I love it when people incorporate their furry friends into their engagement sessions. It can be a lot of fun! It also can be a lot of work without proper planning.
Here are my top tips for bringing your dog to your engagement pictures:
Groom your dog.
If your dog needs to be trimmed, make sure to have it done at least a week prior to your engagement session. Remember to pre-plan any grooming needs prior to the day of. Also, if you have a drooler, bring some slobber rags with you.
Bring someone to look after the dog.
Have a friend or family member be in charge of your dog so you don’t have to manage during the session. It’s best to bring in the furry friend at the beginning or end of the session. This is especially necessary during warm months where you can’t leave your pet in the car if you are on location.
Practice makes perfect.
Practice standing with your dog and have them sit or pose for lengthy times prior to the session and give rewards. If it’s something your dog has already done and is used to, they will perform better!
If you are going on location to a park or new setting, bring your dog at least 30 minutes prior and walk around so they can get used to the smells and sounds and have a chance to settle from the excitement. All the new distractions can get your dog wound up and it would be hard for them to focus with so many interesting new things going on. Higher energy dogs will need more time to settle.
Accessorize your fur baby.
Bring leashes suitable for your needs at your engagement session. You won’t need the mile-long leash if the dog is going to sit right next to you, but you may need a longer leash for a walking/kissing photo with your dog posed out front. People end up balling longer leashes up in their hands and it’s not very photogenic. It can look a little awkward. Slimmer leashes are easier to edit out if needed. Also, keep in mind the types of collars your pet will be wearing and if the colors will clash with any outside elements or your outfits.
Do a test run of the day.
Any costumes or props should be fitted on the dog prior to the engagement session. Find out beforehand if things aren’t hanging correctly so you have time to make adjustments if necessary.
Reward your pup!
Make sure to bring treats or toys! As photographers, we have to try and get your pup to focus on the camera. Treats and toys are a big help. We stay away from bringing our own treats because we don’t know what a pet will respond to or if they have any food allergies.
It may take longer than you think to have your pal who normally sits pretty for you to behave for the camera. Some dogs don’t care and others may be frightened. Your dog will also feed into your energy so it’s best to stay relaxed and understand how odd it is for them to sit nice and smile for that stranger that keeps following you around.