How to Include Your Dog in Your Engagement Photos | PMA Photography

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I'm Amber, a Harry Potter obsessed wedding and brand photographer for those who are anything but ordinary based in Phoenix, Arizona.

When I don't have a camera in my hand, you can find me hiking with my husband, snuggling pups, or planning my next Disney trip.

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How to Include Your Dog in Your Engagement Photos

One stereotype of Millennials I can get on board with is how much we love our pets.  They are a part of our family.  We love spending time with them and include them in our hikes, cafe dates, and trips to our parent’s houses.  So, it totally makes sense that we want to include them in our engagement photos too!  I personally love when I get to meet my couple’s pups and include them in our session.  Here are the tips I give my couples when they want to include doggo in their engagement photos.

Couple pose with their dog at their Anthem Park engagement session by PMA Photography.

 

Talk to Your Photographer

The first thing you need to do is talk to your photographer!  First, you want to make sure they are down with you bringing your pup to your session.  Secondly, bringing your dog to your session may affect the location of your session.  Some locations will be off limits for your pup (example: coffee shops, historic locations, certain trails, etc.).  Or, some locations may be too distracting or dangerous for your pup.  I am thinking of art districts near busy roads, crowded parks, and the like.  So telling your photographer will allow them to help you plan an amazing session that is pup friendly!

 

Bring a Dog Whisperer/Wrangler

Having some adorable pictures of you two and your pup from your engagement session is awesome!  But, one of the main goals of an engagement session is to get some practice in front of the camera before your wedding day.  And, unless your doggo will be attached to you the whole wedding day, it is a good idea to take some photos without them.  

I suggest bringing a third person with you to help by holding your puppers for part of the session.  A friend or family member that your dog is comfortable with works great.  They may also be able to help me get you pups attention in the photos they are in!  I have also had couples schedule a family member to pick up their pup in the middle of the session.  Either way works.  

If you have a small pup, I have been known to attach a leash to my belt loop!  But, I cannot keep an eye on them while looking through my camera.  So, this option really depends on how well behaved your pup is and where your session is (and your photographer’s preference)

Couple pose with their dog for their engagement session in Scottsdale by PMA Photography

 

Treats/Rewards

You know what your pup likes best!  Bring a few of their favorite treats or rewards.  My pups love apples and sweet potato treats.  (Really any food…)  But other pups are not a fan!  I also have one pup obsessed with balls!  So, bringing a tennis ball for her is the ultimate treat/reward!  This is my secret weapon in getting your doggo to look directly into the camera!  So, bring a few treats to your session and your photographer will thank you greatly!

Side Note: Let your photographer know what your pup’s command words and hand motions are so they can communicate with them.  One time I had a session where our mark word (good) was their release word.  So every time the pup would sit, I would tell her good, and she would get up!  So, let your photographer know at the beginning of our session, and we will be golden!

 

Bring Water for your Pup!

Regardless of the time of year, make sure to bring water and a bowl for your pup.  Getting pictures taking is something new and really exciting for them.  So, they can get all worked up and thirsty without us even thinking about it!  And, in my experience, a thirsty puppy is searching for water instead of looking at my camera.  Bringing some water will give them a nice refresh and make them camera ready again!

Couple walking together during their White Tanks anniversary session by Phoenix engagement photographer PMA Photography.

 

Pinterest Inspired Dog Engagement Photos

You know the ones I am talking about.  Those cute photos where your dog is wearing a sign saying something like, “My humans are getting married.”  These are totally adorbs, but something you need to plan out before your session.  First step is getting/making the signs!  The next step is practicing with your pup.  They are probably not used to wearing a sign around their neck, so give it a trial run before your session.  For smaller dogs that are smaller than the sign, you can bring a stand to put next to them with the sign in the photo!

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