If you’ve ever peeked at our For Brides page on our website, you probably noticed that we mention our ideal bride likely follows at least a few dog accounts on Instagram. Why?! It is hilarious to us just how many of our couples are MAJOR dog lovers… and it’s actually one of the things I love most about our business! Luke always laughs at me when we get an email from one of our sweet Caitlin & Luke Brides asking if they can bring their dog to their engagement session, because I can never type “YES!” fast enough! In fact, over one of our busiest weekends of shoots last October, we had four engagement sessions over the course of two to three days, and every couple brought their dog. #bestweekendever 😉 However, after shooting so many engagement sessions and even weddings with dogs involved, we’ve realized that it is really challenging to bring your dog to your engagement session! This is especially the case if they are young, of course, as they have much more energy. So! Since so many of our couples ARE dog people and can’t imagine their engagement session without at least a few images with their fur baby, we wanted to share our top tips for incorporating your dog into your engagement session! The logistics of incorporating your pet into your session should never stop you from bringing him or her along. 🙂 Here we go!
1. Only incorporate your dog at the beginning or the end of your session
It’s so challenging to try to find a simple way to incorporate your dog into your engagement session during the middle of your session! So, we recommend incorporating your dog either right at the beginning or right at the end of the shoot. This way, you guys can relax before or after your pet has been with you and you don’t have to find something for them to do for the other parts of the session! This leads us right into our next tip…
2. Invite a second set of hands
Oh my, is this important! To avoid your dog sitting in the car throughout your entire engagement session (which is a big no-no in the summertime!), we recommend asking a parent or friend to come hang out with your dog instead. Better yet, some of our couples have their friend or parent drop the dog off at the shoot and take him or her back home when that portion fo the shoot is done. This means our couples don’t have to worry about what their dog is doing and can just focus on one another!
This extra person is also super helpful for assisting us in getting the dog to look at our camera while we’re shooting! Typically, we only need about 10 minutes with your dog before 1. we have everything we need and 2. your dog is totally over it, so it’s not a huge commitment, either!
3. Bring rewards and motivation
Any dog owner knows the power of some treats when you want your dog to do something! Don’t be afraid to bribe them a little bit during your shoot… rewarding them after a few pictures and taking a quick break to praise your dog is always helpful. Plus, holding up their favorite treat or toy behind our camera helps them look right at us, which is a bonus! Pack a little bag with whatever you think he or she might need for a successful few minutes of pictures, and you’ll be surprised how much it helps!
4. Invest in an accessory
We love when our brides purchase a cute collar or leash for their dog to wear during their engagement session! A beautiful leather collar and leash are always classy, and we’ve even seen bow ties, flower crowns and the cutest dog collars from places like Etsy. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative and coordinate colors with your outfits, too!
5. Stay calm
This tip is definitely our most important one… above all else, stay calm and don’t stress if your dog is full of energy! We expect that, so don’t let it stress you out. If you are relaxed, your dog will be too. Just keep smiling, cuddle your pet, and try to look at the camera as much as possible! Let your photographer worry about getting your dog to look at us, and the chances of grabbing an image with all three of you looking at us go way up.
Will you be bringing your pup to your engagement session?! Let us know in the comments below! 🙂