Animal lovers–this one’s for you! Nuzzling their way into our hearts and relationships, our pets can become a tremendous part of our lives; you could say even fully-fledged members of the family!
If you’re planning your engagement shoot–you should fill it with things that make you and your fiancé happy, and for a lot of couples–it’s their pup!
Including your dog in your engagement pictures can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it can also be tricky to manage if your dog has trouble sitting still or paying attention.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve got all the tips, tricks, and treats to make your pup feel calm, loved, and included during your photo session!
Engagement Pictures With Dogs: Tips For Pictures With Your Pups
Depending on the personality of your dog, your engagement photos may be filled with calm sits and smiles–or a wiggling like crazy with an unstoppable case of zoomies, kind of vibe.
To prepare for the best (and worst), plan your session ahead of time to ensure your pet is comfortable in front of the camera.
When it comes to selecting a location, some of our favorite dog-friendly settings include parks, downtown scenes, suburban areas/neighborhoods, and even your own backyard!
To ensure your pup is picture-ready, here are some tips to follow to make sure your fur baby has a fun experience and is as photogenic as they can possibly be!
Go For A Walk
The best way to get some of your dog’s energy out before your engagement session? Take them on a walk to get them comfortable with their surroundings!
Encouraging your dog to embrace the scenes and sounds of their new environment can help get even the most nervous of pups acclimated and more easy-going when it comes to posing.
Exercise will also help rid your pup of their restlessness, so going for a walk is a sure-fire way of ensuring they’ll be more willing to pose for pictures!
Do Their Favorite Activity
Fetch, swimming, riding in the car, and doing low-energy tricks are just a few of the things that you can do with your dog to help get them into a playful mood.
Participating in activities that your dog enjoys will further help them relax and connect with you, as well as your photographer.
We suggest this especially if your dog is naturally a little skeptical of strangers and new surroundings. Allowing time for play will only help reinforce the comfortable setting for your dog, and also wear them out a little so they can sit still for pictures easily.
Bring Treats, Toys, Tools, and Water!
If you get cranky or lethargic when you’re dehydrated and hungry, expect no less from your dog.
It may sound obvious but if you’re heavily interacting with your dog through playtime and walks during your session, then it’s especially important to have water handy to make sure your pet feels their best!
Likewise, ALL the treats you can pack will make any pup happy! Rewarding them for listening to you, and allowing your photographer to give them their favorite treats, will help your dog perform better in front of the camera.
Better yet, some shots of you and your fiancé tossing treats to your dog can make for sweet and silly photos that you’ll cherish forever.
If your dog has some toys that they can’t go anywhere without–bring them with you too! Not only will it help soothe them, but a photograph of your pup with their favorite, old, worn-out toy is sure to be an adorable addition to the prints.
On the other hand, surprising your dog by introducing a new toy during the photo session may pique their interest and keep them alert while the camera is clicking away. Choose a toy that’s both colorful and makes a sound to really capture your dog’s attention.
And finally, a few handy yet simple accessories like waste bags and a lint roller will help keep things tidy.
Dress To Impress
Depending on how well trained your dog is, don’t be afraid to ask your photographer to capture some shots of your dog dressed up. If your dog doesn’t mind that is! Make sure to pack a few of your favorite outfits for your session.
If your dog doesn’t like costumes, try adding a colorful, bold collar to add a touch of style!
Protect your Pup’s Privacy
Whether your dog is a sociable being or an introvert, it’s best to pick an area where there’s plenty of space between you and other people and their pets.
Remember, you want your dog to focus on you and your photographer to ensure you get the best possible shots!
Choose a location where there are limited distractions. For example, taking your photos in an empty field by your home will help hold your dog’s attention longer than trying to get them to sit and stay while in the middle of a dog park or a busy downtown setting.
Create Time For Candid Moments
Of course, not every shot should be posed and proper.
Sometimes the perfect photo is captured by simply letting your dog be themselves–derp faces and all. Let your pup’s personality shine through with shots of you playing, running, walking, and petting them.
Almost everyone can agree that most of the time, it’s the non-posed images that reveal the most genuine moments and end up being the most cherished shots out of your entire collection.
So, make sure that you get a couple of shots without the direction of your photographer, and capture the natural moments.
Allow For Breaks
One of the most important tips on our list is to allow your pup a few breaks during your engagement session.
If you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get your dog to sit still for the camera, it’s likely because they’re overstimulated and need a break to relax.
A quick walk, a few pets/scratches, a bowl of water, and a break from hearing the shutter click of the camera will hopefully help soothe your furry friend and make them comfortable enough to continue cooperating.
Ideas For Pictures With Your Pup
Not sure where to start for shot ideas? Luckily, your engagement photographer will probably already have some sweet shots in mind, but there are SO many cute composition ideas for photographs.
To fuel your photo inspiration, here are just a few pose ideas for your pup…
Give Them Lots Of Love
Show how much you love your furry member of the family by picking them up, snuggling them, and showering them with kisses.
Let Them Soak Up The Spotlight
To get some eye-catching, story-telling shots, ask your photographer to get some photos of your dog looking up at you or looking at the camera with you and your partner’s faces out of the frame.
This way, your dog is the sole subject of the photograph, allowing them to still interact with you, but with the attention, solely centered on them.
The Ring Shot
Wanting to get a detail shot of your ring as well as a close-up of your pet?
If they can sit still for long enough, why not try to balance your engagement ring on their nose!
This may not work for all, but it will make for an adorable and dynamic shot if you have a well-trained dog!
Share A Bite To Eat
Planning on eating during your photo session?
Whether you’re planning a picnic, cooking in your kitchen, or visiting the food trucks downtown, give your pup a bite of your food if they tag along!
An action shot of you giving your pet a treat of human food can make for a cute and funny shot.
Whether you’re eating a burger and tossing a fry or two, or channeling your inner “Lady and The Tramp,” share a bite of your food with your dog for more fun, lighthearted photos.
Show Off Your Dog’s Size
A simple shot that makes a statement is placing your dog in settings that help highlight their size.
For example, if you have a teacup chihuahua, try placing your pup on the ground in-between you and your partner. Stand a little bit apart and against a large, solid-colored wall. This way you’ll really be able to tell how petite your pup is!
Likewise, you can do the same with your larger dogs. Whether you have small backgrounds, furniture, or even other small dogs, placing your dog next to something tiny in comparison will make them look comically bigger!
The purpose of your engagement session is to capture you and your partner’s lives/relationship together.
So if you share precious pets with each other, then including them adds more meaning and sentimental value to your session.
However, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, your furry friend should be more than just a prop for your pictures. Taking pictures with your pet should be a wholesome and memorable experience, but so long as your pup is pampered and cared for properly throughout the process.
After all–the best engagement session is one that’s fun for you, your pet, and your engagement photographer!