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How to Capture Beautiful Family Photos with Dogs

family of five poses with dog in front of mountain backdrop

Family Photos with Dogs

Our pets are cherished, fuzzy little members of the family. They increase the levels of laughter, joy, and love in the home so much that including them in your family portraits can make your photos exponentially more meaningful and memorable. If you're considering bringing your furry family members to your next family photo session, there are a few things you can consider to make the session enjoyable, smooth, and fun. In this blog post, I'll share five things you can do to have seamless and special family photos with your dog.

Choose the Right Location:

Animals, like humans, can be particular about their comfort zones, and you may want to consider their flexibility before choosing your session location. Is your dog a bit nervous around other dogs or big crowds? If so, you may want to avoid a crowded park or area where off-leash dogs may interfere. If your dog is well trained, calm, and unfazed by noise or new places, then this may not be as big of a concern for you when planning your session location.

One thing is for sure, though – whether you choose your backyard, a local park, or even in the cozy confines of your living room, it's best to select a location that will give your pup the best chance of having a fun, relaxed experience with the whole family. Familiar or low-stress environments will help them feel at ease, resulting in more natural and authentic photos.

family of 4 pose with dog in matching plaid bandana

Coordinate Outfits:

Matching your pet isn't for everyone, but it can definitely be a fun thing to do for a special occasion! And what's more special an occasion than family photos?

For a cute and visually cohesive family portrait, consider coordinating your family outfits with your pet's accessories. This doesn't mean you need to match your dog's accessories exactly, but choosing complementary colors or themes can add a layer of "togetherness" to your photos. If you're going for a casual, outdoorsy look, consider bandanas or matching accessories for your pets. You can also look into bows for your dog's ears, sweaters, and more. This simple touch can enhance the overall aesthetic of the photos and it's just plain cute!

candid photo of family of 4 with their dog at garden of the gods

Capture Candid Moments:

Pets are full of surprises and genuine expressions. Instead of solely focusing on getting the posed shots, see if your photographer can help you capture some of the spontaneous interactions between your family members and your pup(s). Some ways you can do this is to play fetch, play with your children and watch your dog follow suit, or allow your dog to explore you photoshoot location with their nose. Candid moments often result in the most heartwarming and authentic family photos, so be sure to have some fun and enjoy the adorable outcome!

family of 4 pose on log with their dog in wooded area

Bring Treats and Toys:

Keep your dog engaged and happy during the photoshoot by bringing their favorite treats or toys along with you. Your photographer can use these to help encourage great photos by squeaking a toy behind the camera or holding up a treat to get your dog focused on them. You can also use them to encourage the candid shots I mentioned above – when your dog focuses on you or you can encourage them to do some tricks, it changes the composition of the photo and can make for some really precious moments. A well-timed treat or a favorite toy can elicit adorable expressions and create memorable snapshots that reflect the unique personality of your pup!

black dog in plaid bandana poses in tall grass with tongue out

Patience is Key:

Dogs, just like humans, may need some time to acclimate to the camera and their new surroundings. Be patient and allow them to explore and get comfortable with the setting. You might consider arriving to your photo location early to allow your dog to settle in and explore before you get started. A good 15 minutes of sniffing and exploring may be enough to calm them down for their photoshoot. You can also consider incorporating breaks into your photoshoot (if time allows) in order to let your pup relax and recharge. A patient approach will ensure that the experience is stress-free and enjoyable for everyone involved!

Including your pets in your family photos is a wonderful way to celebrate the bond and love that they bring to your household. These simple tips will help you create timeless and heartwarming memories that reflect the true essence of your family—furry family members included!

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