Updated: Feb 17, 2021
Are you considering bringing your dog(s) along for your engagement photos? You're thinking why not! You, the love of your life, and your sweet adorable dog. Get all the love in one shot.
I wanted to share some tips for taking the best engagement photos with your dogs.
Having a dog at your photo session can require some extra planning beforehand to ensure everything goes smoothly. Here are a few top tips for how to take engagement photos with your furry loves.
#1 - Groom your pup beforehand
This totally depends on the type of dog that you have and their fur needs. If you’re going to take your dog to a professional groomer, you may want to schedule the appointment for a day or two before your engagement shoot. That way you won’t have as much to worry about on the day of your shoot. Plus, getting groomed can be stressful for dogs or make them extra anxious, which is not the vibe you want for your photos.
You should also plan your pet’s photo shoot outfit (no they don't need pants), the collar and leash you plan to use. The biggest thing to consider is whether your dog’s collar and/or leash will clash with your and your partner's outfits. Make sure all three of you are somewhat color-coordinated.
#2 - Dress appropriately
On a similar note, you’ll want to pick engagement photoshoot outfits that show off your style and allow you to play comfortably with your dog. You probably wouldn't want to wear a super formal outfit, this isn’t the best if you want to run around in the park or get down on the ground with your pup. White is probably a no go.
#3 - Let your photographer know you want to include your dog
This is VERY important. When taking engagement photos with dogs, it’s always best to let your engagement photographer know in advance. Giving the photographer a heads up beforehand allows them to be better prepared for your shoot and plan for dog-specific photos. Plus, your photographer will probably have some great tips on dog-friendly locations, cute photo ideas, and more!
#4 - Choose locations that are dog friendly
My next tip on taking engagement photos with dogs is to choose locations that are dog friendly. You don’t want to waste precious time (and daylight) by going to a location and discovering that it doesn’t allow dogs once you get there is always a sad time.
Some photo locations don’t have any specific rules against dogs but still aren’t necessarily dog-friendly. If your dog barks a lot around people or gets really worked up in busy places, crowded locations with lots of people probably aren’t good spots for your engagement photos. Sometimes more open spaces with fewer people will accommodate your dog's personality better.
#5 - Do activities that your dog loves
It's also helpful to do activities that your dog loves for engagement photos. Going for a walk, fetching a ball, whatever keeps them happy and excited. After all, these are the kinds of things you would do with your dog normally so it’s where your dog will feel most comfortable. This is the sweet spot where we can get some of the cutest, most fun photo opportunities.
#6 - Snuggle time!
Don’t worry, even though engagement photos with dogs are largely about getting those candid, in-action shots, I will also be sure to get some great portrait-style photos of you and your partner cuddling with your dog. Be ready to pet your dog, pick them up, and give a good ear-scratch, if they like that sorta thing. Dogs wear their emotions on their sleeve, so their happiness from your cuddles will be super evident in your engagement photos.
#7 - Consider bringing a dog wrangler
Another good tip for taking engagement photos with dogs is to consider bringing along a dog sitter. Realistically, you aren’t going to want your dog in every single one of your engagement photos. Most couples only spend about 15-30 minutes taking engagement photos with their dogs. This timeframe is about as long as the average dog’s attention span lasts during a photoshoot, anyway.
Your engagement photographer will be busy taking photos, so they probably won’t be able to watch your dog when taking shots of just the two of you. This is why I recommend bringing along a friend to watch your dog during the shoot. After you’re done taking pictures with your dog, your friend will be there to play with your pup while you finish your engagement photos.
#8 - Don't forget to bring some snacks!
They do wonders with some dogs, depending on their personality they will either help the session or not. It's important to know how your dog is and if this would be helpful with getting their attention or the photos or if it'll be a distraction for them the entire time.
#9 - Go with the flow!
Finally, the most important part of taking engagement photos with dogs is to have fun! If your dog isn’t behaving perfectly or gets anxious, that’s okay! The best thing you can do is go with the flow and simply enjoy spending this time with your partner and your dog. Think of it as family time, just with a photographer in tow!
The less pressure you put on yourself and your dog, the better your photos will come out. Also, you never know… sometimes those unexpected goofs make for the most fun and you'll love them the most.
#10 - Be ready for anything
Sometimes dogs are unpredictable and you have to be ready for anything. It's' important to not expect too much from your pup, and we can certainly let them take breaks or stop altogether when they seem to be over it. Not all dogs love the camera. But once they do, be prepared to share that space and potentially be outshined by your pet!
Here are some local Baltimore (and surrounding area) dog spots you can check out for all your doggy photo prep needs.
Wedding Day Dog Care: Furever & Furalways