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Newborn Photography Frederick MD

Family posing with dog on steps in Frederick, Maryland

For many of my clients, their dogs are considered family members with fur! I am a family photographer in the Frederick, Maryland area, and I have picked up some valuable strategies when it comes to including pups in photo sessions. While choosing to incorporate your dog into the pictures can add to the logistics and effort, the joy and warmth that I have seen added to family sessions as a result are so worth it. Beloved pups can help even the tensest of posers relax into a natural smile, and they usually guarantee some charmingly chaotic candid shots. So how can you include your dog in Frederick family photos while keeping things as low-stress as possible? Here are some tips to help!

fun photos with your furry friend

Choose a Pet-Friendly Location

When choosing a location for your family photo session, try to find pet-friendly places where your dog can roam safely. Scenic parks, beaches, or spacious outdoor areas that allow dogs on leashes are great options. Just make sure that the location allows dogs and has enough picturesque space with natural light to achieve beautiful photos. Your photographer will be able to help you with this decision, but a couple of ideas are Catoctin Creek Park or Downtown Frederick.

Schedule Strategically

As much as you’re able, plan your photoshoot at a time when your dog is typically more calm and well-rested. Try to avoid scheduling during peak heat or busy times when there may be a lot of distractions. Keep in mind your dog’s routine, and plan to allow plenty of time for breaks, snacks, and bathroom breaks. So basically, pretend you’re scheduling a newborn photo session! Jokes aside, a relaxed and content dog is more likely to cooperate and enjoy the photo session, which will not only make the process smoother and more fun but also result in the cutest pictures!


Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise before the photo session to help them burn off extra energy and stay calm during the shoot. A tired pup is more likely to pose patiently and cooperate with instructions. 


In preparation for your photo session, you’ll have to pick out what everyone will wear. While you’re at it, go ahead and schedule a grooming appointment for your pup! You want everyone to look their best, including the furriest member of the family. 

Bring Essential Supplies

Just like you would pack a diaper bag, it’s a good idea to pack a bag for your dog with essential supplies to keep your pup comfortable and content throughout the photo session. Include treats, water, and toys. You’ll also want to come prepared for any potential messes or accidents, so it’s a good idea to bring a towel and waste bags. If you will be in an area where there is a potential for your dog (or kids) to get muddy, you could consider purchasing a pack of no-rinse bath wipes like these. It never hurts to be prepared!

Enlist Help

Consider enlisting a friend or family member who has a good relationship with your dog to help during the session. Having an extra set of hands can make for smoother transitions between poses and can help keep your dog engaged and focused. The helper can hold treats, help the dog look at the camera, and keep the dog to the side for the photos of just the humans in your family. If the dog gets messy, your friend can be there to help with cleanup so you can preserve your photo-ready look. 

Embrace Spontaneity and Patience

The most important tip I can give is to approach the photo session with a sense of spontaneity and patience. Dogs can be unpredictable, especially in new environments, and capturing the perfect shot may require multiple takes and adjustments. Try not to be focused on perfection, but instead allow for candid moments of playfulness and affection. If you are able to maintain a positive attitude and patience throughout the session, this will create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere for both your family and your pup.

include your dog in Frederick family photos – Schedule a Session with Your Pup

If you are near the Frederick, Maryland, area and you are interested in a professional family photoshoot – with (or without) your dog – I would love to chat! Feel free to browse my work here and contact me to chat about scheduling a session for your crew!