Evergreen Studios

Incorporating Pets into Family Photography Sessions in NYC

Example of a family photography session that includes their dog alongside their newborn.

Being a dog mom myself, I understand the importance and challenges of including pets in family sessions. Whenever I have a family with a pet, we have a chat to see what is most important to them and what we can make happen.

Now, let’s talk about the pros of bringing your pet along for the photoshoot:

  • Pets have a way of injecting personality and charm into family portraits. From their silly shenanigans to gentle cuddles to soulful stares, their unique quirks really bring out genuine emotions from its humans; big and small.
  • Whether it’s a playful romp in the park or a cozy cuddle on the bed, including your pet in your family photoshoot session captures the true essence of your family dynamic. And because you hired a family photographer to capture it for you, all the members of the family will be in the pictures together.
  • Pets are more than just animals – they’re beloved members of the family who offer unwavering love and companionship. Including them in your family photos is a beautiful way to celebrate the bond you share with your fur baby and immortalize them as part of your pack forever.
  • They make for excellent ice breakers. If you have social anxiety and the idea of doing a family photoshoot makes you feel a little nervous, incorporating your pet will allow you to take the focus off yourself or have an easy distraction at least at the start of the session when you may feel you need it most.

But let’s be real – there are some challenges too:

  • Sometimes, a family will have their eye on a session location that just isn’t dog-friendly, and a decision has to be made. Do you forget about that epic location you’ve been envisioning for your beautiful family photographs and leave your pet behind, or do you settle on a different location to accommodate your fur baby? It’s a tough trade-off for sure, but if you must have that location, remember, you can always do a different shoot that includes your pet in the near future.
  • Some pets are harder to work with than others and may stress the family out more in the process. It can be that much more overwhelming to add a pet into the mix. If that sounds like your dog, perhaps giving him or her a nice log walk before the session may be just the perfect solution to calming it down in time for your session.
  • Depending on the location that your family photoshoot will take place, it’s possible that your dog may get dirty or wet so in addition to having to feed and bathe your kids after the session, you may also have to shower your dog. This might not be a huge deal, but surely adds to the load of responsibilities when you may be tired from a full on day.
  • Some families make dinner plans for after the shoot and having a dog with you will limit your options. Depending on time of year, there may be plenty of outdoor seating options, but if you have a specific place in mind that isn’t going to accommodate your pet, that is something to consider.

But fear not! Here are some tips for a successful photoshoot with your pet:

When planning your photoshoot in NYC, consider locations that are pet-friendly and offer plenty of space for your furry companion to roam and be far from other dogs, people and things that may grab their attention or upset them.

Bring Treats: Treats are essential for keeping your pet engaged and cooperative during the photoshoot. Be sure to pack plenty of your pet’s favorite snacks to keep them happy and entertained. High value treats are fantastic for this occasion! Make sure only one person handles the treats so the dog knows where they’re coming from at all times.

Enlist a friend or extended family member to help. Have them come along with you so that they can take your pet from you once your doggy had a chance to be in a good amount of pictures with you.

Incorporating pets into family portraits is not without its challenges, but the joys far outweigh the obstacles. As a family photographer in NYC, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the special bond between families and their beloved pets, and I’m always amazed by the love and laughter they bring to every photoshoot. So let’s capture those precious moments with your whole family – because those memories? They’re priceless.

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