If you know me, you know I LOVE animals and my pets aren’t just my pets – they are my BABIES!! I know so many of my couples feel the same way about their pets and want to include them in their engagement photos! Of course you do. This is an exciting time in your life and your pet is a part of your family, they should be included in the fun! But what if you feel like that might be too stressful for you to deal with when you’re also trying to look fabulous in photos? Or maybe your pet isn’t super friendly or the opposite, is very shy, and you can’t imagine how you’d get any photos of you with them. No matter what, I always ENCOURAGE my Bride’s to bring along the dog! No matter how hyper or crazy or shy your dog is, DO it! I love dogs and no matter how “tricky” it may seem, I always end up feeling like the dog whisperer at engagement sessions because, with my tips, we make some serious magic happen!
Whether it’s one dog, two or even THREE dogs – I’ve always been able to successfully get GREAT photos of my couples and their dogs at engagement sessions! I always provide the same tips for my Brides and today, I’m sharing it with you so you can feel confident long before your engagement session that your dog will be just as photogenic as you! 🙂
1.Bring Toys & TREATS!!
This is the magic word in our house. It’s so magical – we have to spell it out because if we say it, our dogs will FLIP out! Even in a brand new outdoor environment, I always find that treats will do the trick in getting your dog to cooperate! I always encourage my couples to bring treats along and plenty of them. Another tip I have is to bring the GOOD treats. You know, the ones they love but you save for when they’ve been very good. Since it’s a special treat, they’ll behavior ten times better for it and will cooperate 😉 If your dog isn’t into treats, maybe he’s into balls or squeeky toys. WHATEVER the case is… if it’s something your dog loves, just bring it! I will be able to hold the toy in my hand and that’s the way I will automatically get them to look at my camera and voila, you have your perfect family portrait!
2. Be Prepared for the Environment!
Weather is important with dogs! If it’s going to be a hot day, make sure to bring a cooling pad for him to lay on when he’s tired and definitely bring some water for him to sip on! If it’s a little chilly out, bring a sweater for him to wear when he’s not taking photos – or a cute one to wear FOR photos! If your dog isn’t friendly to other dogs and we will be in a crowded environment, make sure you bring the proper leashes and collars you’ll need to restrain him. Most times during engagement sessions though, I keep my couples away from crowds but it’s always good to be prepared!!
3. Share me with their trigger word!
This is my biggest secret to getting dogs to look at my camera. I even do it with my own dogs! lol All dogs have it. The one word that gets them EXCITED and gets their attention. For our Pitbull, that word is BONE. For our Boston Terrier, that sentence is “WHERE’S YOUR BALL?” Whatever it is – if I say their trigger word, THAT is when I get the cute head tilt in photos! I’ve said everything from YOU WANT TO CHEESE? to YOU WANT TO GO SEE GRANDMA? to dogs lol and I’ve gotten some AMAZING reactions from saying it! I also have my clients say it sometimes when I want the really cute photos of the dogs staring at my clients while they kiss 😉
4. Bring a helping hand!
If you have a hyper dog or if you’re bringing two dogs, it’s always smart to bring along a friend or family member to help hold that dog while I photograph just the two of you 🙂 Most times if a dog is chill, I can hold onto his leash while I photograph my couples or we can tie him to a nearby post and get photos of the two of you alone. But if he’ll be a handful or if you have multiple dogs, it’s always best to bring a helping hand along. This is a great thing to do also if you feel that your dog might be a handful during your session and you don’t want to be stressed lol having a friend take the dog on the leash and walk off with him does WONDERS for my couples! lol Trust me, I’ve seen it!
5. Don’t Stress it!!
Dogs are happy creatures who, most of the time, LOVE being in a new setting and love meeting strangers. So of course when you bring them to your engagement session, they’re going to get excited! If I tell your dog to sit and then he automatically gets up and starts sniffing the ground, do NOT let it stress you out. It’s not worth being stressed over! lol There really is no rush in getting your photos and I honestly DO NOT MIND IT!! I have dogs myself, I KNOW they are unpredictable and so if your dog is taking a little bit to cooperate, that’s OKAY!! In fact – that’s NORMAL!! Do NOT get aggravated and do NOT start fighting with your fiance. lol This is a happy time and your engagement session is supposed to be FUN so don’t let it bother you. Trust me – I will not finish until we get fantastic photos of you both AND your pooch! 🙂
I hope this blog post encourages you to bring your dog (or dogs!) to your engagement session! Remember to come prepared and have FUN with it! Oh and the best part? Your dog will be SO EXHAUSTED from having his photo taken, when you get home he will knock out and sleep the rest of the day! I always love getting texts from my Brides thanking me for a fun session – and for tiring the dog out! lol