Tracy and Paul's Outdoor Engagement Plus 4 Tips for Having Your Dog in Photos

When Tracy, Paul and I started planning their fall engagement session, they knew they wanted a relaxed session, in their element, so we planned a little walk in the park with their dog, Miss Devon.

One of the things I love about engagement sessions with my couples is the chance to see a different side of their lives than the one I see on their wedding day. This session was so real for Tracy and Paul, we simply captured their normal Saturday afternoon life.

Usually Tracy and Paul’s weekends involved a casual hike outside the city, a little picnic and some playtime with Miss Devon. So that’s what we did: these photos among the trees and Tracy and Paul chilling out in their little picnic moment are so calm, so full of everyday romance. You can see the incredible partnership Tracy and Paul have, how at ease they are together in the gorgeous fall color.

We took these photos right around sunset and planned a few hours together so we could capture each different moment as the light changed, from clear afternoon light, to the golden pre-sunset glow and calm, romantic dusk. We didn’t rush, we just let the moments and the light play out naturally.

 

And, since these photos of Miss Devon are so sweet, I thought this would be a lovely time to talk about my tried and true tips for having your pet in your engagement or wedding photos.

Four Tips for Having Your Dog in Photos

Many of my couples are considering incorporating a pet into engagement or wedding photos. I love photographing pets - especially when they’re such a huge part of my couple’s lives. There are a few secrets for success when bringing your pet along to a session; here are my top four to think about so you (and your pets) have a lovely, relaxed portrait session.

Bring another person along to focus on your dog

You’ll notice in Tracy and Paul’s photo’s Miss Devon isn’t in every single one. Having a friend along to be with your pet when you want a few photos of just the two of you, or someone to take a little walk with your dog if they’re having an off moment (or just need a restroom break) is essential for a session that feels relaxed for you and your pup.

Be mindful of what makes your pet distracted, anxious or uncomfortable (and plan your location accordingly)

If your dog can’t resist squirrels, a squirrel-filled forest won’t feel very peaceful. A city street turns into a stressor if your dog hates strange people and noises. If you’re planning to incorporate your pet into your photo session, set them up for success by choosing a venue where they’ll be comfortable. If your pup is stressed out, you will be too and that doesn’t make for super-romantic photos.

Bring lots of treats and a slightly hungry pup

Stock up on snacks for your dog and schedule your session before they’ve had their big meal. If your dog is a little bit hungry during the session, his or her favorite treats will be extra motivating and appealing when you ask them to sit, stay, lie down, etc.

Consider your dog’s wardrobe

My dog Luna’s usual on-walk attire is a bright magenta harness. It makes her super-visible, but would be pretty distracting in photos. So consider your dog’s wardrobe when picking your outfits too. Do you need to choose a special collar or leash? If you’re choosing something that’s not normal for your dog, test it out before the photo session so your dog feels comfortable wearing their new gear on the day. I love how Tracy and Paul chose a red leash for Miss Devon to incorporate her into their woodsy color scheme.

 

Tracy and Paul, I loved seeing this calm, relaxed side of your life together (and of course meeting the lovely Miss Devon!) Thanks for bringing welcoming me into your weekend routine and for letting me document such a beautiful part of your relationship.

Alyssa L-K