Yellow lab during Seattle area family portrait session

Family Photos with Dogs: Prepare for a Seattle Portrait Session

follow Neyssa Lee

I am Neyssa Lee a Seattle area photographer, mom of 6, planning obsessed, and who help you see the beauty, love and joy, in your own family’s chaos. I also use my super power of time management to help fellow photographers take control of their businesses. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

What to Wear
Photo Tips
more categories

Hi, I'm Neyssa

Family loving on Cavalier King Charles Spaniel during Seattle family photo session

Including your dog in family portraits adds an extra layer of love and connection to your photos. I understand that incorporating dogs into a portrait session may raise concerns, but worry not! This article aims to provide you with helpful tips and guidance, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable photo session with your beloved canine companion. Your family photos with your dog can be a beautiful way to capture the entire family during this season of life.

As a lifestyle family photographer, my approach focuses on capturing authentic moments of joy and connection. To learn more about my photography style, feel free to explore my family portfolio and session information pages.

Family photo with dog, mom, and dad during Lake Sammamish photo session

Clothing Choices: Stand Out with Style while Considering Shedding

When preparing for a family photo session with your dog, it’s important to select clothing that sets you apart from your dog. For instance, wearing black when you have a black dog can make it challenging to distinguish between the two in the final photographs. Opt for colors that complement your dog’s coat while allowing you to stand out and be the focal point of the image.

Another thing, which may sound contradictory to what I just said above, is to consider shedding. If you have a white dog and wear black, snuggling and getting playful could mean white fur everywhere on your outfit. Another idea is to bring a lint roller, just in case.

Young woman walking with golden retriever at Meadowbrook Farm, North Bend, WA

Leave the Harness: Bring a Photo Worthy Leash

During the photo session, it’s advisable to have a leash that you don’t mind appearing in the photos. A regular leash (as opposed to the retractable kind) works best aesthetically and ensures your dog’s safety throughout the session. Leave the muzzle and harness at home for a natural and comfortable look. (Does anyone else picture Lady from Lady and the Tramp with the mention of a muzzle?)

As a bonus tip, remove any additional attachments from the leash. Poop bag holders are convenient, yet we want to maintain a clean and clutter-free appearance.

Playful family photos with dogs at Seattle area location

Cleanliness on Location Matters: Don’t Forget the Poop Bags for Family Photos with Dogs

While photographing families is important, leaving no trace at any outdoor location we use is vital. Please bring poop bags to clean up after your dog during the session. Rest assured, I am happy to hold the (unused) bag in my camera bag for your convenience. By keeping the location tidy, we create a pleasant environment for everyone involved and allow the focus to remain on capturing beautiful moments with your family.

Treats for a Successful Family Photo Session with Dogs

Bringing your dog’s favorite small treats is a fantastic way to keep them engaged and motivated during the photo session. Treats help capture photos of heartwarming moments of connection between your family and your dog. They can also be helpful for the one photo of the family and dog looking toward the camera. Choose easily manageable treats that won’t distract your dog for too long.

Golden retriever in the ocean during Seabrook portrait session with mom, dad, and little girl

Choosing the Right Location: Considering Your Dog’s Temperament

When selecting a location for your family photo session, it’s crucial to take your dog’s temperament into account. Some dogs are easily distracted or may have certain sensitivities. If you’re going to be stressed every time another dog passes, we will want to select a location that allows for spaces without other dogs around. If you’re dog is obsessed with swimming in the water but you don’t want her to get wet, we will want a location that does not have water access. So while Gold Creek Pond is beautiful, it may not be right for your family photos with your water-loving dog.

As an experienced photographer, I will guide you in finding a suitable location that suits your dog’s needs. Together, we’ll create a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere that allows genuine moments to unfold.

Yellow lab during Seattle area family portrait session

Arrive Early for a Smooth Start for Family Photos with Dogs

To set the stage for a successful photo session, I recommend arriving at least 15-20 minutes early. This allows one parent to help the dogs release their excess energy by taking them for a short walk on location.

Meanwhile, the other parent can focus on any last-minute preparations, such as brushing hair or adjusting outfits for the kids. This extra time helps everyone feel more relaxed and ready for a memorable session.

Family photos with beagle and little boy in North Bend, WA

Including your beloved dog in your family photos creates a more complete and meaningful representation of your love and joy.

By following these tips and guidelines, you can prepare for a successful and enjoyable portrait session with your furry friend. Remember, it’s not about achieving the perfectly posed shot; it’s about capturing the genuine smiles, laughter, and bonds that make your family truly special.

Start planning your session and explore the beautiful locations Seattle has to offer by downloading my free Seattle Locations for Family Photos Guide. Contact me today to schedule your family photo session, and let’s create cherished memories together.