I love, love, love dogs—we have two beautiful and sweet Golden Retrievers and before we had children, they were our babies. We took them everywhere with us, so I completely get it when clients ask if they can bring their dogs to their engagement session.
Before you do, though, I strongly suggest taking these few things into consideration:
Most Lehigh Valley engagement session locations welcome leashed dogs, however it’s good practice to make sure the location for your engagement session is pet-friendly to avoid any issues during the portrait session. Call ahead or check out the location’s webpage to find out what their policy is regarding pets. (Also, make sure your dog is properly licensed before bringing them to a public location!)
a. Generally speaking, we will only capture a handful of images that include your pet since holding a leash limits the variety of posing we can do. Once we have finished photographing you and your pup, we will need an additional set of hands to make sure your dog is cared for while we finish the engagement session.
For safety reasons, I strongly discourage couples from tethering or leaving dogs in cars during the engagement session; therefore, couples who decide to bring their dog to their engagement session should also bring a handler who can take care of your pup once we are finished with him/her.
a. If you’re planning to bring your dog to your engagement session, please arrive early to give your pet time to adjust to the new location. Many dogs arrive to new places with lots of pent up energy and curiosity making them difficult to work with. Giving your dog time to walk around and check out the environment can help them settle down and relax before we begin the session.
I’ve often joked with clients that doing a session with a dog is like having a sugared-up toddler in tow. And it’s true! On the day of your session, consider adding an extra walk or play session into your dog’s routine. Pent up energy and the excitement of a new location can make for an uncooperative pup. (If your dog cannot settle or is not cooperating, this is when having a dog handler with us is very helpful!)
Make sure you have all the necessary must have’s: leash, clean-up bags, treats, water and a squeaker toy I can use to get your dog’s attention.
Every dog is different and you know your pet best! Consider your pet’s temperament and obedience skills to decide if bringing him or her to the engagement session is a good idea. Some dogs get motion sickness in the car, are leery of strangers or are still working on their training, which may mean it would be best to leave them home.
Alyssa is a Lehigh Valley engagement & wedding photographer serving the Lehigh Valley, New Jersey, Philadelphia & surrounding areas. Let’s connect about your upcoming wedding or to schedule an engagement session!