Having two dogs of my own, I understand just how difficult it can be to get our pets to do exactly what we want when we want them to. Having your pooch at your engagement photoshoot shouldn't be seen as this impossible task! I've come up with a few tips to help with incorporating your pet into your engagement photos. These tips and tricks should help make your day run smoothly and get you the most PAWmazing pictures.
1. Take them on a LONG walk beforehand.
There is nothing more challenging then trying to get a dog full of energy to follow basic commands. I know from taking pictures of my own dogs, who are extremely well behaved. If they aren't tired before the photoshoot, it is going to be more challenging to position them in the right places and ask them to follow/maintain basic commands. A photoshoot is a lot of rule following for a pupper. If they don't have as much energy, they are more likely to cooperate with the commands that are given to them.
HOWEVER, you must know your dog and there are exceptions to this tip. If your dog is naturally calm and relaxed by nature or Fido is older, wearing them out may not be the best thing to do before hand. The best thing may be to let them get enough rest so they have enough energy to make it through. As mentioned before, photoshoots can be LONG and it is important to know exactly what kind of exercise your dog may or may not need beforehand.
For The Love of Paws Photography
2. Your pups personality is important.
You know your dog best. Think about how he/she is in large crowds, with other people people around, temperament and can he/she handle following commands for at least 30 minutes. Knowing your dog is one of the biggest things I tell my clients to consider when discussing options for engagement shoots and wedding services. If your dog is terrified of people they don't know, then having an engagement shoot in the middle of downtown Boston probably isn't the best idea for you. If your pup has squirrel ADD like one of mine, then having your engagement shoot in the country may not be the best idea for you. For the portion of the photoshoot involving your fur baby, plan accordingly. Your engagement shoot is not the time to take risks off leash if you never have nor assume your pup will magically ignore critters or start loving strangers. Be safe in location and expectations and we promise your photoshoot will run without a hitch!
3. Plan for your pet to take up about HALF of the photographers time.
This is something I like to tell my clients before their engagement photo session. Dogs can be unpredictable and in order to get the best shot, you have to work WITH THEM. Making sure your pup-a-doodle is in the perfect position and staying there is what takes up the most time. The best way to navigate a photo shoot with dogs is to have someone there whose sole responsibility is directing and managing them. With For the Love of Paws, this usually looks like taking a few shots with the pooch and then taking him or her away from the action for a few pup free shots. Giving the pup a break in between pictures can be extremely beneficial to both you and your pawfect pup.
Allison Kuhn Photography
4. TREATS, TREATS, TREATS!
If there is one thing I know about dogs, it's that most of them LOVE treats. Having treats on you during a photo shoot is a number one thing I remind clients of bringing. If your pup is food motivated and can be easily persuaded by treats, then bring them! Engagement sessions go so much smoother when a dog knows he/she is getting something out of it.
Also, DON'T FORGET YOUR POOP BAGS! There is nothing worse then being outside in the most perfect setting and all of sudden your pup has to do his/her business and there is nothing to pick it up with. Having that feeling "oh crap, now this photographer is going to see that I'm leaving my pets poo on the ground" can really put a damper on the mood of engagement photo's.
Hu McDobbie Photography
5. Get someone to take care of your pup when he/she is not being photographed.
As mentioned before, it is ALWAYS recommended to have someone else at the photoshoot to help take care of your pup when he/she is not being photographed. We personally recommend someone who isn't directly connected to the couple is best. It can be challenging when you ask a family member or friend to help out. If something comes up and your friend is all of a sudden unable to come to the photoshoot; you are now left to deal with your pup on your own. Having an outside person, whose sole responsibility is your pet takes the stress out of having your pet a part of your photos. This helps alleviate having to tie up Fido to a tree or nearby bench while you and your partner get your shots in. No one wants to tie their fur baby up! That can cause more stress and anxiety for all parties involved. Once again, the last thing you want to be feeling during an engagement shoot.
5. Have fun with it!
If you're stressed about getting the perfect pictures, your pup will be too! Dogs have an amazing way of being able to tell what we are feeling. This is what allows them to comfort us when we're sad, calm us when we're having anxiety or feeling stressed and jump around with us when we're happy. They are masters at reading body language and energy. Having a calm and relaxed demeanor will help to make your pup feel the same.
Debs Iveljia via Polka Dot Bride
It is important to remember that as amazing as your pups are, an engagement photoshoot has a lot of moving parts and requires A LOT of good doggie behavior. Making sure that the day runs smoothly takes lots of patience, love and treats. With these 6 tips, I am confident your engagement photos will be simply PAWfect.