Puppy Birthday Shoot

What do you get when you have THREE 4 1/2 month old puppies, balloon, and pupcakes?  A new concept!

 

Last Monday, I set out to Green River Preserve* to photograph puppies to update the birthday postcard.  My sister's (Anne) golden retriever, Irie, had a litter of 8 puppies this spring.  My mom, my other sister (Kat), and I all adopted one.  What a brilliant idea we all thought - Photograph the puppies for the new camper birthday card?! From my experience at Hallmark, photographing puppies is second nature.  I guess I forgot most of the dog shoots involved a handler and slightly older, more trained dogs.   

My mom and I should have stopped after we bathed the puppies.  Yes, we had to give them a bath.  Someone, who shall not be named, let the puppies out, and they decided a mud facial was necessary before their photographic debut.  Hilarious now, but not at the time!   

Smith, my puppy enjoying cake.

Smith, my puppy enjoying cake.

Nevertheless, we move forward with the shoot and found the spot to create the scene.  We styled the set with homemade pupcakes (I baked them), balloons, a banner, and party hats.  We had training tools from puppy class in hand.  We were ready! Unfortunately we didn't get any farther than having two pups on set and realized we needed to revamp our concept.  Our eatable props were starting to disappear.  My mom's puppy, Trout, got to enjoy at least two of the larger pupcakes.  

Despite the defeat, we had a better idea!  Why not recruit Phen?  He's my 2 year old nephew who loves birthday because all birthdays involve cake.  The birthday postcard for the campers is saved!!!  After at least 50 rounds of "Happy Birthday," we got the shot.  Phew.  Phen, Irie, and puppies all got to eat pupcakes.  Phen didn't notice the difference.   

Lesson learned.  Call an animal wrangler next time!  

Phen and Irie on set.

Phen and Irie on set.

* Green River Preserve is my family's summer camp on a beautiful 3,700 acre wildlife preserve.  It is a co-ed summer camp that connects children with nature.  I currently have the pleasure of doing their design, photography, and branding.  Check them out at greenriverpreserve.org.