"My fashion philosophy is, if you're not covered in dog hair, your life is empty." -Elayne Boosler
When your phone is full with photos of your dog, your covered in dog hair, and you can't possibly imagine a life without your dog (or your finace), then including pup in your engagement session is a must! Pup is a big part of your relationship and home, so let's talk a little more about what that looks like.
Wet nose boops, silky ears, and furry grinch paws are just a few of the things that cause you to fall head over heels for your dog on a daily basis. So HOW do you capture those sweet blinks, tiny little nose quivers, and BIG tail wags? Working with your pet-friendly photographer who is familiar with dogs and their temperaments can help create a relaxed environment for your dog to excel in. Here's how you can learn to get your pup to look (at least for .2 seconds) at the camera for that perfect picture:
1. Location, location, location
Is your pup a pet-hog that absolutely NEEDS to approach every moving thing for a scratch behind the ears? Or is your dog a little shy and doesn't appreciate loud noises? Note what your dog struggles with and what they excel with- this will absolutely influence the locations that will be appropriate for a pup photo-shoot! For example, if pup pup has some anxiety when out in unfamiliar places, a stop by your backyard might just be the perfect photo location to ensure your furry friend is happy. If Fido tugs on the leash because he HAS to make new friends everywhere you go, a tourist, or heavily trafficked area might not be the best choice for ensuring that we keep his or her attention. For your extroverted fluff-ball, I'd recommend a private dog park.
Knox isn't a fan of sitting his little butt down in snow (to be fair- can you blame him!). Rather, he hoovers mid-air right over the snow and pretends to sit. With this in mind, we were able to find areas of side walk with melted snow where he was able to sit like the true prince he is.
2.Treats- use them and use them often
Maybe this is a specific treat- let's be real- I'd look at the camera too if someone was dangling a bacon wrapped sweet potato above the lens, or a certain toy hippo that squeaks just right. Perhaps it's even words like "treat" or "where's [insert name of person who your pup loves]!?!?". The more variety of interesting attention-grabbers you can include, the more likely we can make sure your pup is as photo-ready as possible!
Jenna and Chris let us know that all you have to do is say the word w-a-l-k and Archives the border collie is ALL ears.
During photos on a windy Door County boat dock where we really wanted him to be looking at the camera, using this special word was an easy way to peak his interest.
3. Enlist Help
Strategically planning time during your session to include your dog and time for just you two keeps everyone focused and happy. 90 minutes of sitting relatively pretty for a camera isn't something that any dog would be thrilled with. We suggest having someone who your dog is familiar with to be on standby to pick up or drop off pup during part of your session! By including pup during a select amount of time means less time for him to grow restless! And with that extra set of hands waiting on the wings, to help pop your dog in and our of photos, you can enjoy your session without having to worry what Fido is up to. There are even services where you can hire someone to pup-sit your furry friend.
For Haley & Nick's Iverson Park engagement session, Haley said that "It was nice to have someone hold him when we weren't using him and also to bribe him to sit still with treats. You'd be surprised at how many hands it takes, especially with the way the shoot moves along and if you want to take the dog out [of the shot] for a few shots here and there.
4. Energetic pup?
Taking your high energy furry friends for a lonnnnnngggggg walk or jog before your session means that they'll likely sit a little better for photos.
Here's a few of our favorite areas from around Wisconsin for your pup to stretch their legs! -My Dog and Me - (Our favorite!) Madison, WI
-Viking Dog Park - Stoughton, WI
-West Bend Dog Park - West Bend, WI
-Standing Rocks - Stevens Point, WI
-McKinley Marnia Park - Milwaukee, WI
-Sister Bay Sports Complex Dog Park- Sister Bay, WI
5. Let Go of Expectations
Every dog has a frisky side (and hey, that's why we love them!) The excitement and spontaneity that our pups add to our lives are just a few of the amazing reasons to be a pet parent. Wrangling your pup doesn't have to be stressful and it really is okay if Pup isn't looking directly at the camera. Let go (not of the leash) and let pup be pup. With Juneau's temperament in mind, Lexi & PJ knew that it would be best to keep him on a leash so he wouldn't run TOO deep into Lake Michigans waves. With his happy smile and sandy paws, Juneau didn't have a chance to become restless during this part of the session.
Ready for more engagement and wedding planning tips? There's plenty more where that came from- from tips for a romantic engagement in Door County to selecting the most unique wedding favors!