Before she started photographing them at weddings, Lisa Boggs snapped shots of family pets at a photo studio in Manassas—because no holiday card is complete without your pooch! Here are her tips.
Pick a calm portion of the day.
In a typical wedding-day timeline, the fewest distractions arise during the getting-ready process, the first look, and pre-ceremony portraits. You won’t be too rushed, and your furry friend should be more cooperative.
Be smart about the location.
Look for a quiet, clean, and chaos-free environment. If you’re indoors, keep one room tidy and sparse so your pet feels relaxed for a photo session in that space. If outside, find a quiet area or park that’s less trafficked by cars and people to keep your dog focused on you and your photographer.
Practice in advance.
Try out poses with your pet, and learn which foods and toys keep their interest for long periods (you’ll want to bring those with you on the wedding day). I’ve made monkey sounds to get an animal to look at the camera. It’s not a noise dogs typically hear, so they’re confused and look at you, which is perfect for photos.
Try key strategies.
Get as physically close to your dog as possible in photos—it creates a better connection between you and your pet. If your dog is small, hold it in your arms at chest level. For maximum cuteness, you can bring it closer to your face so it might lick your cheek and create a reaction. For a larger dog, I suggest crouching down so your heads are close. If you’re worried about messing up your wedding-day look, keep the dog on a leash and walk around for photos. Dogs like the activity, plus they tend to “smile” more when they get their heart rate up.
Designate a caretaker.
Even the best-trained dogs are going to be overstimulated by the day’s activity, so they need to be tended to at all times. Put a close family member or friend who knows your pet in charge of the dog, and give instructions about feeding times, what treats the dog may have, and where the dog should be throughout the festivities.