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Do you and your family want to have your dog or pets in your family portraits? If the answer is “Yes!”, here are some ways to make the photoshoot go smoothly with them.

Close up of dog in between pregnant mom and dad holding hands in Sacramento

First, evaluate your pet. Does your furry family member have the right personality for a photoshoot? Pets that are calm and patient will have an easier time following directions during your session. Your pet should like to be held and is friendly to strangers. 

Before the session, about a couple of weeks before the photoshoot, practice giving your pet commands. Make sure your dog is practiced on sit, stay and lay down as these will be the positions they will be in the most. Also, ask a friend or extended family member that knows your pet to come along. Your friend can watch your pet while we take a few photos without them.

The day before your family portraits, brush and wash your pet. We want them to look just as beautiful as you and your family in your images.

On the day of the photoshoot, make sure to exercise your pet. Exercise allows dogs to get all their energy out before the session, helping them maintain a calm presence. Also remember to bring your best-looking collar and leash.

Ensure all their needs are met, feed, and give them plenty of water. Most important, provide them with every opportunity to go potty before and during the portrait session. Praise them throughout the session and keep a positive attitude since this is a new experience for them.

Bring their favorite treats to help entice them to cooperate. Favorite toys can help, too. If you have toys that make squeaking noises, they are great for getting their attention when looking away, but I’ll bring a few, too.

The most important aspect to remember when having dog (or cat or turtle) in your pictures is that there’s a lot of playing it by (furry) ear. Sometimes things don’t go exactly to plan, but if something does go wrong, remember to stay calm as your dog’s energy will feed off your energy.

sacramento photographers who photograph dogs