Let's be real - pretty much everything is better with dogs, and that includes your photos - engagement, adventure, or otherwise (even your elopement). I absolutely love when a couple brings Fido to their photography session but it's hella important to acknowledge that it's not quite as easy as showing up with your furry lil homie and getting great images. Over the past couple of years, I've collected different tips for making sure everyone involved, including your dog, has a great, stress-free time.
7 TIPS FOR INCLUDING YOUR DOG IN YOUR PHOTOS
I. LET YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER KNOW AHEAD OF TIME
There's a lot that goes into the back-end of things while your photographer plans for your session - I love dogs, but you never know who might have allergies, a previous bad experience, etc. Definitely make sure your photographer is cool with it! Also - I personally want to know beforehand so I can make the most of experience and be prepared to get you the best images.
II. BRING ANOTHER HUMAN ALONG
Even if your dog is super well behaved, chances are you don't want them in every single image. We can begin your session with your dog, and then at some point a friend or family member can take your dog on a walk, or back home. This means you won't have to worry about what your dog is doing when they're not in frame, and everyone involved will have a better experience.
III. BRING WATER, TREATS, TOYS, AND DOGGIE BAGS
It gets hot here in Utah, so absolutely make sure to pack a small bowl and plenty of water for your dog! This may go without saying, but it can be easy to forget when you're also getting yourself ready. Treats and toys are also highly recommended - I love to start sessions with y'all playing fetch or tug-of-war, so make sure to bring their favorite toys, y'know? Make sure you're following Leave No Trace principles as well, and don't forget the doggie bags.
IV. YOUR DOG SHOULD LOOK GREAT TOO
You've thought about your outfits - don't forget theirs! If your dog's leash and collar are pretty ragged and old, this is a good excuse to get a new one. Bandanas also look great (as you'll see on Lady in the photos below). Here's a round up of some photography-worthy, sustainable pet-wear brands: https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/sustainable-dog-collars-leashes
V. PICK A LOCATION THAT ALLOWS DOGS
Not every photographable spot is dog-friendly - most National Parks don't allow dogs, and in Northern Utah you're likely aware that we have a lot of watersheds where dogs are not allowed to hike. This is why it's a great idea to let your photographer know beforehand if you'd like to bring your dog! I'll help you choose a location that allow dogs, and we'll make sure that this spot has plenty of room for y'all to romp around and actually have fun together, instead of worrying about getting kicked out or breaking any rules!
VI. WEAR YOUR DOG OUT
Before your session, make sure to go on a walk or play with your dog! A tired dog is more easy to photograph, and if your dog is calmer you'll have a better time as well. If your dog is already older and a bit calmer, than you can skip this step. We won't want to send them home exhausted!
VII. HAVE FUN AND TRUST THE PROCESS
The best thing you can do is trust that the photos are going to be incredible - don't worry if your dog isn't looking at the camera, seems too energetic, or anything else. I'm here to capture their energy, just like yours, and we'll have plenty of time to get gorgeous photos that tell your story and capture your lil fam.
Brooke and Alex brought Lady, their rescue pup, along for their adventure session and I'm pretty sure this session was the most magical thing ever. Ready to see what it's like to bring your dog along? It looks a little something like this --
Do you want to book your own adventure session? Reach out to me here! I'd love to chat with ya: https://www.kiramcgriggphoto.com/contactme
Kira McGrigg Photographer & Guide is based out of Utah and specializes in elopements that connect couples more deeply to the planet through sustainable practices and incredible experiences.