One of my all-time favorite things is when couples and families decide to include their fur-kids in their photos! I have 3 dogs myself, and rounding all of them up for a photo is no easy task. But I have rounded up some of my best tips and tricks for making this super easy and stress-free!
1. Ask For Help
My first (and very important) tip is to ask a friend or family member to help keep an eye on your pooch, or hold their leash when they’re not in photos. Your dog will naturally want to be by your side at all times, so by having someone else there to walk them around and keep them happy and distracted is key!
If you’re planning on including your dog(s) in photos on your wedding day, first be sure to verify that your venue is pet-friendly! Then, remember that you AND your bridal party are going to be super busy, so you’re definitely going to want to a designated person who doesn’t already have an active wedding-day role to be in charge of handling your dog throughout the day. You’ll also probably want to make arrangements for your pup the night of your wedding, so you don’t have to worry about your dog being left alone all night.
2. Making Your Pup Smile!
When your dog is panting, or has their mouth open, they naturally looks happy and like they’re smiling. The trick to this is taking them for a short walk right before photo time! Definitely bring a bowl and some water for afterwards, especially if it’s warm outside!
3. Get The Excitement Out
A tired dog is a well behaved dog, am I right? One of my best pieces of advice is to exercise your dog well right before photo time. Let them run around and get all of their excitement and energy out right before your session. Also, if you’re having your photos taken at a location other than your home, make sure to show up early to let your dog run around, sniff (and probably pee) on everything first! This will make it 10x easier to get their attention and corporation if they’re already gotten a chance to explore.
4. Bring Treats Or Their Favorite Toy
This is a MUST!! Having something for me to hold and use to get their attention is super important! Squeaky voices and noises only go so far, and by having something to reward your pup with too is great. I always allot a little extra time when pups are involved, just so we can give them a short break here and there to run around and enjoy their toy or a treat after they’ve cooperated for a few shots!
5. Have Realistic Expectations
You know your pup better than anyone, and you know how they react to situations. Especially on wedding days, where there’s a lot of people, noises, smells and everything else, this might not always be a great scenario to put your dog in. For example, I know that my oldest dog, Nikko, gets very stressed out and has a lot of anxiety around large crowds and loud noises, so having him there for my wedding ceremony probably wouldn’t be the best idea for either of us. A better idea might be to have someone bring him during golden hour to get a few shots, while guests are busy and it doesn’t require him to be around a lot of people for a long period of time. I know that you want those magical wedding day photos with your dog, and I certainly want to make sure you get those! Let’s work together and find the best solution that will make both you and your pup happy!
So there you have it! My best tips for including pups on your wedding day or your engagement session! I can’t wait to see you and your fur kids!!