leave them with your trusted friend.  Other times it works best to do the first half of your engagement shoot and then have someone bring your dog to meet us for the 2nd half. I can help you iron out the details, but ultimately it works best to only worry about including your dog for half of our time together…Otherwise we spend a lot of time tying your pup’s leash to trees, which isn’t always easy or fun for anyone.

3. Keep your dog’s personality in mind

If your dog is skittish around strangers and more of a homebody, then it’s not a good idea to try to take them into a busy city scenario for your portraits. We don’t want to stress them out! Consider the circumstances in which your dog is on his/her best behavior. Keep in mind that if we choose to shoot at places that cater to dogs (like a dog park) will most likely run into other dogs.

Including Dogs in Your Engagement Photo Shoot

4. Treats and toys

Both toys and treats are a great way for me to get the attention of your pups, especially when there’s more than one dog. A squeaky toy can be super effective. And if you have any other toys that your dog loves (a ball, frisbee, etc), bring those along too!

5. Have patience

I like to take a minute or two when I first meet your dog and let him sniff me and get to know me. So I may spend a little time bonding with your dog at first- once they seem calm and ready to go, we can get some great photos of them in no time. And most people end up loving the more candid, in-between photos featuring their dogs anyway – so just go with the flow and I promise we’ll get great photos!

Thank you for reading my 5 Tips for Including Dogs in Your Engagement Photo Shoot! For more tips for couples click here!
I want this post to be as helpful as possible, so please feel free to chime in if you have any other suggestions for including your dog in an engagement shoot!