Raquel and Ross emailed to me to plan a fall engagement photo shoot with their dog Remi. Raquel wanted to use the engagement photos to send out save-the-dates for their destination wedding in Israel. She was hoping for a nice fall backdrop of colourful leaves.
Luckily, Ross had some family friends up in the Laurentians area who were happy to let them use their property. We got incredibly lucky with some brilliant fall foliage and a lakeside view.
If you want to feature autumn leaves in your engagement photos, check out this Fall Foliage Map by Quebec Original which is updated frequently to forecast areas of Quebec where leaves are changing to their brightest colours.
A long-distance love story
Raquel is originally from the States. She and Ross had a nice meet-cute while he was traveling in her hometown. They kept in touch long-distance before travelling back and forth a few times to visit each other. Eventually, this turned into a serious long-distance relationship. Happily, Raquel was able and willing to move to Canada to be with her sweetie.
After this big step, they now live together cozily in Griffintown with their puppy Remi, a long-haired miniature dachshund (check out Remi’s Instagram for the puppy tax).
Almost as soon as we arrived at the cottage, Remi got too curious and went for an impromptu dive into the lake. He can’t really swim! Luckily, Ross was able to reach down and pluck him out very quickly. But the poor pup got soaked!
Good thing there was a towel to dry him off in their car and a cozy dog hat to warm him up. They cuddled him in their coats to keep him cozy until he dried off a bit. And it made a great story!
For their fall engagement photoshoot in the Laurentians, we also made sure to take plenty of photos of just the fiancés together. They had some sweet chemistry and had a fun time walking in the woods, making out on the dock and enjoying the leaf peeping.
Taking engagement photos with your dog
For other folks who are wondering whether to include your dog in your engagement photos, I say: “Go for it!”
The best engagement photos show off your personalities.
They share a glimpse of your daily lives.
And your pup is a huge part of your life.
To help things go smoothly, here are some useful tips if you plan to include your dog in your engagement photoshoot.
Choose a dog-friendly location or stick close to home
It’s important to check that your planned engagement photoshoot location allows dogs.
Most parks are animal-friendly, but some locations like farms or national parks might have restrictions.
Parc Mont-Tremblant, for example, has certain paths that are dog-friendly and other hiking trails that are off-limits to dogs.
If you want to keep your dog comfortable, use a location that’s familiar to them or include a favourite activity. Some of my favourite engagement photo sessions have been in a couple’s home or around their neighbourhood.
Sticking close to home is a great way to document your lives together. It’s also a really easy way to include your pets without disrupting their routine. You get to capture the regular activities you enjoy together.
Bring along treats and other supplies
Treats should help keep your dog calm and happy. And if they get tired, a little treat can perk them up.
Bring along a favourite toy so you can play with your dog. This yields some candid shots of your dog having fun and really brings out their personality. Ross and Raquel had a favourite ball for Remi to play with during this fall photoshoot.
You know your pet best, so try to think of any other creature comforts they might need. A soft blanket can come in handy if they need to curl up for a nap. And a towel is a life-saver if they get muddy – or go for a swim like Remi!
Keep the photoshoot relaxed and candid
Keep any posed and set up shots to a minimum. It’s much easier to get good photos if you just play with your dog and let them explore how they naturally would.
You don’t want your dog to get frustrated with having to sit still for the camera.
Let the perfectly-posed Pinterest ideas go and, instead, go with the flow.
Give them plenty of love and attention and play time. My documentary photography style adapts especially well to this type of candid shoot.
Avoid bringing your dog along for the whole session
Pets get tired much sooner than their owners. So, it’s a good idea to split the engagement photo session in two. When your dog is ready for a break, you can drop it off indoors in a safe place.
For most couples, this means doing the first part of the shoot near their home, so they can leave their puppy at home after.
If this is impossible because we’ll be heading somewhere further away, it may be a good idea to bring along a friend or family member who can watch the dog while you finish the photoshoot.
While including your dog is fun, you also want the engagement photoshoot to have plenty of photos of just the two of you as a couple!
If you’d like more useful tips on how to include your dog in your engagement photoshoot, check out this excellent resource by dog blogger Beth Patterson: How to include dogs in engagement photos.
Looking for an engagement photographer?
Whether you want to include your dog in your engagement photo shoot or it’ll just be the two of you, send me a message and I’ll be happy to plan a session with you.
More fall engagement photo shoot inspiration
If you’re also interested in doing engagement photos in the Laurentians area, here’s some more inspiration with a fall engagement photo shoot at Mont-Tremblant.