How to include your pets in your wedding photos

Your wedding photos aren’t complete without your furry friends – here’s how to include pets in your wedding photos

From fluffy page boys to feathered ring-bearers, there are countless ways to include your pets in your wedding, but if you’re not keen to have your dogs barking throughout the ceremony, or causing havoc at the reception, why not just have them there for the photos?

Pets are a part of the family, after all, so it makes sense to include them in the all-important wedding photos, but anyone who has tried to snap a cute selfie with their animals will know it’s no easy task.

Read on for advice from wedding photography experts Abraxas on how to take amazing wedding photos with your pets.

It’s essential that dogs be kept calm in order to snap the perfect photo with them, but if your beloved labrador or adored dalmatian is rather excitable (and why wouldn’t they be?!) it’s essential to calm them down. 

You’ll look very different to usual when in a wedding dress, and your dog will pick up on this, which might make them jump up, even if they’re not normally prone to it. This could of course muddy, or tear your wedding dress, so it’s worth having your pet photos after your ceremony rather than before.

Plan a time for your dog to come along, and allocate this during your day; you’ll probably need about 10 minutes for pet photos. Communicate this to your photographer too, so he or she knows to set aside more time for these photos – your pets will be less well behaved than your new in laws – we hope!

If your furry friend gets excitable around lots of people, take your pet photos away from the guests to keep them as calm as possible. If your pet is particularly nervous, it’s worth taking them along to your venue a couple of times in the lead up to your wedding to familiarise them with the area, so they can get used to the sounds and smells of the venue.

This is particularly relevant if you want to have your dog as the ring bearer – it pays for them to be familiar with the area rather than wanting to dash about sniffing everything when all you want is them to trot obediently down the aisle.

With nervous pets in mind, it’s a good idea to do a few trial snaps in advance of the wedding – it’s not only you who needs to feel comfortable in front of your photographer, after all. Similarly, if pet wedding photos are a must for you, be sure to make sure your photographer is okay working with animals – not everyone is comfortable doing so, unfortunately.

If your dog has a favourite toy, or is partial to a doggy treat, make sure your photographer has it to hand when taking the all important photos to help grab his or her attention and encourage obedience. 

Lastly, if you foresee it being impossible getting good photos with your dog, video could be the way to go. “Sometimes the formality of photos and people on the wedding day can make a dog behave unpredictably, so take it for a short walk and have the walk videoed for gorgeous, natural footage,” says Abraxas.