Tips For Bringing Your Dog To Your Family Photoshoot-AnnaGrafPhotography
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Top Tips for Dogs at your family photoshoot

Last weekend I had three family portrait sessions in less than 24 hours and they all brought dogs so I thought I should write a blog with some tips for bringing your furry family member to your portrait session. I love dogs, they can be so much fun at a photoshoot but there are some definite do’s and dont’s for having a dog at your photoshoot. I also love cats and horses, so let me know if you want another blog post with tips for them, cause I’ve had shoots with so many furry loves!

Be Flexible

My biggest tip is to be flexible. If you expect your perfect puppers to sit and smile, it’s probably not going to happen. Even if you’ve practiced a ton. As with little kids, I’ll tell you to just keep looking at me, unless directed, and I’ll do all I can to get your dog to look at me so you will have that perfect posed family shot with the dog.

Dog-Smiles-Photoshoot-AnnaGrafPhotography

Bring Treats

Treats can help so much! Give me some to put in my pockets and I can use them to get a better shot at your dog looking at the camera. I never bring treats because I don’t know what your dog’s dietary needs are and would never want to give them something that wasn’t ok for them. If you dog isn’t food motivated, bring their favorite toy and I can use that to grab their attention.

Big-Family-Posed-Photo-Dogs-AnnaGrafPhotography

Expect Chaos

Chaos is expected, don’t fight it. If you get upset your dog isn’t sitting right away, it can affect the mood of everyone at the shoot. And then your carefree smiling happy family photos look a bit stiff. I’ll always do my best to bring everyone back from that, but it’s best if you can do a few breaths before the shoot, trust that I’ve got you and want the best photos for you and your family.

Dog-Walk-Photoshoot-AnnaGrafPhotography

Kids and dogs

When you add babies, toddlers, and teens with your dog, whew I’ve got my work cut out but again, trust the process. You might feel like we didn’t get much because there were so many moving parts, but that’s literally how photoshoots like this go. We’ll try and try and when dogs or kids get frustrated, that’s when we change tactics. We’ll play a game, take a break or move to a new location so everyone can feel reset.

Dogs-Kids-Family-Photoshoot-AnnaGrafPhotography

Leash expectations

Talk to your photographer about what they will do about editing leashes. I don’t edit them out unless we are doing a specific dog portrait. For the big family photo, try to hide the leash as best we can, but we all know the dog is on a leash. And no, I will never suggest we take your dog off-leash for the shot. In my early days, I had a dog run away during a 20min session and they spent their entire session time trying to find the dog in the Christmas tree farm! I had back-to-back sessions so I couldn’t really help but we got them some great photos after they finally caught their rambunctious puppy.

Dog-Couple-Photo-AnnaGrafPhotography

Age and Health

Be sure to let your photographer know about the age and health of your dog if it could affect the photoshoot. If your doggie is nearing the end of their life, is a slow walker, or can’t walk much, it will help the photographer pick a location that will minimize the walking. Or you carrying the dog. Or maybe you’ve got a new member of your family that is a rambunctious puppy and needs a location where there’s lots of walking and space to get a few minutes of still for that family portrait.

Dog-Senior-Portrait-Session-AnnaGrafPhotography

All the details

I personally want to know all I can so that when I turn up to your photoshoot, I know everyone there, including your dog! I may seem like a quiet person, and I am, but when I need to get your dog looking at my camera I’ve got all the fun sounds! And it will probably make you laugh a bit too!

Family Photoshoot With Dog-AnnaGrafPhotography

Final thoughts

Bring your furry family member to your session! It might seem like a lot of work, and it is, but it’s worth it! To capture your dog with your kids at this age is wonderful. These are the photos you’ll look back on to remember when Billy was 8 and Sally was 6 and the dog they grew up with was growing older. We get such little time with our fur babies, please include them. I LOVE being the one to capture them with all their goofy grins, tongues out and just a bit of the personality of who they are with the people that love them.

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