For many families, their dog is an essential part of the family, so it makes sense that your fur-baby will also come along to a family portrait session. We’re more than happy to include your beloved pooch in our sessions, but a little extra planning goes a long way to ensure everything goes smoothly. Here’s our top 7 tips for getting great photos with your furry friend:

Blonde little boy looking at a white dog

1. Bring a friend

Invite a family member or friend to come along to the session so they can take your dog for a walk around the park after their photos. Alternatively bring along a long leash to secure your dog to a tree if you think they will behave and not be too distracting for the kids.

Family Dogs

2.  Time for a bath

Just as you will probably style your hair and carefully choose your clothes, make sure your pooch is looking their best as well. Plan your week so you are able to give your dog a good wash and dry the day before the session – and then try to keep them out of the mud and rain!

Family of 3 with their dog

3. Location, location

Discuss your plans to bring your dog with your photographer to ensure your chosen location is dog-friendly. If you want photos of the dog running around and being playful, make sure you’ve chosen an off-leash park or off-leash area of the beach.

Grandma with her dog

4. Recon mission

If you’re going to a new and unfamiliar location, it can be a good idea to take your dog to the spot on a day leading up to the session to get them used to it. Let them run around, have a good sniff, check out the trees and bushes. Make it fun so the kids will enjoy the adventure too and will be excited to return.

Solo Picture of a Dog in the Park

5. Trick or treat

If you decide to bring along dog treats, hide them in your bag, only to be brought out in emergencies. You know your dog best, but we’ve found that if we start the session with treats, the dog will probably only be interested in getting more, rather than interacting naturally with you all. That goes for kids too!

Family Portrait Session With A Dog

6. Perfect match

If your pet malts, bring a lint roller for your clothes if you’re wearing dark colours. Also consider the colouring of your dog and how its coat will match alongside your own clothing choices. You don’t need to be all matchy-matchy, but if your dog is black and you wear black clothes as well – they may just disappear.

Mum and Son with their white dog

7. A man’s best friend

Allow the photographer to build up some rapport with the dog before the session officially starts. It can also be a good idea to bring along your dog’s favourite toy to capture their playful side.

At the end of the day it’s totally up to you whether you include your beloved pooch in your family portrait session. Like all of us, even the most placid, well-behaved dog can have a grumpy day, but following these tips will put you ahead of the pack.