One question I am frequently asked is - may I include my dog(s) in my session?
The answer - of COURSE!!! I know how much our furry friends truly become part of our families. I grew up with dogs, and was blessed with a canine companion for a few years of my adult life. Since losing her, I've also been blessed with the friendship of a kitty who truly became my best friend, and after her passing a few months ago, now have two young cats wreaking delightful havoc in my home. They all leave their own special mark and there is absolutely NO reason not to include them in some of your photos, if it's safe for them!
Here are my favorite tips for making photos with your fur babies as smooth and fun as possible! These tips are primarily geared towards dogs but I use the word "pet" in case you choose to include another special furry friend - horses, cats, rabbits, etc! The possibilities are endless! And some of these tips will apply to any pet you bring!
1. Bring treats to reward your pet during the session.
It's important to keep your pet happy and comfortable during what will be a very stimulating activity for them! Giving them treats regularly will remind them that you're there, that they are safe, and that this is FUN!
2. Bring a favorite toy.
If your pet has a favorite toy, bring it! The photographer can use the toy to help get your pet's attention on the camera. The noisier the toy, the better! As a bonus, playing with the toy could also help to create some really sweet candid photos with you, your family, and your pet.
3. Arrive early with your pet.
Give them time to look around, sniff All Of The Things, and become more familiar and comfortable with their surroundings before the session begins. New environments are VERY stimulating to animals, and they sense so many more things in their surroundings than we people do. If they have time to scope out the area before your session starts (or at least the photos they will be a part of) you are more likely to get photos of your pet looking at the camera!
4. Go with the flow.
Animals aren't always predictable. They are a lot like kids in that way. :) If they aren't having it, try giving them a break. If your pet wants to lie down, be willing to change the pose and get down on the ground with them. If they want to sit up tall or stand, go with it! Let your pet pose next to the person/people they are most comfortable with.
5. Keep your eyes on the camera.
Allow the photographer to do the work to get your pet's attention! Just like with young kids, it may take a lot of work to get that ONE moment when they are looking at the camera JUST right! And if you're not looking at the camera and smiling, you may miss the one opportunity you'll get for that perfect photo. Trust me on this one - let the photographer get your pet(s) (and your kids!) looking and smiling.
6. Bring a friend or family member to handle your pet while you get some people-only family photos.
This is absolutely essential for a successful session. If your pet needs a break, you want someone to hand them off to. It's very likely you'll want to get some photos without your pets as well, and that's okay! It's NOT okay to lock them up in the car. If you have another way to safely restrain your pet at the session, that's fine, but keep your pet's safety in mind first, and also consider the success of your session. If you're worried about your pet, your photos are going to reflect that. Having another person there to walk and play with your pet while you continue your session is really the best option.
Inquire today about including your fur babies in your next family photo session!
(The family in this session knows their dogs and carefully, lovingly, and knowingly did this "pose" on their own. I do not direct my clients to throw their pets into the air, ever!)