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Tips for Including Your Dogs In Your Engagement Session // DMV Wedding Photographer

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I always tell my clients, “Your engagement session is about capturing their love story in this fleeting season.” When I photograph couples, I want their true selves to come out. Sometimes, that means including their fur babies! I am a big animal lover. Cats, of course, hold my heart most, but show me a pup and I’m melting. But animals can be unpredictable or hyper. So I thought I’d share some sure fire tips for including your dog in your engagement session without regretting it!

Location: Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland. 

Want to include your dogs in your engagement session? Read this blog! I share tips for making it fun, stress-free, and ensuring your photos come out amazing! 

#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer

Tip #1: Bring a Dog Handler to your Engagement Session.

You don’t need a professional dog handler. Just ask a friend or family member who is familiar with your dog. This person will be in charge of holding the dog’s leash in between photos if your pup needs a break. Photo sessions ask a lot of a dog. Sometimes they need time to regroup, or perhaps you want some photos with and some without the pup!

In fact, whenever I have a couple who wants to include their dogs in an engagement session, I recommend doing half the session with the dogs and half without. That allows you to get the photos you’re dreaming of without the session becoming all about the pups. After all, your engagement session is about YOU! It is a celebration of this new season of life you’ve entered before you become husband and wife. You’ll see the engagement session here for Chad and Liz did just that — included their pups Joanna and Chip but then let their engagement shine after Liz’s sister took the dogs home.

Location: Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland. 

Want to include your dogs in your engagement session? Read this blog! I share tips for making it fun, stress-free, and ensuring your photos come out amazing! 

#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer

Tip #2: Bring Dog Toys and Treats to Your Engagement Session.

Your pup deserves a small reward whenever we get “the shot.” Treats are a great way to keep your dog motivated. And toys are key to getting him/her to look at my camera. Having a squeaky toy or their favorite ball held above my head is an easy bribe for a photogenic dog. Your handler friend can help hold up toys or tease treats while I work, so my hands are free to work my camera.

An engagement session at Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland. 

Want to include your dogs in your engagement session? Read this blog! I share tips for making it fun, stress-free, and ensuring your photos come out amazing! 

#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer

Tip #3: Avoid neon or distracting colored leashes or costumes.

Just like choosing your own outfits, what your dog wears can contribute greatly to the quality of your images. Bright, neon colors are common in dog supplies. But they cast unsightly colors onto your skin and their fur, which is tough to edit out.

Also, if you’re looking for an elevated look in your images, I would avoid silly costumes. I’m a sucker for a good bowtie collar or bow in the ears, but beyond that, dog costumes can get tacky super fast. Consider the occasion and make it special by keeping accessories to a minimum for your fur baby.

A portrait of a corgi at a Historic London Town & Gardens photo session by a Maryland wedding photographer

Tip #4: Come Prepared for Frequent Breaks.

If we’re walking around a park or city streets, your dog is going to think they’re on a walk. So don’t be surprised when they… how should I say… pop a squat! (haha) Make sure you bring poop bags!

Also, if it’s warm or we’re out for a while, you may need to bring a water bottle and a bowl to give your pup a water break. I’ll help watch for excessive panting to indicate we should give them some extra water, so don’t worry about that. Keep your eyes where I pose you, and I’ll take care of watching out for your fur baby.

All this to say, frequent breaks are NORMAL for engagement sessions with your dog. Embrace them, have some patience with your dog, and trust me!

A portrait of a corgi at a Historic London Town & Gardens photo session by a Maryland wedding photographer
Location: Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland. 

Want to include your pups in your engagement session? Read this blog! I share tips for making it fun, stress-free, and ensuring your photos come out amazing! 

#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer

Tip #5: Set Your Expectations According to Your Dog’s Typical Behavior.

Despite all of our best efforts, sometimes dogs are just dogs. If your pup is usually a ham at home, they might be a ham at your engagement session. If your dog is a hyper maniac at home, he/she will probably be no better behaved when we’re at a park squeaking toys and teasing treats for an hour.

You know your dog best. I know Pinterest is tempting to believe that dogs magically behave when a camera is present, but I’m a photographer not a dog trainer. I can only capture what is there, unfortunately. I’ll do my best to make this an easy and stress-free experience, but if you worry your dog will cooperate, maybe consider if the risk is worth the reward and leave them home.

If leaving them at home is not an ideal option, consider the location. If your dog needs time to run, let’s have your session at a public park where that behavior is acceptable. Or if your pup is a bit lazier and won’t want to walk a ton, avoid the mountain hike engagement session and opt for a residential street in your city. The session featured in this post was taken at Historic London Town & Gardens, which was private and full of spots for the pups walk around with us. If you’re unsure, I’m happy to help you find the perfect spot for your engagement session!

Location: Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland with their dog included. 

Want to include your puppies in your engagement session? Read this blog! I share tips for making it fun, stress-free, and ensuring your photos come out amazing! 

#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
Location: Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland. 

Want to include your fur babies in your engagement session? Read this blog! I share tips for making it fun, stress-free, and ensuring your photos come out amazing! 

#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
Location: Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland. 

Want to include your dogs in your engagement session? Read this blog! I share tips for making it fun, stress-free, and ensuring your photos come out amazing! 

#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
Location: Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland. 

Want to include your dogs in your engagement session? Read this blog! I share tips for making it fun, stress-free, and ensuring your photos come out amazing! 

#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
An engagement session at Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland. 

Want to include your fur baby in your engagement session? Read this blog! I share tips for making it fun, stress-free, and ensuring your photos come out amazing! 

