Are you considering bringing your dog along to your engagement photoshoot? It’s easy to see why engagement photos with dogs are so appealing. You, the love of your life, and your sweet pup...it doesn’t get much cuter than that!

Tips for taking the best engagement photos with dogs

However, having a dog at your photoshoot can require some extra planning beforehand to ensure everything goes smoothly. These are my top tips for how to take engagement photos with dogs, speaking as both an engagement photographer and a dog owner!

#1 - Groom your pup beforehand

First, you’ll want to make sure your dog is groomed to your liking before your engagement photoshoot. If you’re going to take your dog to a professional groomer, you may want to schedule the appointment for a day or two before your engagement shoot. That way you won’t have as much to worry about on the day of your shoot. Plus, getting groomed can be stressful for dogs or make them extra anxious, which is not the vibe you want for your photos.

You should also plan your pet’s photoshoot outfit, or at least the collar and leash you plan to use. The biggest thing to consider is whether your dog’s collar and/or leash will clash with you and your fiancé’s outfits. Make sure all three of you are somewhat color-coordinated. 

#2 - Dress appropriately 

On a similar note, you’ll want to pick engagement photoshoot outfits that show off your style and allow you to play comfortably with your dog. For example, a super formal suit or dress probably isn’t the best if you want to run around in the park or get down on the ground with your pup.

A couple walking their dogs along a park path during their engagement shoot by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

Additionally, if your dog sheds a lot, be cautious about wearing something that shows pet fur. Just to be safe, you can always bring a lint roller!

#3 - Let your photographer know beforehand

When taking engagement photos with dogs, it’s always best to let your engagement photographer know in advance. Giving the photographer a heads up beforehand allows them to be better prepared for your shoot and plan for dog-specific photos. Plus, your photographer will probably have some great tips on dog-friendly locations, cute photo ideas, and more! 

#4 - Choose photoshoot locations that are dog friendly

My next tip on taking engagement photos with dogs is to choose locations that are dog friendly. You don’t want to waste precious time (and daylight) by going to a photo shoot location and discovering that it doesn’t allow dogs once you get there.

Some photoshoot locations don’t have any specific rules against dogs but still aren’t necessarily dog-friendly. If your dog barks a lot around people or gets really worked up in busy places, crowded locations with lots of people probably aren’t good spots for your engagement photos. Rather, it may be best to choose a location that is more spacious and quiet, such as the gorgeous, lush Zilker Botanical Garden in Austin, Texas. 

As you choose photoshoot locations, consider what would work best with your dog’s personality, and do some research to ensure your chosen spots do allow dogs. 

#5 - Do activities that your dog loves

It’s also helpful to plan to do activities that your dog loves for your engagement photoshoot. Going for a walk, playing fetch at the park, or playing at the beach are popular activities people choose for engagement photos with dogs. After all, these are the kinds of things you would do with your dog normally so it’s where your dog will feel most comfortable. This is the sweet spot where we can get some of the cutest, most fun photo opportunities.

Furthermore, keeping your dog(s) moving will help them get all their extra energy out, so they’ll be more relaxed during the shoot.

#6 - Snuggle up!

Don’t worry, even though engagement photos with dogs are largely about getting those candid, in-action shots, your photographer will also be sure to get some great portrait-style photos of you and your fiancé cuddling with your dog. Be ready to pet your dog, pick him or her up, and give a good ear-scratch! The more you snuggle your dog, the more likely we are to capture some great photos. Dogs wear their emotions on their sleeve, so their happiness from your cuddles will be super evident in your engagement photos. 

#7 - Don’t forget to bring treats

Your sweet pup will definitely deserve a reward for coming to your engagement photoshoot, so don’t forget to bring some treats along. You might want to bring one of your dog’s favorite toys, too. These items can really help if your dog is getting antsy or anxious during your shoot.

Engaged couple kiss as they walk during their engagement photos with dogs by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

You may even want to bring some extra dog food to your engagement shoot if it’s around your dog's mealtime. Dogs can definitely get hangry, which is not a good match for taking engagement photos!

#8 - Consider bringing a dog sitter along

Another one of the best tips for taking engagement photos with dogs is to consider bringing along a dog sitter. Realistically, you aren’t going to want your dog in every single one of your engagement photos. Most couples only spend about 15-30 minutes taking engagement photos with dogs. This timeframe is about as long as the average dog’s attention span lasts during a photoshoot, anyway.

Your engagement photographer will be busy taking pictures, so they probably won’t be able to watch your dog when taking shots of just the two of you. This is why I recommend bringing along a friend to watch your dog during the shoot. After you’re done taking pictures with your dog, your friend will be there to play with your pup while you take the rest of your dreamy and romantic photos. 

#9 - Go with the flow and have fun!

Finally, the most important part of taking engagement photos with dogs is to have fun! If your dog isn’t behaving perfectly or gets anxious, that’s okay! The best thing you can do is go with the flow and simply enjoy spending this time with your fiancé and your dog. Think of it as family time, just with a photographer in tow! 

The less pressure you put on yourself and your dog, the more conducive the setting will be for getting those great photos you really want. You never know... sometimes those unexpected goofs make for the most fun and unique photos.

Now you know how to take amazing engagement photos with dogs!

And that’s it! You now know all of the essential tips and tricks for taking amazing engagement photos with dogs. Bringing your dog to your photoshoot will give you the most special engagement photos that you will cherish forever!

If you want to learn even more about how to plan an incredible engagement photo shoot, check out this guide for even more engagement shoot tips!

Engaged? Congrats! Let's talk about ways to incorporate your furry loved one in your engagement photo shoot!

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An engaged couple cuddle their pups during their engagement shoot. Images by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen. Images overlaid with text that reads 9 Tips for Taking The Best Engagement Photos With Dogs.
Engaged couple kiss while posing with their dogs during their engagement shoot. Image by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

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