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Hi, I'm Taylor.

Taylor is a wedding and elopement photographer traveling worldwide. Documenting one-of-a-kind love stories through a tailored experience.



What to Know When Including Your Dog in Your Engagement Session

A couple walking with their dog in the mountains.

If you thought about including your dog in your engagement session, I’m sure you have had plenty of questions. As a PNW wedding and engagement photographer, I have TONS of experience capturing couples with their pups! So, here is my advice when planning your engagement session with your dog. 

A couple hugging their dog along the Oregon coast.
A couple posing with their dog on the beach.

Talk to Your Photographer About Your Plans

Make sure to talk to your photographer beforehand about including your dog in your engagement session. While I personally love it when couples bring their pets, some photographers might not be as enthusiastic. Also, communicating early helps us properly prepare so your engagement photos turn out as magical as possible! 

A couple hugging their dog at Smith Rock State Park.

Bring Someone to Watch Your Dog

There will be moments during your engagement session when you just want photos of you and your fiancé, so it’s important to have a plan to keep your dog occupied during this time. Whether it’s a family member or friend, it’s a good idea to bring someone along who can watch your pup when they aren’t in front of the camera. That way, you can fully enjoy the shoot without having to keep track of your dog! 

If no one is available, it’s ok to leave your dog in your car when they aren’t needed. You’ll just want to double-check that the weather is nice so that they’re comfortable! 

Have Things Ready to Keep Your Dog Happy

When planning your engagement session, don’t forget about the needs of your pet! You’ll want to make sure to have all the essentials. These include things like water, toys, treats, doggie bags, and anything else to keep them well taken care of. In my experience, a happy dog makes for the best engagement session photos! Plus, you can use the treats as little incentives to help your pup sit or pose in a specific way! 

Playing with your dog or taking them for a walk before your session is also not a bad idea. That way they can get all their extra excitement out beforehand. And if they get anxious in new locations, arriving early will help them become familiar with their surroundings before the shoot.  

a couple bending down and petting their dog on the sand along the Oregon Coast.

Let Them Be a Dog in Your Engagement Session

It’s absolutely ok if your dog doesn’t pose perfectly or sits the way you want them to during your engagement session! It’s a new and exciting experience for everyone, and it’s normal if your pup isn’t the best behaved. In fact, I love it when dogs show their personality, as these usually turn out to be the cutest and most memorable engagement photos! 

A couple standing with their dog at Smith Rock State Park.
A couple kissing at snowy Trillium Lake with their dog in the foreground.
A couple walking their dogs at Columbia River Gorge.

Choose a Dog-Friendly Location 

Before settling on a location for your engagement session, you’ll want to make sure it’ll be a good fit for your dog! On top of checking if pets are allowed, there are a few other things you’d want to consider. Are they easily excited by other dogs or people? If so, choosing a crowded area likely isn’t a good idea. Also, it’s smart to take into account factors like weather and potential hazards. Things like hot pavement or prickly plants aren’t the most pet-friendly. With that said, here are a few Oregon engagement session locations that I know you and your dog will absolutely love! 

Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is one of Oregon’s most beautiful destinations and is a great place to include your dog in your engagement session! With countless gorgeous vistas, you’re sure to find the perfect photo spot for you and your pup. It’s only 30 miles from Portland too, making it easily accessible. For a peek into a recent engagement session with a dog I captured here, read my blog post below! 

Smith Rock State Park

With its deep river canyons and sheer cliffs, Smith Rock State Park is seriously one of my favorite dog-friendly engagement session locations in all of Oregon! Explore the many trails throughout the park and take in the endless gorgeous views. Check out a sunset engagement session I captured here!   

Trillium Lake

Located in the Mt Hood National Forest, Trillium Lake is another engagement session location to consider if you want to bring your dog. It features absolutely picturesque lakeside vistas, with evergreen pines and Mt Hood towering in the distance! It’s a great place to visit in the winter, too! You can read about a winter engagement session I captured at Trillium Lake below. 

If you’re looking to include your dog in your engagement session, then I hope that my advice was helpful! After all, this day should be exactly how you want it, pets and all! If you’re looking for places for your engagement session, then you’ll want to head to my blog on my Top 15 Portland Engagement Photo Locations! And if you have any questions about anything, reach out below. I’m excited to hear from you!

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