We are huge animal lovers and obviously have more than a handful of fur and feather babies. I’ve worked and volunteered in rescue for years, so it’s a huge part of who I am. I love that kids and grown ups both enjoy visiting us at home because of all the extra love they get at our house. Our pets are a huge part of our daily lives, so when deciding on our engagement photo shots, involving them was just a given.
The dogs could tell we were excited and trying to do something that wasn’t the norm, so they were pretty amped before we even got started. When we hopped in the car to leave our house for a round of shots on our neighbor’s property, they were not interested in being left behind. We ended up having to load all three of them in the car with us, the photographer, her equipment and all of my props. Our photographer can be quoted as saying, “Well, this is a first!” She is obviously the most patient photographer I have ever met!
Here’s my advice (and what I would do differently next time!) for anyone who wants to make memories with your entire family:
1. Make sure your pets are into it.
We have a cat named James Franco who didn’t make an appearance. He wasn’t having any part of the photos, so clearly it wasn’t super easy to round them all up. I knew I didn’t want a picture where we were all scrambling to get them to stay still and the cat was unhappy… Basically you know your pets. If they are vehemently against the photo shoot, it’s not going to work well for anyone.
2. Bribery works!
Have treats for them ready so that when you have to change venues or it’s time for non-animal shots, you can easily lure them back to a confined area. This is pet photos 101- I was just so excited about the pictures I forgot to do the basics and my pets could tell I was off my game. Haha.
3. Ask for help.
Consider having an extra set of hands on site to help you with the pets when they aren’t supposed to be in certain photos. It would have helped a lot if we could have just handed them off to someone they already knew so that we could focus on what the photographer wanted from us. We will definitely be doing that for the wedding day.
4. Pin it!
Pinterest! I got so many great photo ideas from Pinterest- even several that involved the chickens! It was great to have a visual example to be able to pull up on my phone or laptop to show our photographer. It got us on the same page as far as the look I was wanting.
5. Just relax and enjoy.
Have fun! And don’t worry if the pictures don’t turn out exactly like you hoped. We only got about 1/4 of the photos I had in mind due to the dogs and chickens not being perfect models, but we were all laughing the entire time. At the end of the day, that’s why the pictures turned out exactly how I hoped. Not because of perfectly-timed shots, but because it was a great reflection of who Matt and I are. I love that about our new photos the most.
While it wasn’t super easy, I absolutely adore our pictures with our pets. I will cherish them forever and those pictures wouldn’t have been “us” without them in it.
Images by Erin Goodrich.
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