Today, The Wedding Yentas is excited to have Peggy, a beautiful bride-to-be, share her experience posing for engagement photos and how she prepared for them. Peggy and her fiance, Dave, are planning a wedding in the mountains of Southern California in beautiful Big Bear. Their June wedding is a celebration of two people from different backgrounds coming together to live life as one. Peggy is looking forward to partaking in Jewish traditions from Dave’s heritage and loves the many special chapters of Jewish weddings.
The day was finally here! No, not THE Big Day, but the other big day. The dress rehearsal with the wedding photographer, otherwise known as the engagement photo shoot! Let me tell you, it was a busy time leading up to the shoot: scouring over ideas for engagement pictures, sorting out props, searching for the perfect outfit, working out (uhh, OK sort of). Well, amidst the engagement shoot preparations, Dave and I knew one thing was certain: our dog was going to be part of it.
His name is Ali. He is our three-year-old German Boxer and he stole our hearts the minute we laid eyes on him. We couldn’t imagine taking pictures without him because he is such an important part of our lives. We aren’t unlike many couples who decide to include their beloved furry friend in the engagement session. But, like the old-time movie actor W.C. Fields once said, “never work with kids or animals” because they are unpredictable! And it’s not that the photos turned out badly — they’re great! — but working with an animal definitely adds another level of stress and complication. But that doesn’t mean I regret including our dog in our shoot or that I suggest you leave your pooch at home.
This begs the all-important question: how do you create the optimal photo session for your dog while letting your pet’s personality shine?
No one knows your pet better than you. But here are some “ohhh, I wish I would have thought of that” tips to ensure some amazing pictures with your favorite four-legged friend:
- Start your photo-shoot with your pet. Interacting with your fur ball relaxes not only you, but sets a fun, comfortable atmosphere for the rest of the session.
- Go to your local thrift store to find items that reflect your pet’s personality. Resist the urge to spend an entire doggy arm and a leg on your pet’s accessories or outfit. There is no need! I picked up a Boy Scouts bandana for our little boy from a thrift store.
- Pack a bag of snacks for your pet. Not only will it help get his attention, but it’ll make your life easier in case the shoot runs late.
- Pack a bag of snacks you and your dog can share. Put the snack in your mouth and have him sniff your face. It’ll make for a perfect puppy kiss photo.
- Understand the leash policy. Is your location in a public place? Can dogs be off leash? The beach may be your favorite place in the world, but having a dog off leash at a “no dogs allowed beach” might cost you a pretty penny in penalties. Don’t spend any time worrying about spotting a police officer because you’re unsure about the policy. It will show in your pictures. Research in advance any prohibitions against pets. You wouldn’t want to cut your photo-shoot short; your session will be over before you know it!
- Arrive to your location at least 30 minutes early. Play with your dog and let him run around and explore the area before the photographer arrives. It’s the perfect amount of time to let the dog’s energy out, yet not enough to wear him out.
- Bring a friend to take care of your pet while you take pictures for the rest of the photo shoot. Imagine a picture of you and your fiancé with a basket full of puppies or kittens? It would be adorable! Make sure someone, other than the photographer is there, to take them once you’re done. Leaving them in the car unsupervised isn’t a good idea. You wouldn’t want to have Sunny the dog chew and tear the inside of your car, would ya?
- Let the photographer know you will include your pet so he can accommodate Fido. Ask your photographer to bring noise-makers he or she usually uses to get a baby’s attention during photo-shoots. Dogs love sounds. Don’t you love the look on your dog’s face when he hears something funny? He stands alert, ears perked! These made for the perfect pictures with our dog.</li)
- Pack your pet’s bag of props and goodies the night before. I know you are thinking, “I’ll have time for this before the photo-shoot.” Trust me; you will be pre-occupied, rushing to get everything perfect. Save yourself some anxiety and pack the night before. It’s one less thing to think about.
- Most importantly… enjoy it! Be yourself! It’s all about you, your fiancé, and the furry friend that furtively snuggles into your bed while you sleep!