How to Successfully Include Pets in Family Photos | Boston Family Photographer

Family of five with two dogs at Acton Arboretum. Family photographer in Acton, Massachusetts.

Since some of you have DM’d me “crazy dog lady” memes, I’m guessing it’s pretty obvious that I love my pets. And I know that lots of you do, too!

Photo shoots with pets present always have a certain amount of levity. In Greater Boston, we tend to take dog grooming pretty seriously—but, let’s face it, our pets are as goofy as they are gorgeous!

But they’re also wiggly! So here are a few tips for getting your cats and dogs to cooperate during family photo sessions.

Using treats to get corgi in Boston family photos. Sudbury family photographer / pet photographer.

Treats! Treats! Treats!

The fluffy creature above is my dog, Kona. If you want her undivided attention, all you have to do is utter the word “cookie” and her big radar dish ears aim themselves toward you. For food motivated pets, it’s so important to bring high value treats to the sessions.

What do I mean by “high value”? Something extra tasty, and if your dogs are anything like mine, smelly. It might be something they don’t get often. My bigger dog, Louie, isn’t that interested in most dog treats but he LOVES rotisserie chicken.

Mother and toddler playing with golden retriever in the snow at Old North Bridge. Concord family photography.

Let Them Play

A lot of times, people come in with the expectation that their pets are going to be perfectly happy to sit and face the camera—and most just aren’t that interested in doing that.

Let’s face it: EVERYONE looks better when they’re having fun rather than posing. Pets included!

Get them in on the action by giving them a stick, bringing toys, or having them do tricks. Oftentimes, these are the favorite photos from the session.

Moody lifestyle photo of woman snuggling her cat. Boston pet photographer.

Know Their Limits

While I’m a dog lady, my dear friend Kristin is a total cat lady, and each year we plan her cat themed Christmas card. This year, she desperately wanted to dress up both of her cats, Sammie and Ginger.

Alas, Ginger was not having it!

So we let her be. And truthfully, those are some of my favorite photos of the bunch. Animals will do what they want to do and no more, so I always think it’s best to roll with their whims.

Parents sitting on rocker with toddler in Melrose, MA. Sweet grey pitbull sleeping on the rug at their feet. Boston family photographer.

Stop Paying Attention

When all else fails, turning your attention away from your pets can get them really interested in being in the photos.

I don’t mean that you should neglect them completely, just stop trying to get them to do anything.

Like most kids, this makes them much more interested in being the center of attention again!

I can’t wait to capture your whole family—four legged members, included!—soon!