Should you include your pets into your family photo sessions? The answer is absolutely yes. Always yes. So many reasons yes.
Pets play an enormous part in our lives. I'm willing to bet that there aren't many life events that don't have your pets somewhere in the story.
One of the huge perks of a Day in the Life Session or an in home Storytelling Session with me is that your beloved pets can be incorporated into your session absolutely stress free. I am 100% pet friendly and I am always thrilled to get pet cuddles!
Let's talk about why it's a good idea to include them...
Because they are like family.
They live with you. They eat with you. They sleep with you. They love you. They cuddle you. They don't judge you. They are always there for you.
They are a character in the story of life.
Because you share almost every important life experience with them.
We go through the journey of life with them- births, deaths, a marriage, a bad breakup, raising a family, a new job, losing a job, making a new friend, losing a friend, moving to a new place. There's not much they don't go through right along with us.
Because you love them.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France
I asked people about their pets, I asked to hear stories about them, and I asked for them to simply share what their pets meant to them. Ask yourself these same questions and I think you'll find the answer is pretty clear. Your pets deserve to be in your family photographs and deep down, you want them in there too!
This story is about a Cane Corso/ Italian Mastiff (average weight, 100-130lbs) and was sent to me by his owner:
"He was turned into a shelter by his [previous] owner. He had a knee injury and she couldn’t afford to fix it. So her bright idea was to just stop feeding him normal servings of food so he would lose weight and hopefully get around better. In turn he lost all his muscles, stopped walking, resorting to eating rocks and sticks and could only crawl. He was a senior at 6y old. When I got him he was carried inside my house and was 60lb. He would slide across the floor and bark and growl at us. At first, we thought he was being nasty, but it was just how he communicated. He slowly put on weight and he began to walk assisted. He began PT (physical therapy) and eventually after about 6 months could walk on his own. At about a year, he could run a few feet before stumbling. His knees were treated with supplants and pain meds. He became ours quickly and made himself at home. He had an instant connection with my daughters and on a couple unfortunate occasions, he actually protected us with his life by putting himself in front of us. This boy was of sound mind and bullet proof when it came to his temperament. I’ve never in my life had another dog like him. Unfortunately we were only gifted about 3 good years and then supplements no longer curbed the pain. We had to make the decision to let him go. He is and always will be my heart dog who taught us many lessons."
Another story about a sweet pup named Bonny:
"I've always considered myself a "cat person." I had a few dogs as a kid, but mostly cats. My husband and I went to the shelter to "just look" at dogs. They brought out a very energetic lab puppy. He was so cute, but a little too hyper for our lifestyle. Then they brought out this tiny beagle. She was underweight, barely 14 pounds. You could see her ribs. She was sooo shy/passive, but very receptive to attention (especially belly and ear rubs). The shelter seemed to think she was used as a hunting dog that was left behind. We instantly fell in love with sweet Bonny. We've had her for about seven years and now she is a healthy 20 pounds. She doesn't do tricks. She doesn't play with toys. But she's always ready to cuddle. She's my little shadow and always has to be touching me. This little girl has brought so much joy to our lives. Love my Bonny."
Want to schedule your pet friendly session? Let's do it! Click here or the Contact tab above to send me a message. I'd love to talk with you about what a session could look like for your family- fur babies included.
Oh boy, do Boxers hold a special place in my heart. I only thought I knew what patience was until our own Boxer came around. That puppy completely turned my life upside down in ways I didn't know possible. I swear, a newborn baby is less work than a Boxer puppy. And no, I'm no kidding. I am 100% dead serious. But I will say this: the bond you will form with your Boxer is unmatched. This dog will be your best friend for life. And in Ginny's case, this is so, so true. Their bond is absolutely heartfelt.
So, when this couple contacted me about a family session to capture the bond between man and his best friend, I jumped at the chance. I know Boxers. I know their quirks. I know the tricks they have up their sleeve- I'll share their secret with you- they are lap dogs. The most goofy, loveable, solid muscle, loyal, protective, heavy, clumsy, funny, expressive lap dogs.
Here in Chesapeake (and Hampton Roads in general), we are so close to the ocean and our weather changes minute to minute. It's the least dependable thing in the world. You've just got to plan your day and make changes as it goes along. Our session, because it was both in home and in the back yard, needed to be rescheduled several times because of inclement weather. And most dogs don't love thunder anyways.
I know I have said it before, but I love shooting at sunrise. It's such a beautiful time, quiet, serene, and the light is just amazing. I like it better than sunset, I think!
I suggested a sunrise session and it paid off big time. After a morning cup of coffee and "waking up" on the deck, explorations of the backyard, and a play session, Ginny was ready to come inside for some snuggles and belly rubs with her very best friend.
These are important stories to share, to document. These relationships that we form are cemented into our hearts and become a part of who we are, they become a part of our FAMILY. Their story is just as worthy of telling as ours is. I read a quote by a man named Roger Caras that said, "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." And truly, they enrich our lives in ways we could never even imagine. They fill holes in our heart we didn't even know we had.
If you'd like to schedule your own session incorporating (or even focusing on) your family pet, click HERE or on the Contact tab above so we can get to work telling your story.
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.