Capturing family photos is a special way to make memories.
Getting everything organized and ensuring everyone is in the right spirits can be a challenge.
Add in your furry family members, and you’re in for a fun experience.
If you can’t imagine a family photo session without your dog, you’re not alone.
Here are seven tips for including your pet in your family pictures.
Practice Ahead of Time
Before you head to your photoshoot, get online, and look at some poses for inspiration.
Then, take your dog out and practice to see how feasible your efforts are going to be.
Unless you photograph your dog regularly, this will likely be a new or unusual experience for them.
They may not understand what’s going on or what’s expected of them during the session.
Practicing your poses and taking a few snapshots with your phone can help you and your pet get prepared for the big day.
It will also help you minimize the time you’re expected to hold a pose by providing an opportunity to rehearse ahead of time.
Once you choose a photographer, consider scheduling a mini session with your pet.
Consider this your dress rehearsal for the big day.
This experience will give you an opportunity to evaluate what works and what doesn’t when trying to encourage your pet to pose.
Additionally, it will create a sense of familiarity with the photographer so that your dog will be more comfortable during the photo shoot with the rest of the family.
Schedule the Right Time of Day
When you schedule a photo session, timing is everything.
It’s like planning a photoshoot with children— you want to work around nap times and get them when they’re well-fed and content.
If your photo shoot is scheduled during a time when your dog is wired and excited, it may be less likely to listen to cues.
Avoiding the times when you usually go for a walk or feed your pet is ideal when doing a photo session.
If your options are limited, schedule a bit of time ahead of your shoot to give your dog a snack to hold them over or take them for a quick walk.
Scheduling the right time may go hand-in-hand with choosing a location.
If you opt for a public area, you’ll also need to consider high-traffic periods that could impact your session.
Choose the Right Location
Location is everything when it comes to family photo sessions.
You’ll want to choose a place that looks amazing but also sets the tone for your images.
When you have a dog in the photos, this can get a little more complex.
The first thing to consider is if your dog is allowed in the location you’ve chosen.
There are some parks and trails where having a dog off-leash is prohibited.
You need to be respectful of the rules and other people in public areas when choosing your setting.
Additionally, if you’re picking a busy place, you’ll have to move around and accommodate other people while vying for your dog’s attention.
Another key consideration when choosing a location is your dog’s comfort and habits.
If your dog can’t resist the siren’s call of a beautiful lake, choose a background that will be less tempting.
Additionally, if your dog is scared of the sound of trains, taking photos near the tracks isn’t an ideal location.
Get Them Coordinated
When booking family photos, wardrobe selection is often a long process.
In addition to planning your outfit and how you’ll present your family during your session, consider your dog as well.
It might be helpful to schedule a trip to the groomer’s earlier that day for a bath and a trim.
You can also coordinate your pet with a few well-chosen accessories.
Adding a bandana that matches your family’s color-scheme can help add cohesion in your photos.
For fall or winter photos, you can even add a cute dog sweater!
Use Bribery as Needed
There’s no shame in bribing your dog with treats or toys during your photoshoot.
For the record, there’s no shame in bribing your kids or husband either.
Grab a few treats and toys from Pet Life to reward your dog for his or her cooperation.
This is also a fun way to get some action shots and smiles from everyone in the picture.
If you bring your dog’s favorite toy to the session, wait until the perfect moment to bring it out.
Otherwise, they won’t be able to think about anything else, commands included.
Be Positive, Light, and Full of Praise
If there’s one thing that dogs love even more than treats, it’s making their human happy.
Rather than focusing on what your dog should be doing or does wrong, be over-the-moon praiseful when they do something right.
Listening to a command and sitting still for a portrait is worthy of all the love and pats you can bestow.
Not only will keeping a positive tone help your dog stay in good spirits, but it will also translate into your photos.
That joy will be contagious and make for some fantastic candid shots during your session.
Manage Your Expectations
The most important tip for including your dog in your photoshoot is to manage expectations— namely, your own.
You may not get the perfectly posed shot that you had saved from Pinterest.
The photoshoot might turn into full-blown chaos.
Just relax, have fun, and enjoy this special moment.
The best way to get great results (even if they’re not what you expected) is to work with a photographer who has pet experience.
They’re better able to capture those fleeting moments and know how to work with animals while keeping calm.
As dogs tend to be more active, having a photographer who knows how to get high-quality action shots is also worthwhile.
With these seven tips, you can get family photos that include everybody.
Relax, have fun, and enjoy the memories of the family pictures with your dog.