Taking Family Photos with Your Dog

I know this may come as a shock to many of you, but my beloved Jack Sparrow is not the most trained, well-behaved dog on the planet. (I know…your jaw just dropped, right?!) He’s an incredibly wonderful dog and not at all terrible, but he definitely still has a lot of hyper puppy in him. (Some shepherd owners have told me they don’t calm down until they’re 6 or 7 years old…fabulous. Haha.) However, if you’ve spent any time perusing this blog, you know that his posing-for-pictures skills are actually quite impressive. We have managed to get several wonderful self-portraits of our little family over the two years we’ve had him, and we’ve almost got it down to an art now. Here are a few tips for taking family photos with your dog.

Absolutely Bositively

Obviously, the easiest way to get your dog to look at the camera is by having someone else take your photos and have a toy or some distraction for them to look at, but sometimes you have to resort to the tripod and camera remote (especially if you like to take photos as frequently as I do). Here’s how to make that work.

1. Get the puppy a little tired.

If your dog is anything like ours and gets overly excited on car rides and outings, it might be a good idea to run him around in the backyard before you head to take pictures. Andrew usually runs Jack for a few minutes and entertains him with some frisbees to get some of his energy out. Don’t run them too hard or they’ll be falling on you and frothing at the mouth in the pictures, but some fun, pre-picture exercise is a good way to prepare them for a shoot.


2. Bring treats.

We always bring a bag full of treats with us to make sure Jack knows this is a good thing and we are, in fact, not trying to torture him. If he sits and obeys for a few shots, he gets a treat. He is always rewarded for taking pictures and looking pretty. ;)


3. Trade off getting individual pictures with the puppy.

An easy way to make your dog understand that he needs to look at the clicking black thing in front of him is to trade off with your spouse/kid/friend/whoever and take pictures of each of you with the dog. At the beginning of our little photo shoots, I usually take pictures of Jack with just Andrew and call his name excitedly to warm him up to looking at the camera. It’s also a great way to get cute pictures of each of you with puppy. :)



4. Make it fun.

Dogs are somewhat like toddlers when it comes to pictures. They get easily distracted, and they can only behave for so long without a break or snack. Take time to let the pooch run around or bring a toy or bone for him to chew on for a few minutes to keep him happy. Some of my favorite pictures of the three of us are when we aren’t looking at the camera, but just playing with Jackers to keep him happy. Look at that face.



5. Take a LOT of pictures.

This photo below came from a photo session that lasted maybe 15 minutes, but we took 230 photos. Out of that, I’ll keep probably about 5. (Ah, the beauty of digital.) Sometimes Jack looks away, sometimes one of us blinks, sometimes my hair goes in front of my face…it’s hard to get a picture where all three of us look awesome right off the bat, but the more pictures we take the better chance we have. ;)


And if the tripod and remote game fails or is too stressful, get a friend to take your pictures. It’s always nice to not have to check the camera after so many shots and make sure they’re in focus. These photos below were taken either by my best friend Kristi or by my Mama, and you can tell because my hair looks better in these since I’m not having to worry about the camera. ;)




Happy snapping! :)



4 thoughts on “Taking Family Photos with Your Dog

  1. My husband and I have almost one year old Siberian retriever, Penny, and I have been so wanting to get family pictures done with her! I’m glad to see that it’s possible! Haha. I love all of these adorable pictures!!!

  2. Thank you for taking the time to post about this, i have 4 dogs that i love, but are not vey good at staying still… i have been practicing like you said to get them used to the camera, and we are going to try for a group Christmas Photo in the next couple of weeks, i hope they look a cute as yours!

  3. This was an adorable post to find! We have 2 German Shepherds (so I looove your pictures!!) and one of them is a puppy, so I’m planning our first Christmas photos with him included. Thanks for the tips!

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