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I love taking adorable photos of my dogs, but I can’t afford to hire a professional photographer every holiday!

Our $5 Photo Shoots series can help you take your own DIY dog photos at home, using props from the dollar store or craft store.

So, I might be biased, but I think my dogs are the cutest things walking the planet. You probably feel the same way about your dogs and the best part is? We’re all right. Dogs are the best! One of my favourite things about cell phones today is how EASY it is to take great pet photos without hiring a professional. I don’t want to discount what amazing photographers do at all. I mean, my very favourite photo of my dogs EVER was taken by Angie at Off Leash in about 30 seconds at a fundraiser. My favourite holiday photos were taken by the Food Lady from Three Woofs and a Woo. Professional photographers are WORTH IT. That said? I ain’t made of money and hiring a pro to take photos of every holiday would seriously cut into Koly’s bully stick budget. So between pro shots, we take a few pet photos of our own.

A few tips for taking awesome DIY dog photos at home:

  1.  Lighting, lighting, lighting! I like to take photos outside whenever possible because the light is just so much fresher. That said, if you’re doing photos inside, use daylighting mimicking bulbs, take photos near natural light sources whenever possible and use extra lamps to add light to shadowy areas.
  2. Basic commands making taking pet photos easy – If your dog knows a few commands like sit, down and stay your life will be SO MUCH easier! It’s almost impossible to take a great, staged holiday photo at home if your dog won’t stop moving.
  3.  Know how to get your dog’s attention before you take the picture – What makes your dog focus? Is it food? Toys? Interesting sounds? Figure it out and USE IT.
  4. Practice, then practice more. If you’re asking your dog to wear a hat, headband, or use another prop they may not be comfortable with, start practicing a few weeks before you want to take photos. Reward your dog heavily for interacting with your props until they are totally comfortable.
  5. Get down on your pet’s level.  Sure, the neighbors probably think I’m crazy, but I take a lot of my pet photos sitting or laying on the ground.

Holiday props can make a perfect addition to an at home pet photo shoot.

Our post with $5 photo shoot ideas for Valentine’s Day is one of our most popular and I was really excited to try it for Easter. There’s something about my dogs in bunny ears that makes me absolutely giddy. There was no way I was passing up the chance to pop a pair on and take some great photos.

Here are a few ideas of dog photos that you can stage at home using props from the dollar store or pet store.


Classic Bunny Ears
Cost: $1

If your dog will wear bunny ears, this is the CLASSIC, easiest super adorable Easter photo.















Foam Eggs + an Easter Garden Sign

Cost: $4

Felix wasn’t always willing to pose for photos. Lots of dogs are anxious in front of the camera or they don’t like wear things on their head and that can make getting great photos challenging. Over they years, we’ve worked hard to convince Felix the camera is a good thing. There’s a lot of cheese involved in our doggy photo shoots and we’ve work on his camera anxiety. (Got a camera shy dog? Check out our photography tips for anxious dogs.) Still, having a nervous pup is no reason you can’t take a nice Easter photo of them! These eggs were on thin wire sticks, which poked easily into the grass, making it easy for you to arrange a cute Easter scene *around* your dog without having anything touch them.

Dog Toys + an Easter Garden Sign

Cost: $5

This DIY photo set up was almost TOO easy. I stuck the garden sign in the ground, propped a couple dog toys that I bought on sale at PetSmart up with him and that was it. As a bonus? The toys can be played with after.


A Bow Tie

Cost: $5

This adorable green bowtie was a gift from our awesome groomer, but they had some really cute polka dot and striped ones at the dollar store this year too. There is no dog in the enture world that doesn’t looks really dapper in a bow tie. For those who prefer a more feminine spin, baby hair bows make a fantastic addition to your pooches ears.


Giant Plastic Easter Eggs

Cost: $4.50

These big eggs open up so you can fill them with goodies, but they also make a super adorable DIY photo shoot prop and they are SO EASY set up. Ears are totally optional.


An Easter Wreath

Cost:$ 3

Ok, this one is probably the most difficult to convine your pet it’s a good idea. I bought this paper wreath and just put it around Kol’s neck. Koly is pretty used to my shenanigans, so he was totally fine with it, but I wouldn’t even TRY this with Felix. It makes for a really cute photo if your dog is totally comfortable with it though!


Plastic Easter Eggs

Cost: $1

Shared by Abby from the Chestnut Mutts

If you happen to have a dog who is a total ham, like Jada, this photo will be a breeze! Give your dog the ‘down’ command, arrange eggs around them, get down to their level and snap away!


Fabric Baby Hats

Cost: $3
Shared by Elizabeth at Chronicles of Cardigan

So, I don’t know about your dollar store, but every holiday my dollar store has these fabric baby hats designed to make your baby look ridiculous. The good news? They are also perfect for making your dog look adorable.


Easter Baskets

Cost: $5

Shared by Carol at Fidose of Reality

Dex and his girl Coco are a classic Easter couple with their brightly coloured baskets filled with treats!


More Dog Toys

Cost: $maybe a little more than $5 but pricelessly adorable

Shared by Beth at the Daily Dog Tag

Ok, so this one is a little over budget with 3 toys from PetSmart, but it’s SO CUTE and I love how the different perspective totally changes the photo.


Garden Lanterns

Cost: $3

Shared by Brittany at Spencer the Goldendoodle

At 2/$1, you can’t beat the price on these adorable paper lanterns, combined with a distinguished pooch, they are adorable and definitely capture the fun of Spring.


Do you take Easter photos of your dogs? We’d love to see them!

Share them in the comments, on our Facebook page or tag @kolsnotes in them on Instagram!


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