New Jersey Wedding & Portrait Photography

With engagement photo season coming upon us in just a couple of months, we have been asked the same question a couple of times by clients- “Can we have our dog in our engagement photos?” Our answer is always “YES!”. We are huge dog people that are not only obsessed with our 12 year old Shih Tzu but pretty much every other dog we come across. So with that being said, you are definitely more than welcome to bring along your dog to your engagement session- there are just a few things to consider when planning to do so. Here are some tips on including your dog in your engagement photos.

1. Let us know

Definitely let your photographer know in advance. While we can handle any type of unexpected scenario during an engagement session, knowing in advance that we will be dealing with a dog is helpful. First, we can share these tips to help you prepare but it also helps us prepare in knowing the kind of dog, their temperament and think of any shots we would like to incorporate in the shoot.


2. Bring a dog sitter

If your dog is going to be with us during an entire session, it is crucial to have a 3rd person present to help take care of them. While we do take a lot of photos with your dog in them, we will absolutely be switching things up to incorporate just the two of you. Without a dog sitter, that leaves your beloved pet to be watched by one of us (taking us away from shooting) or you are searching for something to tie their leash to and in some locations, that is just not possible. Your dog sitter will also be helpful in taking care of your pet if they become restless, need to be fed, etc. leaving the two of you to focus solely on your photos.

3. Plan for a shorter session with your dog

Our engagement sessions are typically 1-2 hours long. Your dog does not have to be present during the entire thing and they may not want to be either! You run the risk of them losing interest and misbehaving if they stay for that long. It is best to plan for them to be a part of the beginning or end of the session providing you with a higher chance of getting great photos.

4. Make sure your location is dog friendly

Definitely take time to make sure that the location you have chosen for your engagement photos is pet friendly. The last thing you want is to arrive at your session location to see the dreaded “no dogs allowed” sign. That will save us the time of trying to find an alternate location at the last minute.

5. Give your dog plenty of exercise before the shoot

Your dog can be super lazy at home but once they are in a new environment to explore, they can be super energetic and overwhelmed by the new surroundings. Try as best as you can to get them tuckered out before the session so they are more responsive to direction which can lead to great photos. If you are able to take them to the location in advance to become familiar with the environment, even better!

6. Bring plenty of pet supplies

Treat this time as any other outing with your pet. Bring treats, water, and food if necessary. You want to ensure all of their needs are met during this time so you have a happy pet!

7. Be patient

You may have grand visions for your photos with your “well behaved” pet but they pretty much run the show on that day. We will be working off of their mood and temperament so be patient! You may not wind up with the perfect shot but you may wind up with one that shows off your pet’s personality to a T.