If you’re a dog owner, you know that pets are part of the family. Period. That means that when it comes to the major events of your life, your pups have to be there! It only made sense for this couple to include their fluffy family members as part of their engagement photos. Taking your engagement photos with dogs is the best way to include the entire family in this important life event!
People say it all the time, but it’s true. Time flies, and life moves on so quickly. Your memories are going to become a little hazy especially following a whirlwind event like your wedding day. A photo preserves that moment in your life and anchors your memories for the years ahead.
Years from now you’ll want to remember this special part of your lives when you were preparing to get married. With all those butterflies-in-your-stomach feelings and excitement for the newness that’s coming. It’s a gift to remember your life at this very moment before everything changes after you say “I do!” Engagement sessions let you treasure these moments and really slow down enough to capture your personality and how you two fit together in your everyday life.
For Sara and Vasili, their dogs are central to their family. The youngest pup was a brand new addition so they wanted the first set of photos with all four of them. It was both a celebration of their latest family adoption plus their engagement! You can’t have too much of a good thing which in this case was capturing engagement photos with dogs!
These two dog lovers had met online almost six years prior and got their first dog, Theo. They adore this furry friend and love spending most of their free time hanging out with him, going on hikes, and bringing him along when spending time with friends. The couple used this opportunity not only as a celebration of this new family member but also as a warm-up for the wedding day. It’s good practice because these photos get all of those camera-shy feelings out as we get to know each other.
I had photographed the wedding of this couple’s friends in Washington, DC a few years ago so we found an instant connection over this and their pups! For their engagement session the couple chose a trail in Derwood, Maryland close to their home. The trail was a perfect spot to match their style and story that’s also personal to them.
Both of them run the trail regularly and it actually borders the neighborhood where Vasili grew up. Another reason for choosing an engagement session location close to home was due to the fact that their upcoming wedding will be in Greece!
Sarah kept talking up these wildflowers that bloom in the fall near their house. Let me tell you–they were gorgeous! The beautiful white and yellow wildflowers were nestled on a trail of green grass and other blossoming foliage that surrounded the entire trail. Engagement photos with dogs at a spot like this truly had us hitting the jackpot with this hidden location!
Prior to your engagement session you will receive my What to Wear Guide (exclusive to my clients), which includes other tips on being in front of the camera! As you start to think through engagement session outfits, look through photos of your selected location and pull colors from that environment.
If you are out in nature, avoid neons and go with natural versions of the color. If you are in the city or somewhere with a more minimal color space (like the National Gallery of Art) you can get away with brighter colors! Check out more tips on how I recommend you prepare for your engagement photos!
The greatest engagement session tip I can give is to MOVE! Seriously, the best way to get comfortable is to move around and actually interact with each other. That’s why engagement photos with dogs are an added bonus because they are great partners for movement! You can even include your cat too!
You get so many more photos and will feel more natural if you are moving around! I guide my couples through the actions they can do together like swaying, walking (together or with the pups!), kissing foreheads or cheeks, looking at each other or looking around the space. The point of your engagement photos with dogs is to have fun and not take yourself too seriously!
Everyone needs a little guidance, especially at the beginning. These two were a little nervous being in front of the camera, so we started off by drinking classic beers in the wildflowers. This was followed by having them walk together and cuddle with their two dogs. Sara and Vasili were natural at interacting together and had a great time teasing each other!
Including favorite activities that relax you always helps in making the shoot more comfortable and fun. We even ended the session by popping a bottle of bubbly in the woods (see below)!
Of course, doing engagement photos with dogs is the best way to make your engagement session photos the easiest to capture! To make this happen, this couple had both of their moms join us about halfway through the session to bring the adorable pups for a bit and then take them back home while we finished. I always recommend bringing along someone to watch your pet while we do the shoot. It’s the best way to include your pet while not adding any stress to the session.
“I rely on photos to bring me back to the emotions I was feeling on the day!”
These engagement photos with dogs all worked out in the end and Sarah said upon receiving their photos, “OMG I am OBSESSED! Thank you so much Shelly! We’re so grateful to have these memories captured.” They also shared that “each one of your photos is like its own work of art. I rely on photos to bring me back to the emotions I was feeling on the day!” Those emotions are definitely what we captured!
If you’re really wanting to include your dogs at your engagement session but you’re not sure how that will work, I’m happy to discuss all of my tips for dog engagement photos!