Brooke, John and Stella

I'm going to be honest, I'm not really a big pet person. There isn't anything wrong with me! I'm normal, I've just never really needed a pet. While I served in the Coast Guard, the men would pull out that phrase that's like "I always trust a dog, but never trust a person who doesn't like dogs." I really hated that because people are different and we all deserve respect, ya know! Anyway, I don't have pets because my mom filled my house with them when I was a kid and instead of attention I got poop cleaning duties - lets be honest, that'll ruin anyone to pets.

If you follow me, you'll know that I actually do have a puppy now. Her name is Fia and I got her for my daughter who was losing her mind in a house of boring adult things. Fia is non-shedding and mostly hypo-allergenic and the beds are strictly off-limits. Luckily for me, she potty trained well and doesn't destroy things.

Coming into adult hood without a desire for pets, and being slapped in the face with what was sometimes straight up discrimination based on that, I suspected that my transition into photography would be filled with pet-loving couples integrating them into their sessions. Little did I expect to only have worked with pets a handful of times! Now, here I am, in an odd twist of fate, writing a blog encouraging couples to bring their pets to their photoshoots!

So, here's the point: if you have a pet that's a big part of your life and an integral part of your relationship, bring them to your engagement session! They won't be in every shot and it doesn't have to be centered around them, but having them there and in some of the shots will transform the way you feel at the final images. They're like kids - a shot of me without my daughter is really missing something.

Brooke and John are really in love with their pup Stella. She has been in their family for a long time and she really is a big piece of their love. When they reached out for some engagement photos, they didn't hesitate to ask about bringing her!

Dogs get involved in their own, unique ways. Some are active and in-your-face, others are too busy sniffing to be bothered with the photographer. Stella was a sniffer, but when she did participate, she enjoyed showing me her butt and sitting backward :)

Those are the shots that capture her personality and the really convey emotion back to Brooke and John as they look through their images.

Brooke initial wanted a winter-time session, but her ring adjustments lasted well past winter, so we ended up at one of her childhood favorite beaches instead. It was a foggy and windless day - which is rare on the Maine coast (the no-wind, that is)! Fog in Maine is really fun because it can turn the images into a soft and pastel world, a perfect frame for Brooke's contagious smile and Stella's cute little stuck-out tongue.

(She tried really hard to "save" her parents from the crazy lady on the rocks)