Family portraits that include fur-babies make my heart sing. There is nothing more adorable then when sweet dogs actually smile for a photo. It happens; I swear!
In this case, I was lucky enough to work with a beautiful family that included their three fuzzy babies. Although we were not able to get them into every shot (poses with pets are limited), and sometimes they didn't feel like looking my way, we were still able to catch some amazing shots (with and without them).
So what are some tips for when you want to include your pets in your session?
1) Keep it simple.
That applies to the location, clothing, posing, and expectations.
The less distractions, the better. Animals are not perfect and you cannot expect them to do everything you want them to. They will be nervous, they'll smell all the smells, and they will want to either hide or play. You may have the most well-behaved pet and still run into some issues during your session. Therefore, when planning things out, keeping it as distraction free as possible is the way to go.
2) Bring what they love and what they need.
If they have a favorite treat or toy, bring it! Especially toys with noise-makers. All of these things will help the photographer get their attention and help them feel comfortable. Never forget a water bowl for them as well; this is important during those hot days.
3) Pets and children both have time limits.
During my sessions, you will notice that I don't like to keep you in one place for very long. This means that I am keeping things flowing and keeping kids and pets from getting grumpy or jittery.
4) Stay calm. Always.
This is easy. Take a breath. You got this.
5) Profiles are pretty!
Sometimes we cannot get the pets to look at the camera; that's okay! Their profiles are actually very photogenic and you will love any angle of them, I promise!
6) Give your pet love throughout the entire thing. They deserve it!
7) Let them get to know the photographer.
I always extend a hand for a good sniff. This helps us get to know one another a little bit. If your pet is super lovable, you can expect me to love on that creature for a couple seconds for both of our sake. (I LOVE me some animal snuggles)
So if you find yourself thinking, "Ah, we shouldn't include the pets because that will be too difficult." Think again! It may not be as tough as you think. Sure, it really depends on your pet's comfort and behavior levels, but if you truly want to make it work, we will work together to make some magic.
Here is proof that working with pets is do-able!
Dogs are great. Kids are great. This family is great!
Thanks for reading!