Yes, I want to take pictures of your babies AND furbabies, so please read these tips for including pets in your newborn session!
Every time a prospective client asks if they can include their pets at newborn sessions, they seem to expect I’ll say no. Why? Of course, I want to include your pets! I suppose it is because they are only familiar with the idea of newborn studio sessions? If you are doing a studio session, then no. I don’t recommend including pets. There is already more than enough to manage in a studio situation.
But, babies and children aren’t meant to be cooped up in a photography studio. Little ones do best in their natural environment. And so do your pets.
The most important rule of taking pictures of your babies and furbabies together is safety. If you have a super mellow pup, we’ll have lots of posing options. If your dog tends to be hyper, we’ll likely be limited to poses where one of the parents is holding the baby and the other is controlling the pupper.
There won’t be a lot time between bringing your baby home and your photo shoot. But, if you’d like your pet in pictures with your baby, try to introduce them before I arrive. Take it slowly and play it safely. If your pet is not reacting well to your newest addition, let me know so we can plan on some extra safe options. That may amount to some special composite images where your baby and furbaby aren’t even in the room together.
Have Daddy take your dog(s) for a walk before I arrive. Burn off some of that energy!
Please don’t do this without checking with your vet. But, at a recent newborn session, the normally energetic dog was given a prescribed anxiety pill and couldn’t have been more cooperative.
When I first arrive, your dogs will probably be pretty excited and your cats will scatter. I grew up with dogs, have two rescue mutts at home, and I’ve spent many years volunteering for the Riley County Humane Society. I’m very familiar with anxious pets and happy to take the time to greet them on their level. We don’t want to try and photograph your babies and furbabies together until everyone is nice and calm.
If your pet isn’t interested in your baby, don’t push it. I’ll be at your house for 3 hours. That gives us plenty of opportunities to include your pets at their pace and comfort level. We don’t want to make your pet uncomfortable around your baby, especially as they are getting to know each other.
This rule goes for pictures with toddlers and babies, too. Actually, all of these rules pertain to toddlers at newborn sessions lol! Anytime your pet is near your baby, there should be one adult in charge of the pet and the other ready to protect your itty bitty. Safety first! Everything is done with Mom and Dad nearby.
You may be tempted to bring out the dog treats to try and better control your dog. But, it’s best to avoid dog treats unless your dog is very well trained. Treats are more likely to get your pup excited and we want to focus on slow, calm, careful movements.
We might be able to get some super cute and snuggly pictures of your baby and pet. But, it’s best to go into this with low expectations. We’ll follow your dog or cat’s lead on this. We might just end up getting some sweet lifestyle moments without any actual contact. And that is perfectly fine!
Both your baby and your furbaby will pick up on any tension in your home. The more worried you are, the more wound up your babies will be. So, relax and trust I’ll get you the best pictures possible of your sweet family.
Newborn sessions are plenty long, so don’t be afraid to ask about including your pets. I’m always happy to get my puppy fix and baby fix at the same time!
And don’t forget that I offer a special discount when you hire me for your maternity photos, as well!