#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
Oval solitaire diamond engagement ring with gold band | engagement ring | oval engagement ring | engagement session inspo | engagement photo inspo | Maryland wedding photographer | destination wedding photographer
An engagement session at Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland. 

Want to include your puppies in your engagement session? Read this blog! I share tips for making it fun, stress-free, and ensuring your photos come out amazing! 

#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
An engagement session at Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland. 

Want to include your pet in your engagement session? Read this blog! I share tips for making it fun, stress-free, and ensuring your photos come out amazing! 

#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
An engagement session at Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland. 

Want to include your pup in your engagement session? Read this blog! I share tips for making it fun, stress-free, and ensuring your photos come out amazing! 

#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
An engagement session at Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland. 

Want to include your pup in your engagement session? Read this blog! I share tips for making it fun, stress-free, and ensuring your photos come out amazing! 

#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
An engagement session at Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland by Annapolis wedding photographer.

This gallery is a perfect example of how to dress for your fall engagement session. Check it out on the blog for fall outfit inspo.
#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
An engagement session at Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland by Annapolis wedding photographer.

This gallery is a perfect example of how to dress for your fall engagement session. Check it out on the blog for fall outfit inspo.
#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
Oval solitaire diamond engagement ring with gold band | engagement ring | oval engagement ring | engagement session inspo | engagement photo inspo | Maryland wedding photographer | destination wedding photographer
An engagement session at Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland by Annapolis wedding photographer.

This gallery is a perfect example of how to dress for your fall engagement session. Check it out on the blog for fall outfit inspo.
#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
An engagement at Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland by Annapolis wedding photographer.

This gallery is a perfect example of how to dress for your fall engagement session. Check it out on the blog for fall outfit inspo.
#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
An engagement at Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland with their dog included. 

Want to include your dogs in your engagement session? Read this blog! I share tips for making it fun, stress-free, and ensuring your photos come out amazing! 

#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
An engagement at Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland by Annapolis wedding photographer.

This gallery is a perfect example of how to dress for your fall engagement session. Check it out on the blog for fall outfit inspo.
#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
Oval solitaire diamond engagement ring with gold band | engagement ring | oval engagement ring | engagement session inspo | engagement photo inspo | Maryland wedding photographer | destination wedding photographer
An engagement session at Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland by Annapolis wedding photographer.

This gallery is a perfect example of how to dress for your fall engagement session. Check it out on the blog for fall outfit inspo.
#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
Location: Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland by Annapolis wedding photographer.

This gallery is a perfect example of how to dress for your fall engagement session. Check it out on the blog for fall outfit inspo.
#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
Oval solitaire diamond engagement ring with gold band | engagement ring | oval engagement ring | engagement session inspo | engagement photo inspo | Maryland wedding photographer | destination wedding photographer
An engagement session at Historic London Town & Gardens in Maryland by Annapolis wedding photographer.

This gallery is a perfect example of how to dress for your fall engagement session. Check it out on the blog for fall outfit inspo.
#marylandweddingphotographer #dmvweddingphotographer
Oval solitaire diamond engagement ring with gold band | engagement ring | oval engagement ring | engagement session inspo | engagement photo inspo | Maryland wedding photographer | destination wedding photographer
Oval solitaire diamond engagement ring with gold band | engagement ring | oval engagement ring | engagement session inspo | engagement photo inspo | Maryland wedding photographer | destination wedding photographer
Oval solitaire diamond engagement ring with gold band | engagement ring | oval engagement ring | engagement session inspo | engagement photo inspo | Maryland wedding photographer | destination wedding photographer
A waterfront engagement session | engagement session on a dock | engagement session Potomac river | bayside engagement session | Eastern Shore engagement session | Maryland wedding photographers | DMV wedding photographers
A waterfront engagement session | engagement session on a dock | engagement session Potomac river | bayside engagement session | Eastern Shore engagement session | Maryland wedding photographers | DMV wedding photographers
A waterfront engagement session | engagement session on a dock | engagement session Potomac river | bayside engagement session | Eastern Shore engagement session | Maryland wedding photographers | DMV wedding photographers | engagement outfit inspiration | fall engagement session | spring engagement session | summer engagement session
A waterfront engagement session | engagement session on a dock | engagement session Potomac river | bayside engagement session | Eastern Shore engagement session | Maryland wedding photographers | DMV wedding photographers | engagement outfit inspiration | fall engagement session | spring engagement session | summer engagement session
Oval solitaire diamond engagement ring with gold band | engagement ring | oval engagement ring | engagement session inspo | engagement photo inspo | Maryland wedding photographer | destination wedding photographer
A waterfront engagement session | engagement session on a dock | engagement session Potomac river | bayside engagement session | Eastern Shore engagement session | Maryland wedding photographers | DMV wedding photographers | engagement outfit inspiration | fall engagement session | spring engagement session | summer engagement session
Historic London Town & Gardens Engagement Session | Maryland & DMV Wedding Photographer

Looking for outfit inspiration for your fall engagement session? Check out the images from Liz and Chad's photo session near Annapolis, MD.
Historic London Town & Gardens Engagement Session | Maryland & DMV Wedding Photographer
Historic London Town & Gardens Engagement Session | Maryland & DMV Wedding Photographer
Historic London Town & Gardens Engagement photos | Maryland & DMV Wedding Photographer
Historic London Town & Gardens Engagement photos | Maryland & DMV Wedding Photographer
Historic London Town & Gardens Engagement photos | Maryland & DMV Wedding Photographer
Historic London Town & Gardens Engagement photos | Maryland & DMV Wedding Photographer
Historic London Town & Gardens Engagement photos | Maryland & DMV Wedding Photographer

Want more tips like this as you plan for your special day? Read more of my blog posts below:

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