My Favorite Question is, "Should We Bring Our Dog(s)?"
Ummmm, heck yes!! I will find a way to make sure your dog(s) can be included during your engagement photo session. As a dog mom myself, to three rescue dogs, my dogs ARE my family. You shouldn't ever feel bad for asking this question to your photographer. Below, I help list the most important things to consider and plan for when bringing your dog to your engagement photo session and how to prepare.
When you bring your dog(s) to your session, you may need to remain flexible on the location you have your session at. Some locations don't allow dogs at all and while some photographers might let you bend the rules, I don't allow my clients to do this while they have a session with me. Sometimes it takes being creative with a location; maybe that means having photos done from the parking area or alongside the road to get similar views. Other times it means starting at one location and finishing at a second location where your dog(s) is allowed.
Some Helpful Tips to Consider if You Bring Your Dog to Your Engagement Session
While planning your engagement session, you have lots to keep in mind. This list is slightly longer if you plan to bring your dog(s) with you. Please don't fret, I've got a few things you can jot down that you can look back on later!
- Confirm that the location of your session allows dogs. This is probably the #1 most important thing if you plan to bring your pups. In most locations, you can find the information online, or your photographer might already know the answer for you.
- Be prepared, bring some treats and your dog's favorite toy with you. When picking out treats, think of something small that you or the photographer can hide in your hand easily. As for toys, oftentimes a squeaky toy works best, something that makes a louder noise that can bring their attention to the camera.
- Be responsible, bring a leash and waste bags with you. I am a huge supporter of Leave No Trace in my business and make sure we leave a place better than we found it if possible, this includes cleaning up after your pet! Whether we visit an off-leash location or not, I usually recommend that we keep your pet leashed, even if they are friendly. It's a lot easier to have your dog nearby during the session than trying to get them to recall back to us for photo opportunities.
- Bring a helper or friend to contain the dog(s), or just include the dog(s) for part of the session. If you have a friend or helpful dog handler, this is great for keeping the dog(s) entertained while we do the rest of your photos, if you don't plan to have your pet in all of your session. The other option is to leave the pet in your vehicle (ONLY if the weather and temperature permits) during the first or second half of your session.
- Accessorize your pet! No, I'm not talking about a costume! Have your pet wear a cute bandana, a sign around their neck, or even a bowtie for the session. You can often coordinate the leash to match the colors in your outfits if you want! If you haven't checked out Wilderdog, they sell all the dog accessories, take a look for yourself!
Now that you know the most important things to consider if you plan to bring your pet to the session, that should ease some stress off your plate! Last, but not least, relax and have fun. Pets can sometimes be unpredictable, and we can't make them behave 100% of the time. With that in mind, focus on some less posed-like photos, and be sure to have your photographer capture some candid moments with your dog.
My Top Five Prompts to Use with Couples and Their Dog
Love these ideas? Feel free to snag them for your session and ask your photographer to recreate them!
- "Feel how soft your pet's fur is!" Snuggle in real close, put your face on their fur, and hug them tight!
- "Have a cuddle-puddle with your dog(s)!" Lay on the ground and let your pet come to you, they usually start kissing and will lay down on or next to the owner.
- "Ask your dog to give you a kiss." I love this one, the owner's face usually lights up with love!
- "Give your dog ALL the attention!" This one is great for having all the focus on your pet. \
- "Sit next to your pet and look away from me." This a great pose that feels like a real moment. Put your arm around them and take in the view!
Hopefully you and your partner love some of these ideas and want to incorporate them into your session!
Some Engagements Photos With Dogs Inspiration
I've gathered many photos from past sessions where I've had clients bring their dogs. You see a mix of posed and prompt-driven photos, this is key to making the session flow so well. I usually aim to get at least 1-2 good photos of everyone looking and then have my clients focus on engaging with their pup(s). This can include walking your pet, holding a small puppy, loving on your dog, having your dog do their "tricks" to show off for the camera, etc.
Hopefully, you've found this blog post helpful in planning for your session. If you're planning on traveling to NW Montana (Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls) or the Glacier National Park areas and want some photos captured with your furry friend, I am your gal! I've been photographing dogs during sessions for 5+ years and have a few tricks up my sleeve for making the session feel effortless. I will love on your pup like my own and make them feel welcome to be present. Simply submit a contact form on my website a few months before your visit and I can share my pricing and availability with you.
If you like this blog, check out my other dog-friendly blogs to help you plan a trip to NW Montana with your furry friend!