11 Tips to Incorporate Pets into your Engagement Session
Do your want to incorporate your dog or pets into your Engagement Session, next Portrait Session, or Wedding?
1-Bring a third person or trainer to the appointment or event.
Engagement sessions are usually 1 to 2 hours, multiple locations, and involve a few outfit changes. It is not practical to expect a pet to endure all of that. When booking your session, bring a friend or relative that can take the animal with them once you are done with the portraits you want with your pet. Be prepared to change outfits after pet pictures.
2- Plan very carefully for your pet if you are incorporating them into your big day. Weddings take all day. If they are not part of the ceremony, it might be best to have them arranged to be there just for the group and couple pictures. Again, you will need to have someone, not in the wedding party, who is dedicated to taking care of them for you. You will have way too much going on and will not have the adequate time think and care for your pet that day.
3- Preparing your pet for the session.
Take dogs on a nice long walk before the scheduled appointment or the morning of the wedding. This will help with their energy levels and obedience.
4- Take the extra steps to make sure the dog is properly groomed.
5- Props or Outfits
If you are having the dog or pet wear any props or outfits for this appointment, let them try it on multiple times before the day of the appointment. Also, pick out neutral colored leashes, harnesses, and collars if possible.
6-Bring treats and favorite toys.
Anything that can help the photographer to grab the attention of the pet, when needed, is really helpful. Plus, it is important to reward the dog for good behavior and pictures.
7-Pick safe locations.
Think about leash laws, traffic, and all of the possible scenarios. The safety of your pet should always come first. Ask for your photographer’s advice, about locations suggestions, when planning the session. For weddings, check with your venue or church about their pet policy.
8-Make sure your photographer is pet friendly.
Not everyone loves big dogs that jump and lick them. Try to pick a photographer that has some experience with working with animals and their clients. Posing, camera settings, and possible lighting (some animals will not like Flash) can all vary when photographing with animals.
9-Have realistic expectations and patience.
Animals have a mind of their own and ultimately will do as they want to do. Proper training and preparation is extremely helpful, but sometimes even with the best case scenario, the pet might not corporate the way you envisioned. Try not to get frustrated or angry, the pet will feed on the negative energy and the attempts to get a good photo will just go downhill from there. Take a break from photographing with them and then come back to it if possible.
10-Give the photographer time to bond with the animal.
The first 10 sometimes 15 minutes with a pet may have nothing to do with taking photos. It is important for the pet to sniff, play, and check out the new person (photographer) before the photos begin.
And that is it! These are the tips that I give to every client who is planning to incorporate their pets into any session or wedding. Here are two photos of my daughter and our two dogs Blue, and Lucy.
BONUS! 11- This section is just for horses. Make sure you have a horse trainer or owner with you when incorporating horses into the session. It is important to be familiar with the horse that you want to incorporate into the session. They are very large animals and have much more safety rules that apply when around them.