Let’s face it, our dogs are family members too! As a family and newborn photographer, I often have families who want to include their pets in family photos. I love it and have been photographing dogs for years! Honestly, directing a dog for family photos is a lot like directing a toddler. Here are a 5 tips on how to successfully include your dog in your next family photos.
This one is pretty obvious, but the first step is to make sure your dog is friendly and not aggressive towards other.
I know that sounds a little silly, but occasionally there are people who are afraid of dogs. You can easily see if dogs are included in your photographer’s portfolio and reach out to ask if they are comfortable including your furry family member. The majority of my in-home newborn session include family pets, so it’s easy to see I’m familiar and comfortable including dogs.
Be courteous, and research to find out if your photo location allows dogs. Most locations will require animals to stay on leash, so make it a cute one! Since sometimes bring a dog to a new area can make them rambunctious and curious, a safer option would be to opt to have your photos taken at home! This is where your pet will be most comfortable, and you can put them in a safe place after their portion of the photos are done. This way you don’t have to worry about them while you complete your family session.
If your session is located somewhere other than your home, consider bringing a friend along to manage your dog. After including the dog in a few shots, the dog wrangler can take your dog for a walk keeping him happy while you complete your family session and can focus on your children and having fun.
While we can lead dogs and make noises to catch their attention, we just can’t exactly pose animals. Often times I am able to guide dogs to a good spot and snap my fingers to get their attention. But ultimately, they get to be in charge! I allow them to lead. Instead of expecting a perfectly posed photos with your pet, I advise just expecting to include them in your portraits as part of your backdrop. Their presence is documented and they are happy and won’t feel uncomfortable. Oftentimes, they grow comfortable and end up doing really sweet things that I can capture documentary style!
Molly is a family and newborn photographer in Cumming, Georgia, serving the north Atlanta area.
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Molly specializes in family & newborn photography in Greenville, SC. A former teacher and mother of three, she is known for capturing the joy & love of families. Photo sessions with Molly turn family memories into artwork for your home and for generations to come.