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Taking a Beautiful Family Photo with Dogs – 3 Things to Consider

You’ve committed to getting a pet photographer and are wondering – can I take a family photo with dogs? Why, yes! Just because we are pet photographers does not mean we can’t photograph the humans who love them too!



Our Goal in Taking Family Photo with Dogs

As pet photographers, our goal is usually deeper than just taking some photos. We want to tell a story, evoke emotion, and capture moments that hold within them important memories for years to come. In other words, we want to provide an experience – both for the dogs we photograph and for the people who love those dogs.

By taking a family photo with dogs, we can show the strong bond and relationship between you and help to create a story. This way, every time you take a look at your new metal canvas on the wall, you are brought back to that moment in time on the beach where your dog was acting all sorts of wild and silly pouncing around in the sand and trying to eat the waves. It evokes strong feelings of love, laughter, and happiness and helps to further cement those feelings towards your pets.

And it also affects the people that see the pictures as well. They’ll look at that beach photo and have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the relationship you have with your pets and it will help them feel closer to you. In fact, if they’re a dog lover themselves, they’ll feel a stronger sense of connection to you and a greater appreciation for dogs in general. No one can look at a photo of a dog like that and not feel warm and happy inside.

These kind of emotions and memories and feelings are the things us photographers are really aiming for in creating custom artwork for your home. We aim to make your connection to others (and your pets) even stronger (and vice-versa) while at the same time warming up the feeling of your home.

So let’s consider the following 3 things when taking family photos with dogs.

First – What Should I Wear in the Photos?

Good question! We recommend usually dressing up for the weather and being prepared for whatever may happen. So if you’re in California, that might just be shorts – all the time! But if you’re in Colorado, you never know what the weather might bring.

What to Wear for A Family Photo with Dogs

It is usually best to bring a variety of outfits that you can mix-and-match pieces of clothing with in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. If the weather gets too out of hand, we may have to reschedule the photoshoot entirely. Just remember – layering is always a safe bet!

We also recommend you accessorize a bit and have fun with your outfit! The entire goal of the photoshoot if to have a good time – let us photographers worry about the details! This is especially true if you are a part of a themed mini-session or want to dress up in different outfits at all.

What Not to Wear

It is also usually best to not wear super bright colors – like neon green or very bright red. But at the same time, you might not also want to go full goth either – pictures are supposed to be fun! The main thing is to not wear anything that will be too distracting or draw too much of the eye away from the main focus in the photo – the relationship and connection between you and your dogs!

When in doubt, talk to your photographer for some recommendations and ask any questions you may have on certain outfits. They will be glad to let you know if it’s OK to wear or not 🙂

Second – Do Family Photos with Dogs Require My Dogs to be Off-Leash?

Not at all! In fact, most of the time, we are going to ask that you bring a leash to the photoshoot (over a harness or lead). There are multiple reasons for this.

First of all, you will have control over your dog the entire time. This will make you feel much more at ease and it will ensure you, your pet, the photographer, and everyone involved is much safer in case your dog or someone else gets a little wild. It will also keep your dog from running away or running right into the street where they could be hit by a car – something we all very much want to avoid!

Second of all, the leash can easily be edited out of the photos afterwards, so you don’t need to worry about them showing up in the photos. The reason why we ask for you to bring a leash instead of a lead or harness is because a leash is much easier to edit out. Whereas something like a harness is much more difficult to edit out because it covers most of the dog’s body – and we might not be able to edit it al out!

Finally, it may help your dog to relax if they are easily frightened or easily distracted and want to chase after squirrels that run by. It helps them to maintain their focus throughout the photoshoot and can make the whole experience run much smoother.

Finally – What If My Dog Won’t Sit Still for Photos?

I know this a worry many people have when they consider pet photography. Many people think their dogs are too wild or have too much energy to remain posed and sit still for a long time – let alone for even a few seconds!

Well, not to worry! Us pet photographers have a few tricks up our sleeves.

Pet Photographer Tricks

Photographers only need a split moment to capture a crystal-clear photo of your dog. The reason for this is that most DSLR cameras can take a picture up to 1/8000th of a second – much faster than how fast a dog can move! In fact, for most action dog shots (where the dog is running or chasing after a ball or something), the fastest photo a photographer will need to take is around 1/1000th – 1/2000th of a second – much slower than the 1/8000th of a second speed that is possible with modern cameras!

In fact, most photographers will likely want to do some action shots of your dog anyways – so if the dog has a lot of energy that is perfect OK! We will structure the photoshoot so that we can wear down your dog’s energy a bit with action shots before we move into the family photos with dogs. This way, they’ll be a bit calmer too.

So now you know the 3 things to consider when taking family photos with dogs! Don’t let any of these be a reason you hesitate to take a family photo with your beloved pet – in fact, we will encourage it! 😀

Written By – CJ Ashmore (Owner, Photographer)

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