Chicago Fall Engagement Session with Dogs | Tips for Including Dogs in Photos

Kristin and Paul’s Chicago fall engagement session included their two adorable puppies, Ike and Chestnut. These loving dogs are important to Kristin and Paul so naturally we had to include them in their session. We met at a local West Loop dog park for the first part of their session. 

Chicago Fall Engagement Session with Dogs

Chicago Fall Engagement Session

I was flattered when Kristin and Paul reached out to me about their engagement session. They mentioned that they loved my classic style, which includes a perfect mix of naturally posed and candid, heartfelt imagery. They trusted my talent to capture the joy and excitement of their engagement and relationship, which always means so much to me. As we arrived at the West Loop dog park, I set out to capture the genuine connection between Kristin and Paul through candid moments. These two have such chemistry and their session flowed effortlessly. They needed little direction from me as they walked their pups, hand in hand, laughing and just enjoying the moment together.

The second part of their engagement session took place at Chicago’s River Walk. Kristin and Paul’s vision for this second half was more elevated than the casual, familial vibe of the photos with their pups. Their fall engagement had romantic, date-night vibes as they walked together along the Chicago streets, sharing smiles and giggles, and even a few stolen kisses by the water. 

Their attire also perfectly complemented the warm, autumnal theme. Kristin looked beautiful in her long olive green sweater dress. Paul’s tan jacket was the perfect addition. Against the lovely and scenic waterfront and Chicago skyline, their love shined bright. Their upcoming intimate elopement is sure to be one to remember. 

Tips for Including Your Dog in Your Engagement Photos

If you have dogs that hold a special place in your heart like Kristin and Paul, your engagement photos might not feel complete without including them! Including your dogs in your engagement photos makes for a great memory. However, when it comes to including your pup, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are tips to ensure that both you and your dog are happy during your engagement session and you get the most out of your engagement shoot.

couple kiss on Chicago sidewalk during engagement session

Talk To Your Photographer Ahead of Time

You always want to bring up the idea of including your dog with your photographer. You definitely don’t want to just show up to your session with your dog. Your photographer has spent time planning your engagement session and finding the right location. A dog can throw a huge wrench in those plans. In fact, some locations might not even allow dogs. Instead, communicate with your photographer in advance. That way everyone is on the same page and your photographer can plan accordingly to ensure you have the best experience and receive photos that you’ll fall in love with!

Ask Someone to Help With your Dog

If you plan to bring your dog to your engagement session, I highly recommend you ask a friend or family member to tag along and take care of your dog. At some point you will want photos of just the two of you – and when that happens someone needs to occupy the dog or take them back home if possible. Then, you can focus on each other, and your photographer can focus on you!  No one will be relaxed if you have to watch your dog out of your peripherals while listening to barking as you are trying to smile for the camera! Plus, an extra person present can also help get your dog’s face to turn towards the camera when they are in the shot!

Arrive Early 

Arriving early to your photoshoot is important when you have a dog in tow. This allows your pup a chance to acclimate to the new surroundings. Even if your dog seems super relaxed at home, dogs are often excited when they arrive at new places as they want to sniff, run, and play. Let them get their energy out BEFORE the photoshoot begins. Go for a brief walk, play fetch, or perform another activity before the session to help get your dog’s energy out.  

A worn-out dog is more likely to behave during your photoshoot and be more responsive to commands.

Invest in Neutral Collar and Leash 

You might be thinking – huh? Why does this matter? Let me tell you it does! You want your engagement photos to look amazing and sometimes the bright colors of your dog’s collar and leash clash with your perfectly  chosen outfits.That is why I recommend investing in a neutral colored collar and leash to avoid any distractions in your photos. 

candid couples portraits during Chicago Fall Engagement Session

Including your pup in your engagement photos is a great way to share your love and include your pup. With a little bit of preparation, you can make the most of your engagement photos with your dog and create some heartfelt and memorable photos just like Kristin and Paul’s romantic fall engagement session.


View more resources, timeless wedding day moments, and romantic engagements on the blog: 

Butterfield Country Club Fall Wedding

Revel Motor Row | Chicago Wedding Venue Spotlight

How To Choose The Right Wedding Photographer

The Covenant At Murray Mansion Wedding Weekend

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