Why My New Years Resolution is to be in Photos WITH my Dogs

I’m a professional dog photographer, which means I have a lot of professional photos (and countless phone photos) OF my dogs, but I have very few photos WITH my dogs. That single word swap makes a world of difference. One thing I hear from so many clients is that they want photos OF their pets – and what I wish everyone would commit to is getting in a few photos WITH their pets. And in the spirit of practicing what you preach – this year I am committing to scheduling a photo shoot to be in photos WITH my dogs.


As I sat down to write this week’s post I realized that despite the many fears and obstacles I put in my way of having photos with my dogs there are a couple big reasons I need to be in photos with my dogs:

  • For the memories
  • For the relationships

So here’s to putting aside my fears and insecurities in 2022.

Learning how to choose the best location for pet photography means your black dog won't look like a black blob.
Courtney Bryson of CM Bryson gets on the other side of the lens for her own equine photography session with her senior horse.

Be in photos with your dogs for the memories

After years of putting it off – and a broken promise to my late grandmother – I finally had photos done of me with my heart horse in September 2020. I wrote about that experience a few months later – you can view the post here.

What I took away from that photo session with Ginger, was that in the end it didn’t matter that I was heavier then I “should” be and it didn’t matter that a rogue curl kept insisting on being in my face. What really mattered was having those images of her and having images of her WITH me that captured the unique relationship we shared. And what those images mean now as we’ve passed the one year anniversary of her passing just months after the session, is truly priceless.

My relationship with my horse lasted 30 years – we grew up together. I was only 4 years old when we met. She defined my connection to animals and I don’t know that I would love my animals now the way I do if I hadn’t had that first love. That first love that was fearless and open and I felt like it would last forever because 30 years is forever when you’re 4.

My relationship with my dogs and horses now is different. Not less, but different. I now holding on to every moment a little more dearly because I know how fleeting they are. I am so much more aware of just how brief a time we have with them. And with our dogs I try and fit 30 years of moments into half the amount of time.

When I open the folio box images from my equine photography session – I get an opportunity to walk down memory lane and visit with Ginger again. And I want to make sure I have that same opportunity with my dogs. I want to be able to revisit them in my mind through photos of me with my dogs.

Be in photos with your dogs for the relationships

I can assure you, I have many of the same reservations you do about being in front of the camera – which is why my job keeps me behind it.

I tell myself that I need to be 30+ pounds thinner to be worthy of having photos done. I complain about my wavy & curly hair having a mind of its own. And as an introvert, I dislike being the center of attention. 

But, sometimes being in the photos with my loved ones has absolutely nothing to do with me. When we lose someone that we love the first thing that we look for is photos. In August of last year, I lost my first dog I ever had as an adult – Bella. 

I realized I couldn’t find any photos of me WITH Bella. I had to go all the way back to my engagement photos in 2010 to find photos with me & Bella in the same frame, but it wasn’t a photo of me with Bella – it was engagement photos with my dogs. Even further back, I found a photo my grandmother had taken of me with Bella from Halloween 2008. And that’s it. 

11+ years had passed and I couldn’t even find a snapshot of me with Bella. We were together for 13 years from the time she was 8 weeks old and I had not even a handful of photos of us together. 

I know we did fun things together. We hiked in the mountains. We went camping. We shared countless dinner – sometimes even on purpose. We went to training classes and scent work classes. We just didn’t take pictures together and I really wish I had them to relive our relationship. 

Choosing the best background for pet photography means eliminating distractions.

Finding A Dog Photographer

So this year in addition to doing more to photograph my clients WITH their pets during their photo sessions – I’m also going to try my hand at being a client and finding the right dog photographer for me. Luckily, I wrote a post all about how to chose the right pet photographer. And I’ll be using my own advice to find the right one for me. 

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

In the meantime, do you have any dog related resolutions this year?

Making a new years resolution to be in photos with my dogs as a professional pet photographer.
2022 New Years Resolution

Be in More Photos With My Dogs

This blog is a part of a blog circle with pet photographers near me and from across the globe! This week we’re talking about resolutions.

Head over to Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography shares three important reasons that your New Year’s resolution list should include being photographed with your dog.

Be sure to keep clicking the link at the bottom to complete the circle until you wind up back here!

What to read next?


  1. Elaine

    I think you look absolutely stunning in these photos! Loved your take on the topic.

  2. Terri

    Yes these reasons to be in photos with your dog are so true! [FWIW I love that curly hair!]

    • Lauren Van Duzer

      I’ve always loved photos of me with my dogs and for the exact same REASONS that you listed! I regularly ask others to take photos of me and my Rylee when we are out on adventures. Id still like to have even more- especially professional photos!
      My goals for 2022 with my dog include going on at least 1 hike per month, getting her trick titles NTD, ITD, ATD and trying a new sport: treibball!
      I enjoy your newsletter and blog each month!

  3. Ina

    I love that photo of you and your horse and your curls are gorgeous!! Totally agree though, it doesn’t matter what size you are or how you look because the photos captured and showed your bond and connection with Ginger.

  4. Darlene

    Beautiful post! You are stunning! The pictures of you and your horse are just perfect.

  5. Ivo

    The shoemaker’s children always go barefoot 😀 I think I don’t have any photos where are whole family, dogs and me 🙂 and I’m not even a professional photographer.

    Is it too late for the New year resolution already? 🙂 Thanks for sharing it.

    • cmbryson

      Not too late for a resolution! Put a whole family picture (dogs included) on the list. 🙂

  6. Tracy Allard

    I loved reading about the story of Ginger, and what a story! Your bella is my Penny…regrets. But never again. I wished I didn’t have my cOVID 19lbs for our pictures with Dingo last year, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything and I’m so glad I have them.


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