As a dog owner and portrait photographer, I know how important pets are in our lives! In case you didn't already know, I'm pretty much OBSESSED with my own dog Eddie, and the thought of not including him in every family photo of us just doesn't seem quite right! If this is how you feel about your pet, then keep on reading cause girl, I've got some tips for you. Here's how you can make the best out of your portrait session including your dog!

Tip #1: Know your dog

You know your dog better than anyone else, so don't go into into your session expecting a normally hyperactive dog to suddenly become an angel during the portrait session! Remember that your dog doesn't understand what photo sessions are, so to him or her, this is a super fun time to hang out together in a new place, with all kinds of sights and smells! Plan for the worst (cough, bring poop bags!) and hope for the best, and remain patient throughout your session.

Tip #2: Show up Early

This is especially important if you are bringing your dog to a brand new location! Dogs usually need to scope a place out before they can settle down. If you make sure to show up at least 20-30 minutes earlier than your scheduled session and you allow them to do their business, sniff around and 'do their thing', they will be less likely to need to do this while photos are happening which will make the whole process easier for everyone.

tip #3: Get them ready

This sounds obvious, but preparation is key here! If your dog is high energy, consider giving them a couple of vigorous walks in the days leading up to your photo session so that they don't have pent up energy that needs burning while you're all trying to get your doggo to sit still for photos.

If your dog requires grooming, now is the time to book an appointment!

Tip #4: Bring a helper

Especially if you plan on having photos without the doggo too! I personally like to keep photos with the dogs for the end of the session when possible because normally by then, your nerves about being in front of the camera are gone and your dog has become familiar with the location, and me! By having a helper friend or family member supervise your dog during the session, it makes it so much easier for everyone involved.

tip #5: Bring treats and toys

Finally, most dogs are food or toy driven, so this is possibly the most important tip of them all! Bring some high value treats and some of their favourite toys that we can use to get doggo's attention. Bonus if you can bring a squeaky toy that I can squeak behind the camera so I can get your dog to look at the camera!

And that's it! Have fun with your dog during your session too, and you're good to go!

Keep on scrolling for some bonus doggo photos!