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Top tips for including your 4 legged friends in your portraits

I’m an animal lover so of course I get excited when my clients include their pets in their portraits! Here are a few tips to consider when deciding whether this is a good option for your pet:

1. Consider asking a friend or hiring a pet sitter to bring your pet for just the portrait portion of the day if you’re planning on including him or her in your wedding. That way, your animal can go home after we get some great portraits. Many pet sitters offer this service!


2. If you’re bringing your pet to your engagement session, ask a friend to tag along to take the pet after a few photographs so the animal can have a break, and you can get some portraits without him or her in them. I don’t recommend leaving your animal unattended in a car. I am unable to hold a leash while taking photos because my hands need to be still when holding the camera.

3. Always bring water for your pet, especially on a hot day. Engagement sessions often last about an hour and that’s a long time to stand around in the heat!

4. If your pet isn’t comfortable around strangers or new places, it’s best to leave them home. As an alternative, you could do a cute cake topper designed after your pet, or have a signature drink named after him or her!

5. If you decide not to include your pet in your wedding day but still want photos with him or her, we can always schedule another portrait session later on to get some fun portraits with your pet in them. A Rock the Dress session is really fun and I love incorporating four legged friends into those sessions, especially horses!

6. Bring treats! What gets your pet excited? Snacks, a squeaky ball? A special stuffed toy? Bring it with you so we can keep them looking happy and interested.

6. Accessorize! Talk to your florist about a floral collar, or another fun embellishment for your animal.

7. Bring a leather leash or leadrope that is clean! Neutral colour leashes photograph the best, and leather is always classy. Avoid neon or bright colours. If you’re bringing your horse, make sure to clean all your tack and your bit.

8. Leave the harnesses at home whenever possible. I get that some dogs really need a harness. But I cannot edit out a harness easily, especially if it causes folds in your pet’s coat.

9. Be careful of dirt, especially if your pet likes to jump. Whenever my clients want to include an animal in their portraits, I recommend doing those shots last just in case they get dirty.

10. Have fun with your pet! Our animals make us laugh, so why not bring that joy into your portrait session? Don’t be afraid to throw a ball, let your pup kiss your face, and hug your horse.

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