10 Tips for Including Your Dog in Your Engagement Photos

Tips for including your dog in your engagement photos | Megan Rei Photography

Are you thinking about including your dog in your engagement photos? AWESOME. Engagement sessions are so much more fun when pups are involved! If you and your husband/wife-to-be are obsessed with your furbaby, it’s definitely a great idea to bring them along for the photos too. As you can probably guess, trying to get pictures with a dog (or dogs) can create some unique challenges.  Read on to find my top 10 favorite tips for making your dog-friendly engagement session run smoothly!

How to have your dog in your engagement pictures

1. Bring lots of their favorite treats

This is the perfect way to get your dog to pay attention despite a distracting environment! Keep a few stored away in both you and your fiancé’s pockets, and give some to your photographer to use as well. Though I always carry some treats of my own, it’s especially helpful if you guys bring whatever treats your dog goes crazy for!

Tips for bringing your dog to your engagement session | Engagement photos with dogs

2. Bring the best squeaky toys

Same idea as the treats – if your dog has a special ball or stuffed animal that is sure to get their attention, bring them along! I’ve gotten skilled at holding my camera in one hand, and a dog toy in the other. Some of my best attentive dog shots are thanks to a squeaky tennis ball!

Northern Virginia dog engagement photos

3. Practice basic commands

In the weeks leading up to your engagement session, take some extra time to practice “sit” and “stay” with your pup. Your dog doesn’t have to be perfect, but every extra second that they can stay still will give your photographer that much more time to grab the perfect photo! Another favorite command of mine for pictures is “give kisses!”

DC engagement pictures with dogs

4. Choose the right location

Your photographer will be able to give you location ideas, but you know your dog best. You’ll want to pick a place where your dog will be comfortable and is most likely to listen to you. Is your dog easily distracted by other people and dogs? Then maybe you should avoid a busy spot like the National Mall! Or choose a time of day that is less crowded (like sunrise).

Choosing a dog-friendly location for your engagement pictures | Hiking dog engagement

5. Take your dog for a walk beforehand

Getting some of your pup’s excess energy out BEFORE your engagement shoot will help keep them calm during your session. Going for a long walk or having playtime in the yard should do the trick!

Get your dog groomed prior to the engagement session | Advice for engagement photos with dogs

6. Hit the doggie spa

A few days before your session is a great time to pamper your dog. Giving your pup a bath, brushing their coat, and having their nails clipped will ensure your pup is looking their best in all the photos.

Engaged couple holding hands as they walk with their dog during an engagement session

7. Use a nice leash and collar

If your dog’s leash and collar are looking old and ragged, now may be the perfect time for an upgrade! I usually recommend going for neutral colors. If your pup typically wears a harness, consider removing that for the photos (as long as you’re still able to safely handle them). And while you should definitely bring poop bags along, if you have one of those bag holders attached to your leash, you can take that off for your pictures.

Hiking engagement pictures with dogs | Dog-friendly DC engagement photographer

8. Pack a bowl and water

Especially if your engagement session is taking place during the summer months, make sure your pup stays hydrated!

Advice for having DC engagement pictures with dogs | Couple with their dog on the Spanish Steps

9. Bring someone along to help

Having an extra set of hands always helps make the session go more smoothly. As much as you guys LOVE your furbaby, I’m sure you’d like to get some engagement photos of just the two of you! While at times I have managed to take photos with one hand and hold a leash in the other, you’re less likely to get blurry pictures if someone else plays dog handler. You can bring a friend along, or hire a professional dog service like Fur Ever and Fur Always, who can provide dog care for engagement sessions and wedding days!

Dog giving kisses during an engagement shoot in the mountains

10. Don’t stress about getting the perfect photos

Maybe you’ve got a perfectly trained dog who knows how to smile for the camera, or maybe you’re like the rest of us, with pups who are a little less cooperative. It’s ok if your dog won’t sit still or won’t look at the camera – sometimes the best pictures are captured in those candid moments of you two interacting with your pup!

Engaged couple with their two dogs on the trails in Northern Virginia | Tips for taking engagement pictures with dogs
Tidal Basin engagement photos with dog | DC engagement photography with dogs

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