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I photograph many combinations of families with dogs, kids with dogs, even small babies with dogs and I am always asked for recommendations on how and when to add pets to family portraits. We often have parents with newborns that want to bring a dog!
Some families just know when the time is right, but consider these three things before scheduling your photo session.
1. Is the baby sitting up by himself? Because if he's not, and we're trying to get an artistic photograph of the two of them, the dog will always wins the lion's share of the attention. A baby under six to seven months is difficult to position with a pet because he can only lay flat (or be artificially propped up) and the viewer's eye will immeditately go to the dog.
2. Consider the relationship between the baby/and or child and your pet. For one thing, many pets do not enjoy being mauled by a toddler, no matter how cute it looks. They may suffer quietly and even act like they're okay with it but they're really just trying to please. A kids photo session at our studio often includes a pet, but usually when the child is old enough to know how to approach gently and sit still. Or we make it a family portrait and get everyone in on the act so that parents or older siblings are close enough to run interference.
3. Attention span. Here is where the baby and the pet may be on equal footing. They both tend to be fidgety and easily distracted. A quiet park (NOT a dog park) or a sheltered back yard can work. Any place where they both feel safe and can listen and take a little direction.
In general, age 3 is usually an easy time to capture the bond and personality of both subjects. A rare exception sometimes occurs with certain larger breeds that just seem okay with anything and everything, but it's usually better to be safe and wait for them to start interacting on their own. The results can be pure magic.
It's time to start thinking FALL -- even here in Dallas it does cool off eventually. And when it does, those few precious weeks when it's still nice, are what we call the Fall Family Portrait Season. It's our busiest time of year and the dates are going fast. Reserve your session time before it's too late!
We photograph lots of babies every year and we love watching them grow....but we know that kids go through a stage where they hate being photographed. I guess that's why we don't see many twelve year olds coming in for photo sessions. It's the beginning of the "tween years" and kids are often a little unsure of how to act in front of the camera. Some want to act silly, some want to act like they're twenty-five and some just stare you down. Rachel hated her school pictures and her grandmother brought her in for a photography session. We spent a few minutes getting to know each other and then we had a great time. I love these portraits because I think they show how beautiful she is RIGHT NOW. They give a glimpse of the child she has been and the woman she will become. This is a very important age for a young girl to remember. Thanks, Rachel, for sharing it with me. I hope you love how you look. I do.
So often, we rely on a website or an email to reach out and make connections for us. But more than most businesses, portrait photography is personal. For years I have wanted to introduce myself and talk about my work in a personal way -- and this video does it perfectly! I hope you enjoy it and I hope you will share it! Many thanks to the AMAZING talented Allen Peck of AP2 Films for putting together this wonderful video.
We periodically send out a little email newsletter with our favorite "Smile" of the month, or with pets, our favorite "Dog" of the month. This time I'm sure you can see why we only had to send out ONE email, not two. These two were adorable together!
Parents often ask when is the best time to photograph babies and pets together and we usually opt for 6-7 months. For one thing, at this age babies can sit up and are really happy --and both the dog and the baby have had a chance to form that amazing bond that is so fun to watch.
If you have a special dog that has 'made room' for the new baby, why not schedule a session for the two of them? Your child will always have these photographs to hold on to, long after his best friend is gone.