Incorporating Dogs in Holiday Photos: Tips and Tricks


November 8, 2023

I’m a huge advocate for including dogs in holiday photos. As dog lovers, we understand that our four-legged companions are cherished members of the family. Their presence brings an extra layer of warmth and joy to our lives. Including them in your holiday photos not only creates cherished memories, but it also celebrates the bond you share. I’ll share some invaluable tips and tricks to seamlessly incorporate your beloved dogs into your holiday photos.

While it can be a bit challenging, especially with children, with a little preparation and patience, you can capture heartwarming moments that will be treasured for years to come. I’ve felt that pang of regret when we’ve left our fur babies out of our destination holiday pictures because to me, they’re not just pets, they’re my kids. That’s why, when we’re traveling, I’ve come up with a special solution to include them. Our pups get their own dedicated photo session and then we include both our photos on our holiday card.

So, don’t hesitate to include your furry friends in your holiday traditions—they’re not just pets; they’re cherished family members deserving of a place in your most cherished memories.

Tips & Tricks for Including Your Dogs in Your Holiday Photos

1. Preparation is Key

Before the photo session, ensure your pup is comfortable and well-exercised. A tired dog is more likely to cooperate and stay calm during the shoot. Additionally, have their favorite treats or toys on hand for positive reinforcement.

2. Choose the Right Location

Opt for a comfortable environment they can run around in and make sure that is dog friendly. You don’t want a lot of distractions for your dog, because well…SQUIRREL!!

3. Enlist Help

Have a friend or family member assist during the photo session. This is a game changer and my number 1 tip! This extra pair of hands can help manage your pup, keep them engaged, and ensure everyone looks their best. It also allows you to include the dog in some, but not all the photos.

4. Use Treats and Toys

Okay actually, this might be my biggest tip – bring your dogs favorite treats and even favorite toy. Anything that the photographer can use to get their attention. I also like to know ahead of time what their favorite words are and I will yell them out during the shoot. It always produces the best looks, smiles and head tilts.

5. Give Them Their Moment

Just like any other family member, your dog deserves their own special photo session. Set aside some time specifically for capturing their unique personality and charm.

6. Embrace Imperfections

Dogs, especially puppies, can be unpredictable. Embrace their quirks and imperfections — these candid moments often become the most cherished memories.

7. Focus on the Photographer, Not the Dog

I use this for both dogs and children. I tell the adults just keep smiling and looking at me. It’s my job to grab your dogs (or children’s) attention and when I do it’ll be a quick snap. So it’s best when the adults are already prepared and smiling at me. Nothing worse than the perfect dog photo and dog parents are looking down or distracted trying to also get the dogs attention.

8. Safety First

Ensure the environment is safe for your dog. Avoid any potential hazards or situations that might cause stress or discomfort. Things to avoid: Noises or lots of people. You want to make sure it’s dog-friendly, not only just the rules of the area and overall safety, but also with distractions.

9. Be Patient and Calm

Patience is key when working with pets. If they become anxious or distracted, take a moment to soothe them and bring them back to focus before continuing. Just like kids, I don’t recommend yelling, scolding or any kind of abuse.

You Will Be SO Happy You Included Them

Remember, a photograph captures a moment, but the love and joy of your furry family member will be felt forever. Bring your dog to your family holiday photos or lets schedule something special just for them!


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