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How to Include Your Dog in Your Engagement Photos

Dog people, this one’s for you!!

I’ve recently joked that we’re going to start requiring that all of our couples love and/or own dogs, but I kid, I kid… But seriously, we must attract people that are like us, because lots of our couples have sweet pups that they just know they have to include in their engagement session (and often in their wedding!).

Most of the time, when a couple has their engagement session with us, it’s the first time they’ve been professionally photographed together. When you throw a dog in the mix, it’s probably also the first time they’ve ever been professionally photographed with their dog!

We’ve learned a few things from photographing dogs AND from doing a session every year with our sweet girl, Lily. So this week, we’re sharing a few tips on how to include your dog in your engagement photos… And make it a great experience for everyone involved!

include-your-dog-in-your-engagement-photos How to Include Your Dog in Your Engagement Photos

Keep your expectations reasonable.

We have photographed quite a few dogs, and we know firsthand from doing sessions with Lily that your dog will rarely every do exactly what you want them to do during your session. And it’s totally understandable – we’re sticking them in a new place, with new people, and a lot of new stimuli around. So just expect that your pup may not be the absolute best listener (especially at the beginning of our session), and don’t get frustrated!

This goes for your final images, too: keep your expectations reasonable. If you’re like us, we love our doggo for all of her quirks – all of her hilarious faces, that funny little head tilt she does, and (yes) even the slobber that’s probably all over her face. So accept your pup’s quirks and celebrate them! Let’s have fun together, keep things casual, and really bring out your dog’s personality.

Tire them out.

Take them for a walk or for a play date at the park the morning of your session! That way they won’t have too much pent up energy, and they’ll probably be more cooperative.

Bring a handler, if you can!

In most cases, couples don’t want their dog in every single one of their engagement photos. And while Tyler usually comes to engagement sessions with me and can hang out with your dog while we do some “just mom and dad” pictures, it may be helpful to bring someone with you who your dog is familiar with! It gives us some extra flexibility while we’re shooting, and it’s just one less thing to worry about.

Bring everything they need.

I know, it’s already a lot to remember everything you need for both of your outfits, a makeup touchup kit, etc. etc. But make sure you have a bag with your doggo’s things, too! Treats, a towel for mud/slobber, poo bags, some extra water and a travel bowl… Those are all the things we never leave the house without, so make sure you bring all of your standard dog “stuff” too!

Expect me to shoot a lot.

Sometimes the trick with dogs and kids is to just. keep. clicking. Because eventually, they’ll look right at you and smile for that one perfect frame, and that’s all we need!

Plan your outfits accordingly.

If you have a shoes that are hard to walk in, or a suit you definitely don’t want to get dog hair/slobber on, then don’t wear it while we’re taking pictures with your pup! Plan to wear two outfits, and choose which one you’d like to wear with your dog!

So there you have it! We HOPE you’ll include your pupper in your engagement photos – because we know they’ll bring a smile to your face, and (selfishly) because we want to meet them and give them lots of scritch scratches. :)


Lindsay Campbell is a wedding photographer specializing in natural, romantic wedding photography with a bright and airy film look. She photographs weddings in Chattanooga, Franklin, Nashville, Sewanee, and the surrounding areas, and travels across the country to photograph weddings! If you’re looking for a Chattanooga wedding photographer, Sewanee wedding photographer, Nashville wedding photographer, or Franklin wedding photographer, get in touch!