How do you photograph an outdoor dog party in late winter with a model who doesn’t exactly like other dogs? You just have to get a little creative!

When Mary Ullmer, editor of Dogs Unleashed Magazine, pitched a party-themed May/June issue, the ideas started flowing. We wanted the cover photo to evoke the elegant parties of summer, such as the annual BISSELL Blocktail Party on the lawn at Mangiamo’s.

For about a week, I pulled together all the props, including a silver platter, champagne glasses, balloons, lights, skirts, bowties, party hats and more. Then, the stage was set. Look closely (or scroll to the bottom) to see if you can tell where this little dog party was hosted!

Dogs Unleashed magazine, Grumpy Pups Pet Photography cover shot of corgi at a dog party

The day started with our first model, Truman, Mary’s own Corgi. Truman had modeled for us before and was an absolute champ—he follows commands flawlessly and has a winning smile! The only issue is that he doesn’t work well with other dogs, so my three grumpy pups had to be out of the house before he could arrive.

Corgi in a bowtie, Grumpy Pups Pet Photography dog party

After that, Truman was so agreeable that we tried out a few costume changes on him. The fun progressed as we went from a simple bowtie to a feather boa and party hat!

Corgi in a feather boa, Grumpy Pups Pet Photography dog party

Corgi in a party hat, Grumpy Pups Pet Photography dog party

Corgi in a party hat, Grumpy Pups Pet Photography dog party

Corgi in a party hat, Grumpy Pups Pet Photography dog party

Our next model was young Riley, who also happened to have a fondness for a pink tutu that I wanted to use.

black and white daisy dog in a pink tutu, Grumpy Pups Pet Photography dog party

I threw a treat in the bottom of the champagne glass to get Riley’s attention, and she obliged us with lots of cute moments.

black and white daisy dog in a pink tutu with a champagne glass, Grumpy Pups Pet Photography dog party

black and white daisy dog in a pink tutu with champagne glass, Grumpy Pups Pet Photography dog party

Just as we were ready to wrap, my own grumpy pups came home from a long walk. I brought Lily in for the heck of it, but I didn’t really expect that our little Honey Badger would cooperate too well. (Plus, Georgia was wearing a cone after surgery and Tyler doesn’t do party hats, thank you very much.)

boxer dog with balloons and lights, Grumpy Pups Pet Photography dog party

Luckily, she was so exhausted from the walk that she was calm. Maybe too calm.

boxer dog with balloons and purple party hat, Grumpy Pups Pet Photography dog party

boxer dog in a purple party hat, sleeping, Grumpy Pups Pet Photography dog party

How could Lily fall asleep in the middle of our dog party? Because the whole party was hosted on my bed!

Grumpy Pups Pet Photography dog party pull-back of setup

Make sure to check out the May/June issue of Dogs Unleashed for more great dog party shots, as well as lots of info about this summer’s upcoming fundraisers and events. Get your party on!

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Springer spaniels in a field of Michigan wildflowers

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