at home, client tips, families

March 15, 2021

4 Tips for family photos with your dog

Dogs are part of the family, so they should totally be in on the family photos – but these tips for including the dog in your family photos will be helpful to make sure it goes smoothly.


4 Tips for family photos with your dog

1. Carry treats!

Put a handful of treats in your pocket before the shoot to help positively reinforce your pet and better obey when asked to sit, stay, etc. If I know a family is bringing their dog along for an outdoor session, I also try to remember to pack a few treats of my own 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 helper

It always helps to bring along a friend, neighbor, or grandparent who is familiar with the dog if we’re meeting at a location outside the home. This person can easily take him/her on a quick walk or back to the car if needed throughout the session.

This way, you don’t need to be in charge of handling your pet if she gets super riled up and needs a break or we simply want to try to make some photos without her! 

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.

couple with 2 dogs

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, and the same applies to family photos with your dog! 

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. Be free to play!

When including your dog in your family photos, it’s okay to also get active and play with him! Just as play encourages connection with your people, it will help us capture the love you share with your dog, too. Bring a frisbee or tennis ball to toss across the yard (or even into the water if he loves to swim!), do tricks, or cuddle with him on the bed!

Bring on the pups!

Many of my clients have had their pets before they even had their kids, so it’s really special to include them in your family photos. Dogs of any age and size are welcome in your session with me! And if you follow me on instagram, you know that I have a pretty wild one of my own so I’m so stranger to jumping, barking, or aggressive nuzzling.

Hopefully these tips will hopefully help you include your dog in your family photos while keeping things fun and stress-free.

Ready to book your family photos with me (and your dog!) in Charlottesville this year?

Reach out here!

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I won’t ask your kids to smile