Christmas Pups!

by Carys - Stylist for The Prop Factory

Wednesday 20th November 2019 14:16:59


A little while back I was planning our social media content for the run up to Christmas with Prop Factory director Carmen. Christmas comes early in the event hire business. We need to be up and ready to go with our festive offerings before even the most organised of our customers start thinking about their Christmas parties. After several lovely chats - with buckets of tea and the odd sneaky early mince pie - we kept coming back to the thing that always gets everyone excited when we share - and that's animals!  

Photoshoots that include an adorable animal always seem to bring us plenty of interaction and response on Facebook and instagram - anyone remember our oh-so-cute bunny pics?It seems as if no one can resist a perfect pet pic - it's an instinctive double tap without us even realising what the animal is advertising. 

So with Christmas content and the animals of instagram on my mind, I couldn't turn down the offer from a friend - Chloe - to bring along her dachshund Dottie for a super cute photoshoot with our growing collection of Christmas props. Then, just when I thought we'd reached maximum cuteness, it turned out that one dachshund could become five. Chloe's whole family own these dogs and Dottie, Pickle and Pattie, all miniature dachshunds, together with wirehaired Ruby and Mabel, are all familiar with each other and happy to be together. I knew the dogs would sit comfortably together, now all I had to do was create a set big enough for all of them - and get them to look at the camera, of course!

All of this excitement came at a time of new beginnings for the Prop Factory. With a growing number of staff and increased warehouse space, we'd recently moved out of an office that was becoming quite cramped and into the bigger space next door. I'd bagged our old office as a studio space with white walls and professional lighting - what an absolute luxury! I was very excited to use it to create our first in house photoshoot set.

As I started to layer up our Christmas props to create a gorgeous festive set, I decided to take photos to give a bit of inspo for customers wanting to put together their own Santa's grotto or Christmas party photo booth. I love seeing how it all comes together and thought you would too.Firstly, we needed some festive walls and our old Christmas present panels were the obvious choice - we actually made our concertina panels to dress venues where you can't alter the walls. Then I created a central focal point with a white rustic door.Every door needs a wreath at Christmas - like our large traditional wreath. I hung the wreath using an S hook and some wire. Once this was secure I needed some help getting our ruby red Emily sofa in place. This wasn't without its problems - I soon found out that we're going to need a slightly bigger studio door!I could see the set coming together already and couldn't resist adding in some Christmas cushions to dress the sofa.The set was nowhere near finished but they looked lovely whilst I kept building the set. The standard issue office carpet wasn't quite in keeping with the magical grotto I was trying to create so I added a vintage rug with red tones that had softened and faded with age. We have a multicoloured selection of wooden boxes painted as Christmas presents that our wooden nutcracker and drumming soldier cutouts slot into and I used a few extra ones to stack up like gifts waiting to be exchanged. I even wrapped a little ribbon around these for texture.The giant gingerbread men crept in creating a fun and natural frame and I hung new Christmas biscuits from the backdrops using delicate safety pins. My vision was nearly complete. I had to keep reminding myself not to go overboard as we had to fit five dogs on this set. The centre of the rug needed some height so I layered some of our cosy sheepskin rugs and a traditional wooden vintage style sledge.

Keeping the pups in mind, I added a red blanket - just like something Santa might use to keep his knees warm on a cold night on the sleigh - to avoid any puppy paws slipping through the rungs mid shoot. A few giant Christmas baubles adorned the floor - the dachshunds would look extra tiny next to these. Final touches included some fairy lights draped very casually across the set and a few dog toys that Chloe had brought to keep the pups entertained.The set was all ready to go, but the best was yet to come. Chloe knew the theme for the photoshoot from early on and had organised multiple Christmas outfits for all five dogs with little suits, hats and bow ties. I set up a waiting area and dressing room in the warehouse - perfect for the stars of our show - where they could relax and get ready for their big moment in the spotlight. Dottie was the first pup in front of the camera - and what a natural model she turned out to be.Picture perfect in a miniature reindeer outfit with a hood, we thought she couldn't be any more adorable until we saw her next outfit - a Santa hat, scarf and jacket!Meg from Mimosa Photography snapped away happily as Dottie gazed beyond the lens to where her proud mum and dad were waving treats and shouting her name.Pickle and Pattie were up next - with an elf outfit for Pickle and Pattie dressed as Christmas pudding with a big red bow. It was no surprise at all to find plenty of the Prop Factory staff loitering at the window, all trying to get a peek at the cuteness! Pickle and Pattie were unfazed by their audience and perched on the edge of the sofa looking beautifully towards the camera. Back from a treat-filled break, Dottie bounded in to join them for a few extra shots.Last to the set were our pair of wirehaired dachshunds - Ruby and Mabel. The wirehaired dachshunds have a thicker coat than our sleek, smooth miniature pups and their naturally bushy eyebrows and beards were ideal with some Santa-themed fleeces.These two were definitely the most entertaining to get settled in, but once they were comfy, they cosied down on the sofa, which gave us the opportunity to bring all of our canine models together for a group shot.Five dogs and seven people all squeezed into the studio, with packets of treats being shaken and pup names being called was a sight to see - I wish we had filmed it! It could have been a recipe for disaster, but we actually got the money shot early on, so had time to play around and let the dogs please themselves whilst Meg kept shooting. It's not surprising we got so many great photos - I really couldn't choose my favourites, that's why I chose to use so many in this blog!

Carys x

Tags: Christmas Christmas Pups Christmas Dogs Christmas Dog Outfits Festive Dogs Christmas Props Hire Christmas Events Christmas Decor Christmas Party Decoration Blog Weekly Blog Christmas Party Inspo Christmas Party Props Themed Props Themed Events Giant Gingerbread Men Giant Nutcrackers Giant Drumming Soldiers Giant Props Uk Events Decor Hire Christmas Party Dogs Furniture Hire