When my fiancee proposed to me, he was also agreeing to marry my dogs since we’re a package.
It was only natural that we included them in some of our engagement photos.
Luckily, our wedding photographer was game.
Since we were dressed in our nice clothes, and we didn’t want the dogs to be tired and dirty when we took the photos, we wanted to chose an easy-to-get-to location in Seattle.
Also, because we are outdoorsy people, we wanted our pictures taken in a natural setting.
Note: We had our engagement shoot before hiking to a destination for photos we a trend. We didn’t even think of that but that’s what I would have chose if we could do it again.
We ultimately settled on the Washington Park Arboretum as our location.
The hardest part of the shoot was getting the right pose and lighting while also getting both dogs to look at the camera.
We opted for some pictures, as the one above, where the dogs were in the picture but it didn’t matter what they were doing or where they were looking.
However, with several attempts, our photographer was able to get a couple shots with at least one of the dogs looking.
I have no regrets but if I had to do it over there are a couple of things I would have done differently in regard to the dogs.
7 Tips for Engagement Photos with Your Dog
1) Scout the location ahead of time
It would have been better if I had scouted the location before the shoot.
I’d been to this part before to hike but I hadn’t been looking at it from a photographer’s perspective.
If I had scouted the location before the shoot, I would have has a vision for photos I could have conveyed to the photographer.
I also would have known some of the locations most likely to capture the dogs in the best light (literally) and where the dogs may have been less distracted.
2) Make sure the Dog(s) are tired first
I would have taken them for a long walk the morning of the photo shoot so they would have been less unruly and distracted by all of the sighs and smells.
3) Don’t be afraid to give your expert photographer tips
Our photographer knew how to take beautiful wedding and engagement photos. However, Because our photographer didn’t normally photograph dogs.
Since I had been photographing dogs for years, I would have shared some of my tips and tricks for getting the dogs to look at the camera.
4) Splurge for the extra time
We were on a tight budget for our wedding so we kept our engagement session short.
However, in hindsight, we would have had more good pictures to choose from had we paid for a little extra time.
That would have made things not feel so rushed and our photographer would have had time to take more photos. More photos means there’s a better chance more photos turn out.
5) Bring treats or toys
Treats and squeakie toys are key for enticing your dog to look at the camera.
We would have had a lot more success, and it would have resulted in less frustration for all involved, if I had remembered to do that.
6) Bring help
I would have enlisted a friend to help with the shoot.
This person could have busied the dogs when my fiance and I were trying to get photos with just the two of us.
This extra person could have stood behind the photographer with the toys and treats to get the dog’s attention so the photographer would have been able to concentrate only on taking the photos.
7) Be more spontaneous
We all want our engagement photos to be perfect because it only happens once.
However, don’t get so hung up on the photos you think you really want and struggle with your dogs, and get frustrated, just to get them.
Some of the best photos I’be captured of the dogs were unplanned. Being willing to go with the flow, and work with your dogs instead of against them, can result in some really amazing, unexpected photos.
For more inspiration and tips, check out this article from my friend: How to Include Dogs in Engagement Photos
Of course, we included our canine “kids” in our wedding too.
This is the tuxedo Chester wore.