4 Tips for including your dog in your family photos


One of the most common questions I get asked from families before booking is “is it okay if we include our dog?!”

My answer is always 1000% YES!

Many of my clients have had their pets before they even had their kids, so in my book, it just makes sense to include them in the family photos — they’re part of the crew! Sometimes, involving a pet can be a little stressful, though, so here’s 4 tips I’ve learned along the way for how to manage a stress-free family session with your pets, too!

1.Carry treats!

Put a handful of treats in your pocket before your shoot and your pet is way more likely to be focussed or calm when given commands or asked to sit, stay, etc. If I know a family is bringing along their dog, I also try to remember to pack a few treats as well to get on your dogs’ good side (but I’ll always ask before treating to be sure it’s safe for his/her diet, training, etc.).


2.Bring a dog wrangler

If we’re meeting at a location outside the home, it helps to bring along a friend, neighbor, or grandparent who is familiar with the dog and can take him/her off on a walk or back to the car if needed throughout the session. This way, you’re not having to concern yourself with what to do with your pet if she gets super riled up and needs a break or we simply want to try to make some photos without her! Your extra set of hands can be on call to take your pet away and bring him back as needed.

If it’s not possible to convince a helper to come along, just make sure you bring a leash that’s easy to wrap around a nearby tree or pole so we can safely keep your pet aside throughout the shoot as we walk around the location.


3. Choose a private location or stay at-home!

You know I’m a fan of family photos at home for the familiarity they allow with kids – the same applies to pets! Your pet will be most comfortable, less riled up, and easier to manage in his regular environment. It’s also super easy to put the dog in a separate room, his crate, or outside when/if it’s time for some family moments without him.

If home is not an option or preference for you, we can keep the stress-level low by choosing a location that’s private or very rural with lots of open space to run and play.


4. Incorporate a dog-friendly activity

We love encouraging families to include 1-3 activities in their session plan, so when planning to bring along your furry friend, roping them into the activity is a perfect way to foster connection, happiness, and personality from the people in your family and your lovable pet! This could be playing fristbee or tossing a tennis ball across the yard (or even into the water if he loves to swim!), going for a walk, doing tricks, cuddling just cuddling on the bed if that’s something you all enjoy!


Family photos with your dog do not have to be a stressful event. It’s totally possible to include dogs (and cats, too!!) of any age and size into your session and keep things natural, candid, and fun.





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4 Tips for including your dog in your family photos

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