Pups in the Engagement Shoot


They say dogs are a man’s best friend and if that is true…then why isn’t your dog standing at the alter as the best man? Jokes aside, your dog is probably a big part of your daily life and can have a place in your wedding festivities too, just as the important friends and family in your life do. While having your dog play an active role in the wedding may be stressful (and possibly not allowed by your venue) there are still plenty of opportunities to include your pup… like in your engagement photos! Below are five tips to help you include your beloved companion in your engagement session.

1. Get your photographer on board

Your photographers job is to capture the essence of your wedding festivities and the personalities of the couple. Your pet likely contributes to your relationships dynamic so talk to your photographer about finding a way to incorporate your dog into the theme and photos. Discussing this beforehand will help your pro prep for the shoot, put together creative ideas on how to include your pup, and scout locations that would be the right fit for the theme. It's also common courtesy to discuss this beforehand to ensure your photographer isn’t terrified or allergic!

2. Select the right setting

There are tons of options when it comes to engagement shoots and creative ways to highlight the beautiful couple. Crowded city settings might look great in photos but could be an overwhelming environment for your dog to focus and follow direction in. You don’t want to chase your pup around mid-shoot because the environment just wasn’t the right fit so consider various settings that could keep your pet calm and at ease so you can ultimately create the beautiful photos you plan to enjoy for a long time.

3. Don’t be afraid to stylize the shoot

There are two kinds of pet parents: the ones who love to dress up their pooch and the ones who hate it. If you’re the former, there's nothing more fun than dressing up your dog in a puppy tux, bow tie or a fun fall sweater. If dressing up your dog isn’t your thing and you prefer them to sport their natural coat, that’s okay too! You can still have fun with creating a beautiful setting for the photos… perhaps a flower wrapped basket for them to rest in, or adorning your pet with a flower crown, garland or leaf wreath?

4. Be prepared and bring backup

You and your pup may see eye to eye on a lot of things but if they feel hot, cold, tired, or uncomfortable, getting them to follow direction may be a greater task than expected. Prepare for every scenario you can think of and most importantly, bring treats! Giving them treats will help keep them focused, incentivize good behavior and just give them a little nudge when they need a pick-me-up.

It’s also important to keep the pet segment limited since they are bound to lose interest and/or stop behaving once they get over the excitement of the treats. Since only a portion of your shoot may include your pet, make sure you enlist someone aside from your photographer to help! Consider hiring a pet sitter or asking a friend to watch your dog during shots they aren’t involved in. This way, you won't have to take breaks from the other parts of the shoot to ensure your pet is taken care of and you can utilize the time with your photographer effectively.

5. Have fun and don’t set high expectations!

An engagement shoot is supposed to be fun and while you may have been stressed about what to wear or if you want a theme, the day of the shoot is when you let go and just enjoy the moment. Including your pet in your engagement shoot is something special that will make it unique and memorable, but shouldn’t be the cause of stress! Following the first four tips will help you prepare and manage the unexpected but don't get stressed out if everything doesn’t go as planned.

Having your photographer on the same page will allow you guys to work together as a team to get beautiful photos and include your pet whenever it makes sense, keeping their temperament at that time in mind. If your dog just isn’t having it and refuses to participate, don't let it ruin the entire shoot. You can always change your mind about the pet portion and remember the pet sitter or friend you brought with you? Ask them to take the pup on a walk while you enjoy the solo session with your partner.

At MS Photo & Video, we are the premier wedding photographer in San Jose. We know what you are looking for when selecting a photographer to capture all those important moments from your special day. Check out our gallery today and see the care and attention we give to every detail, to ensure that your special day is forever frozen in time! Contacts us TODAY for a free consultation!

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