Are you considering including your dog in your family photo shoot but not sure if it’s a good idea? Having built my family photography business up over the past few years, I  actively enourage my clients to include their dogs as and where possible on our shoots. I have tried to brainstorm all the arguments for and against and then included a paragraph about how I may be able to help. I hope it helps you in reaching a decision.

Dogs in Family Photo Shoots – Yes or No?

Pros:

  1. They are part of the family and a family photo shoot wouldn’t be right without them;
  2. You love them and want them to be included;
  3. I allow up to 3 hours for a family photo shoot, so if the dog needs to run off some steam and won’t join in in the beginning, time is not a massive issue.
  4. I have a lot of experience working and being around different dogs. I am firm but fair and will treat them as if they are my own, so I will cuddle and play as much as I can, but likewise I will not allow a dog to jump up at me. I am self-assured and confident around dogs so will not stand for silliness.
  5. I understand that all dogs, like children, are different. Some may be excited and up for fun and games from the beginning, whereas others may take a while to warm up, or may be anxious at first. If you warn me advance then I can greet and treat them accordingly.
  6. I shoot with a long lens when I am out and about outside, so even if your dog runs away a lot, I can normally still manage to capture him / her in action!
  7. The photos that you receive will be timeless and will shown to your grand children and great children. How lovely for your children to be able to reminisce about the dogs they had in their childhood.

Cons:

  1. They might run around and cause mayhem;
  2. You worry that you can’t control the dogs and the children at the same time;
  3. Your dog might run off or get into mischief with other dogs who are out on their walk;
  4. You are not sure where the best place to go with the dog might be;
  5. Your dog is only really happy in your house or garden, or very specific walks;

What I can do to help you get the most of including your dogs in a family photo shoot:

I absolutely love all dogs and would happily welcome them on all of my shoots. Snakes and rats not so much, but dogs I could play with and photograph all day long! Having had my own dog for 8 years now, I am that annoying Mum / friend / dog owner who insists on greeting and playing with (where appropriate of course) every dog that I meet when we are out and about!

I love to watch the interaction between children (of any age) and their dogs as there is always such a special bond. Plus the sheer act of playing tug, cuddling, rolling around together or throwing a frisbee always brings out such a magical fun side to both the child and the dog that is beautiful to watch and capture.

Some dogs love to be out and about and exploring on walks, whereas some dogs may be happier in their own surroundings. I have shot dogs in family photo shoots out and about on a favourite walk, but likewise I have also shot in the clients back gardens. If you have a dog that doesn’t get on with other dogs, or you know will find certain walks or areas difficult, then I am more than happy to be directed by you so we go to a location where you and your dog feel safe and happy. Whatever you need for a happy and easy dog/child/family!

Talking of keeping everybody happy, I have for many years provided extra incentives / rewards / bribery for the children on my shoots, in the form of sweets, chocolate, raisins etc. It always seems to make a difference to the behaviour plus for some reason they always taste better coming from me! It goes without saying that I now also have a fully stocked bag of gravy bones that I will bring along on family photo shoots, so long as diet and permissions allow then your dog will also be rewarded and treated for their posing skills!

The End Result

Ultimately the final decision lies with you. You are the client, you are the ones who would like the memories captured and you are the ones who know your dog(s) better than anyone. I personally think of my dog as very much part of the family, so when we are out about I take as many photos of the dog as I do of the kids (she’s much better at posing than the kids!) I hope you have ascertained from my blog that I am more than happy to give anything a go, so if you are tempted but still have reservations, then please do not hesitate to contact me and hopefully we can talk things through and work something out!

More information:

If you are interested in learning more about family photo shoots, please feel free to check out my page where hopefully a lot of your questions will be answered. Alternatively, if you would like the opportunity to just capture your dog on his/her/their own, then please feel free to take a look at my dog photography page. This includes going on a dog walk where I will capture your dog at their best!

If you are interested in discovering some family-friendly dog walks in the local area, I have written a series of blog posts on walks that I think are great for everyone.

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