I'm often asked if it's okay for a couple to bring their dogs (or rarely cats) to an engagement session. The answer is always I would be sad if you DIDN'T include your pet. It's not always an easy process, so here are 5 tips when including pets in photos.
1. Bring a Handler
One of the most important parts of including your fur baby is making sure there is also someone there to watch them when they are not actively in pictures. Your pet will only be in a few pictures, so it's most ideal if the handler is comfortable with them and can either walk them or bring them home after their part of the session is over. Dogs don't want to wait around for you, so there will be extra distractions if you plan to keep them around for the entire session.
The handler will also be helpful when it comes to getting the pet's attention, especially if it is someone who has spent quality time around your pet.
2. Bring Favorite Treats/Toys
This is often forgotten, but one of the most important parts of keeping your pet's attention. I'll have the handler wave the treat or toy above my head in order to get a few looking at the camera shots. Treats are great to reward your pet with good behavior after a few painful seconds of sitting still.
3. Bring a custom-made collar
Nothing is uglier than a boring leash or normal collar. Have some fun with the design. I love seeing "my humans are getting married" signs. These also work wonderfully as save-the-date photos if you are able to create something with your wedding date on it!
4. Choose a location with fewer crowds
With a nervous or excited dog, it's best to choose a place with minimal distractions. Large parks are wonderful places where more urban locations might overstimulate your pet. We want them to be as calm as possible, so it's best to choose a location where they won't want to explore every corner.
5. Choose a familiar location
Along the same lines, it helps to choose a location they are already familiar with. This could be as simple as your house or a park you walk at. They'll already be comfortable in the surroundings, so it'll create more normal and less anxious images.
There you have 5 tips when including your pets in photos! We always want them to be as comfortable as possible, so follow these tips for a seamless experience!
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