Have you ever thought about including your family dog in your newborn photo session? As a dog lover myself, I understand when families want to include their dog in their newborn pictures. I did exactly that for my own children, and those portraits are so special. In this blog post, read about my tips for planning a successful newborn baby and dog photography session.
Welcoming Newborn Baby Girl
This is Avery, a precious newborn who has a very loving fur-brother named Wally.
When planning the session, I asked the mom, “if I can capture a perfect image for you, what would that be?” She said, “A picture of our baby with Wally. Wally is a four-year-old toy poodle mix that we rescued 3 years ago.”
How to Prepare for a Newborn and Dog Photo Session
There are a few important things to prepare for to have a successful session with a dog. One of them is to have a toy or treat to draw their attention. Avery’s mom explained, “Wally is very friendly and obsessed with a particular brand of squeak balls. When you hold the ball up, his eyes will follow and it’s the only thing he’ll pay attention to.”
They actually forgot to bring that ball on the day of the session, but I immediately applied some skills that I learned from my experience volunteering at animal shelters to get Wally’s attention. Fortunately, they worked and Wally sat very well for photos! He was a supermodel!
As mentioned above, I highly recommend you bring one of the dog’s favorite toys or treats, or both. We can use it to draw their attention and offer a reward for good behavior.
I also recommend setting up your dog for success, especially bigger dogs, by making sure they are walked before the session. An exercised dog is a relaxed dog! My studio is located right by Jeffrey Trail, so families can arrive early before the appointment to walk their dog before we begin.
A visit to the groomer shortly before your session can also help your dog to look and feel its best!
Before the Session – Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby
In the days before your session, you should introduce your dog to your new baby. It is critical to be prepared to do this. In the 7-10 days between when your baby is born and your newborn session, you can watch how your dog behaves around your baby in a controlled environment. It is best to gradually introduce your dog to your baby so they can have a healthy relationship. Here’s an article with some helpful tips.
I have personal experience with this when introducing my dog to my babies. For example, during my first pregnancy I walked my dog with a stroller so that he would get used to it. I was also able to train him not to pull during this time, which is important for safety.
Once our baby was born, we started by introducing our dog to the baby’s scent by letting him sniff one of the baby’s blankets. This helped curb some of the surprise and excitement.
Prior to deciding whether to include your dog in your newborn session, please consider your dog’s behavior. You should be able to trust your dog around your new baby, so spend some time observing their interaction. The dog must also be able to sit and stay in order for us to have a successful session.
During the Session
The safety of your newborn will always be my highest priority. Therefore, I will ask you, as the parent, to always be right next to your baby and dog.
I may also photograph your dog and baby separately if I sense that the dog may be too excited. In this session, Wally was very relaxed, so I was able to photograph them together without any problem. However, if I sense any risk, such as dogs not wanting to stay calm, I will take their photos separately and composite the images.
Compositing the images means that I will use editing to combine the images of your dog and your baby into one photo. The final image is seamless, and you can’t tell it is edited at all! You can see an example here on my Instagram.
Learn More about Newborn Baby and Dog Photography
If you’re considering including your dog in your newborn session, please visit my resource page that has more information.
To learn more about booking a newborn session with me in general, please click here.