5 Tips on How to Prepare Your Dog for Wedding Pictures

Include your Fur Baby in Your Wedding Party - Tips by dog friendly wedding photographers in San Diego, CA

Is your dog your fur baby? Do you want him to be included in your pictures?

If you are a dog owner and you consider your dog a part of your family and you want him included in your engagement pictures, wedding pictures or family pictures then keep reading. Below I'm sharing 5 Tips on How to Prepare your Dog for Pictures. 

My dog is my side kick. He joins me on a lot of my outings around San Diego and Pacific Beach. I love how dog friendly everything is around here. Even the beaches are dog friends, at least for certain hours throughout the day. He is my fur baby and part of my family. So obviously I want to have him be included in our family pictures when we get them done.

How to be successful when including your dog in your pictures

I love when my clients bring their fur babies with them to a session. Wether it's a family session or engagement session I whole heartedly believe the dog should be a part of it. And don't even get me started on when the dogs are part of wedding photographs! If I would've had my dog when I got married I would for sure have included him in my pictures.

As luck would have it, I did have the opportunity to include him in a styled wedding shoot last year. He was so cute and well behaved and even had on an adorable flower crown!

However, including your dog could also be stressful. That's why I've put together this list of 5 tips on how to Prepare your Dog for Pictures so that you can feel confident to bring him or her with you for the next photoshoot.

5 Tips on How to Prepare your Dog for Pictures

Take them exercising!

Bring your dog out in the morning for a good run or walk. Play a little extra with them before your session. If they have the chance to release some of the pent up energy before your photography session then they are more likely to listen and behave. Dogs are like kids, the more energy they have stored inside them, the less likely they are to cooperate.

Do some training at home

You can't expect a dog to know how to sit in front of a camera if they've never done it before. Use a phone or a smaller camera at home and teach them how to sit nicely. Give them some treats when they listen, and redirect them back to the right spot if they move. A lot of dogs are curious and when I kneel down to take an image they want to come up to my face and see what I'm doing. If they get to practice at hime before knowing it's ok to stay still when someone kneels they're more likely to do the same at your session.

Positive Reinforcement

Bring some treats with you to the session. It could be their favorite toy or some candy. Whatever makes they listen and behave is a good idea to bring with you. That way I can use it to help them pay attention to me instead of running after a squirrel that's off to the side doing their business.

Be patient

Patience is a virtue, and it's not always easy to remember to take a breath. Especially when your dog would rather do anything else but sit still for the camera. But with patience comes success. Trust in your photographer and their ability to capture beautiful images of you and your family - including your dog. Maybe we can't recreate that Pinterest picture you had seen. But instead you end up with something so much better - a portrait of your dog the way he or she is supposed to be portrayed.

Give them a bath or a brush

Treat your dog to a spa day. Itch their back with a brush. Bring a towel to clean up their drool (trust me, as an English Bulldog owner I know all about the drool!!). Just like you and the rest of your family are dressing up for the session, let your dog feel pretty. Don't take them to the mud bath before the session - unless it's a therapeutic mud bath at a 5 star hotel because heck I'd join in on that!

Wedding Couple with English Bulldog as a Ringbearer by San Diego Wedding Photographer 

Finally - as a bonus tips - HAVE FUN!

Have fun with your dog. Cuddle with your dog. Run with your dog. There's no point in stressing out about your dog behaving or not behaving because your dog will sense your stress. Instead, go with the flow and cherish the moment. And know that in the end you'll end up with beautiful engagement pictures, wedding portraits or family images that include your fur baby!