6 Tips on Taking Engagement Photos with Your Pet

A couple with their dogs in the park.

Engagement photo sessions are inherently adorable. Whether you shoot them in the park, at a coffee shop, or in your home, the excitement of your upcoming wedding seems to shine through every photo. The only thing that can push the cuteness over the top is including your pet into your engagement session.

Including your beloved dog or cat into your photos may seem like a no-brainer, especially if they’re a huge part of your relationship. But the logistics of taking photographs with your pet are more complicated than just putting them in front of the camera. If you’re thinking about taking engagement photos with your furry family member, here are a few tips on prepping them in order to get the best shots possible.

1. Give Your Pet Lots of Exercise Before the Photo Shoot

We all know that our animals are much calmer once they’ve had a ton of exercise, especially if they are young. If your dog or cat has a lot of energy, make sure you help them get all of that out before your engagement photo session. Take them on a long walk, break out the laser pointer, or run around with them in the backyard to really tire them out. Of course you don’t want to overdo it, but the goal is to get them tired!

2. Go Somewhere Your Dog Feels Comfortable

A small dog sitting between his owners in the park.

Just like humans, dogs have their favorite places to hang out—and they also have places that make them anxious. When scoping locations for your engagement photo session, choose places that aren’t just photogenic but will make your dog feel comfortable. If you have any questions about a location, talk to your photographer about scouting locations together with your dog so you can gauge their comfort level.

3. Come Prepared with Treats and Toys

If you’re taking your engagement photos outside of the home, be prepared with plenty of treats and their favorite toys to get them to sit still for a few moments. Even if you’re taking your photos inside your home, it’s still a good idea to be stocked with treats so the photographer can have something to capture their attention.

4. Take the Photos at Home if Your Pet Is Anxious

A kissing couple with their cat in the foreground.

If you have a dog who is anxious in public settings (or if you’re a cat lover), taking engagement photos at home is the best option. There are many benefits to taking your photos at home, like not having to worry about their leash, having infinite prop options, and the ability to change clothes easily without finding a public restroom. Plus, what’s cuter than the three of you curled up on the couch or playing chase in your own backyard? Taking photos at home makes for a more relaxed session and gives you a chance to show off the home that the three of you share.

5. Have a Friend Come with You to Entertain and Watch Your Pet

You may want your dog in some of your engagement photos, but chances are you won’t want them in every single one. Invite a friend or a family member to watch your pet and keep them occupied when they’re not in front of the camera. (Remember to never leave your pet inside a locked car, no matter the season!)

6. Bring a Change of Clothes

Depending on the location and style you’re going for, chances are you won’t be able to play rough with your dog during the photo shoot. Bring a change of casual clothes so that you won’t be afraid to roll around and play with your pets while the camera is on. Posed photographs with your dog are adorable, but some of the best engagement photos with pets are the ones where a couple is throwing a ball to their dog or getting on the ground and rubbing their belly. You definitely don’t want to worry that your dog will scratch your legs or get dirt all over your outfit when you’re taking photos because that frustration will shine through on the camera.

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