Family photography sessions have evolved beyond just babies, kids, and mom & dad  to include our near and dear…family pets!  Pets are our most beloved family members, and many times our first babies!  So we want to include them in the love just as much as our real babies!  

      I absolutely love when my clients ask to include their pets in family sessions! Not only does it bring out my creative side, I also get to capture the genuine love and joy between ALL members of the family during these sessions, giving you a complete snapshot of this time in your family life 🙂 

      Here are some tips I have found to be helpful when working with owners and their pets as we embark (pun definitely intended) on a fun family photo session!

      Keep Calm and Bark On

      The most challenging aspect of family photography with pets is keeping your pet calm & cooperative for the session. Some easy ways to do this include , bringing familiar toys, and treats!!!! Let’s not forget the essentials.  If you have a very food motivated pet, trust me, treats can make all of the difference. Treats can grab your pets’ attention quicker than any command and keep it!

      Those of you who have worked with me know that I am all for bribery when trying to get difficult family members to cooperate for photos 🙂

      Location, Location, Location

      Choosing an appropriate location for your pet for your pet will make all the difference.  You know your pet,  and you know what location they can they handle…and what location they cannot handle.

      Like my lovely, big black lab Fiona….I loved her to pieces, and had all kinds of romanticized visions of taking her to the beach, or the lake, or on a boat…but the reality was….she would go absolutely bonkers when she saw water and would not rest until she was able to jump in and swim for hours…non stop.  I cannot tell you the countless disastrous stories I have when it came to Fiona & water. Needless to say…a location with water would not be a good choice for including her in our family photos.  So get where I’m going with this.

      When deciding on a location for your family photo session, consider if the setting will be conducive to bring your pet. Perhaps, in spring or fall and you would like to capture the blooming flowers or changing leaves, or maybe you love the beach and you want to be surrounded by sand and crashing waves – whichever you chose, also consider your pet.  Try to choose a location where your pet has visited before and may even be familiar with; this allows for your pet to be more acclimated to the environment and you will know what to expect from their behavior. 

      Let it go!!!!!!!

      Patience is key! Your pet will surely not behave exactly as expected or as an owner would hope with the many factors happening during a photography session, so deep breaths and laugh off the frustrating moments. Remember if you want the best shots for your pet session, try to focus on playing with them and don’t expect things to go perfectly.  

      Some helpful thoughts…rather than expecting your pet to come to you when you call, go to the pet and eliminate the frustration of them not obeying commands. Maybe get to the location earlier than your scheduled appointment to give your pet time to adjust to the new surroundings and get some wiggles out.  Just remember…relax, and go with the flow!

      All hands on deck!

      Pets don’t have to be included in every single one of your family photos!  A few is just fine.  So plan to have a plan for what your pet will do when they are not in the photos.  If the session is at your home, this is easy…they can go to their crate, another room or even outside.  But if you’re on location somewhere maybe grandma or a family friend could tag along to entertain your pup once they’ve had their turn being in the lime light 🙂

      If no grandma or family friend is available to help, just have a way to harness your pet somewhere nearby so they can be out of the shot, while still being close to the family, and remain safe while we finish the rest of your family session!


      Hope these tips help give you piece of mind & encouragement to get your fur babies in your family photo session 🙂