How to take family photos with your dog

Several people have asked us how we manage to get such great pictures of us with our dog without having someone behind the camera. So I thought I would share some of our trademark moves for getting great shots. πŸ™‚

family photos with dog

I should begin this by acknowledging that some of you have very well trained dogs who will sit and stay exactly where you tell them to until you give them a release command making photo-taking a piece of cake. This post is not as much for you, haha! Our dog will sit and stay as long as he is facing us (because that’s how we trained him). Which is great for nearly all circumstances… except when we are trying to take photos and want him to face away from us (and toward the camera). So here are some of our solutions:

1. The absolutely ideal situation for us would be to have an actual photographer (someone behind the camera) and a second person who could stand just outside the frame of the photo to keep Oreo’s attention. However, since that’s not always possible, we’ve begun to learn the ins and outs of using a tripod and remote for our little family photo sessions. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Timers are great on cameras if all your subjects are adults, but if you add children or pets – having a remote that can take photo-after-photo without having to run back and forth to the camera is such a time saver!

tripod and remoteOur remote and tripod. The tripod is a 72″ Velbon 5000 which belonged to Christopher when he was a teen. It’s an amazing tripod! Great quality especially compared to some of the inexpensive ones we’ve bought and subsequently broken.

2. Wear clothes you are comfortable in, but also that you don’t mind getting a little fur on. Chances are good at least one of you will end up wrangling the dog at some point which will result in fur on a shirt/dress. It’s not likely to show up in photos (at least it never has for us), but you want to be sure you aren’t wearing something that needs to be dry cleaned.

family picFor this particular photo session we chose machine-washable summery clothes that would go with Oreo’s seersucker bow tie.

3. Lots of treats. Oreo is highly food motivated so we try to reward him as much as possible with treats while taking photos. We want family photos to be a fun thing for him.

family picNotice the remote in one hand and the treat in another and Oreo very ready to do whatever it takes to get that treat!

4. Be prepared to take LOTS of pictures. During this particular photo shoot we took 137 photos and ended up with 6 great ones. One of us will get in position with the remote while the other gets the dog into position. Whoever has the remote begins snapping photos even before everyone is in position. So you end up with tons of photos, but that also means that the very moment when everyone is in place and smiling – you get the shot!

family picChristopher putting Oreo in a sit position while I pose and begin taking pictures so the second Christopher turns to the camera, we’ll get the shot! (ps. I love how Oreo is “smiling” in this one!)

5. Let the dog take a break or two to play. With Oreo we usually have his attention for about 10 minutes before he needs a break then he’s ready to go again. He always lets us know when he’s tired of photos as you can see here:

family picΒ “I just want to play!”

6. Be flexible. You may have a specific pose in mind that ends up not being as cute as you first thought. Just have fun with it. This is how we end up with some of my very favorite shots. For example, this shot just kind of happened:

family pic

So for those of you who have somewhat unruly pups, these are our favorite suggestions! Good luck with all your photo taking! πŸ™‚

family picFrom our family to yours with love!
Love Rach

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37 responses to “How to take family photos with your dog

  1. Haha this is so great, thanks for sharing!

  2. These pictures are adorable Rach!!! Love Oreo’s bowtie!!!! Good work.

  3. You guys are so dang cute. These photos are so fun, even the “outtakes.”

  4. Oh my gosh Oreo is too cute! I can rarely ever get both of my dogs to look at me at the same time lol!

  5. The one where the mister is holding O is darling!!!

  6. love these! πŸ™‚
    I just had to get a new tripod because i can never get friends to take pictures of me that i really like haha.

  7. Love that dress!! This post is hilarious…. we’ve definitely tried it with our two!!!!! NOT EASY!

  8. Now, taking family photos with a cat is an altogether different experience….

  9. And the most adorable family photo award goes to….you guys!! So cute. Oreo’s tie. It kills me. In the best possible way. Great tips!!

  10. I need to try these out on Charlie brown. He hates taking photos.mi swear he moves when he sees me.

  11. I totally want to do this with my little family!!! These are so adorable πŸ˜€

  12. Awww, these are great tips! Now I just have to convince Nate to let me get a dog. πŸ˜‰

    • Haha! Yes! I can help! I can send photos of adorable puppies that need homes… πŸ˜‰ I understand, though, Christopher is strictly enforcing the one-dog-rule. Which is probably good because otherwise I would probably have 12, haha!

  13. Very helpful! I’ve been using my camera self-timer, and it’s really difficult to plan with two wriggly puppies. Thank you!

  14. These are such great tips! I love the pictures. So cute πŸ™‚

  15. These are so adorable. I love them…and that yellow dress!

  16. good pointers! my dogs never cooperate so i am going to try this, after i get a remote of course.
    cute dress by the way. makes your tan really stand out. beautiful (:

  17. haha!! sounds like so much fun!!! And the last photo is just PERFECT!!!

  18. Haha we haven’t tried this yet. Good to know!

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