How to Include Your Dog in Your Engagement Portraits

Have a pup? Want to include them in your engagement photos? You’re not alone!

We have many clients who have included their dogs in their engagement photos. So we thought we’d give you the inside scoop on what an engagement session with your dog along looks like!

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Preparing for your Engagement Session

For more preparation help, check out our engagement session preparation post! That post covers more tips for what outfit to wear for your engagement session, color palate inspiration for your engagement session outfits, how to select a location for your engagement photos, and so much more.

Outfits

Keep in mind that you may be moving extra during your session when including your dog! We suggest not choosing a super short skirt or dress, however we can accommodate to whatever you select. Also consider the color of your dog’s fur! If you’re set on wearing black but your dog has white fur, bring a lint roller for outfit touch ups!

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Locations

Make sure the location that is selected is dog-friendly. We typically try to pick parks that may not have as many people or a lot of distractions so that your dog can be as focused as possible! We can also visit the location before the session to find an ideal time with less foot traffic to help your dog stay more focused. Nervous about having your dog out and about? We can also talk about doing your portraits at your home! An in-home session can help you and your pup feel comfortable and at ease from the very start. This is also our recommendation if you want to include other furry friends!

During your Engagement Session

Bring along another person!

This is our number one, must happen tip for bringing your dog along to your engagement session. While we’d love to say your dog will do so well that they are in every photo, that’s unfortunately not realistic. Bring along another person to hold onto your dog’s leash while we do some photos without them.

Posing

While most of your engagement session is free-flowing and natural, typically time surrounding your dog is pretty straightforward and more directed. We have a pretty standard set of poses: kneel down or pick up your dog (depending on size), kiss your pup, walk with your dog. These poses vary based on the size, training of your dog, and temperament during the session.

Anticipate that something may go wrong!

Your dog may be a saint at home. But getting photos taken can often be new territory. There are a lot of unpredictable factors within an engagement session. Sometimes your dog just isn’t feeling it. Or sometimes there’s a squirrel. Either way, we’ll grab as many photos as we can! These funny photos are some of our favorites from photos with dogs! Why not add a little humor into your session!!

Session Flow

Typically, we either start the session or end the session with your dog. If you have a preference, let us know when we are in the planning stages of your engagement session! Once pup is ready to go, we start with for a walk! Sometimes, they don’t always cooperate the first time, so it may mean walking through one area a few times to make sure we get the perfect photo! This tends to get the dog familiar with us and the shutter sound. From there, we transition to some of the poses and will continue to other areas as able. We’ve refined our process with your dog so that it can be rather quick!

Ultimately, just have fun! Every pup is different, so sometimes certain things don’t work - and that’s okay! Embrace your dog’s personality - they will certainly show off if you let them!