Hey, dog people! Yes, you. I envy you so much. I had a dog growing up and he was my best pal. He slept at my bedside every night and playing outside with him was my favourite thing. But having a dog of our own at this point in our lives is just not in the cards. Mostly because Tim thinks he’ll be the one to walk him, feed him, pick up his poop…and well, he’s probably right. Life with two kids is busy enough…I just wouldn’t be able to give a dog the love they deserve.
I love when clients ask if they can include their dog in their engagement photos! Just as important as anyone else in your family, your dog should be celebrated too! It’s always a good idea to let your photographer know ahead of time that you’re planning to bring along your fur baby. You’ll want to chat logistics with them ahead of time and make sure you choose a location that not only permits dogs, but that your dog will love to explore.
That said, here are some tips if you’re planning to bring your pooch along for a few photos.
1. Don’t stress
Dogs, like children, are not always on their best behaviour. Especially if we’re meeting in a park or somewhere unfamiliar to them, they’ll want to explore…on their own terms. When it comes to photographing dogs, I love to just go with the flow and let them run the show. Capturing those candid moments of the three of you make your photos more authentic and less posed. Keep your stress levels down and your energy levels up. Cause you know you’ll be chasing after them.
2. Arrive early
Give your dog a chance to get acquainted with their new digs. Arrive to your engagement session 10-20 minutes early and go for a walk. You know your pooch will want to sniff out the new sights so allow them some extra time to explore before we get started. And hopefully tucker them out a bit.
3. Bring a dog-sitter
Whether a family member or a friend, bring someone along who can take your dog for a walk after we’ve taken a few photos with them. Once we’ve snapped a few keepers with your dog in tow, it will be equally as important to have someone else around to wrangle him or her when it’s time for photos of just the two of you. The last thing you’ll want is to stress about tying them to a nearby tree or wondering where they’ve ran off to.
4. Bring a few treats
Just like photographing children, it’s a good idea to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Some bribes, the promise of a treat or two if you behave, and something I can dangle behind my camera for a few smiles. Squeaky toys welcome!
5. Clean up the leash
If you normally walk the dog with a bright, yellow leash with a poop bag dispenser attached to it, it might be a good idea to consider a new leash and/or collar. Borrow one, buy and return one (if you can get the hair off of it) or go off leash if your dog is well behaved and the location will allow it. There’s nothing worse than having the cutest, colour coordinated outfits only to have the leash clash and stand out in all of the photos.
6. Bring a lint roller
If your dog is a shedder, consider throwing a lint roller into your bag for a quick clean up after we’ve taken photos with your fur baby. My photoshop skills are good, but not if you’re covered in dog hair.
It’s not always possible to bring your dog along on your wedding day, so having them be part of your engagement session is the next best thing. Lets chat logistics if you’re thinking of having your dog in a few of your engagement photos! xoxo