Being a newborn and pet photographer, I try out a lot of products for babies, toddlers, dogs and cats. I also get introduced to a lot more products through my clients. I decided to compile a list of the most useful and interesting products I've come across in my travels. This gift guide will help you get ideas for your loved ones who are moms, dog moms, cat moms, or photography lovers! Enjoy!
For the Dedicated Dog Mom
1. Dash Express Dog Treat Maker: My dog Gracey has gotten so many tasty treats out of this thing. My nephew and I love making treats for her with this machine. It comes with a recipe book, it's easy to use, and the treats look adorable when they come out.
2. Bully Grip Bully Stick Holder: This thing comes in very handy if you have a dog who loves to chew on bully sticks. I didn't have this for my last dog Basil and he ended up swallowing the small end of a bully stick. It sat in his stomach all night and then the next morning it found its way onto my bedroom floor. Yuck. This offers dogs a grip to hold onto while they chew the bully stick and keeps them from being able to swallow the end of the stick. This gives me peace of mind when Gracey enjoys her favorite chew.
3. Pooping Pooches Calendar 2023: Great for a gag or White Elephant gift, this quirky calendar will make you laugh each month. My brother in law bought me this last year and each time I turned a page, it made me chuckle. Plus, $1 from each calendar is donated to the Maui Humane Society!
4. Dog Smart Composite Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy: This is a level 1 dog treat puzzle, perfect for beginners to these kinds of interactive toys. I bought this for my dog Gracey and it was fun teaching her how to get to her treats. This can also double as a slow feeder if you put dry kibble in the holes. I feed her her dry portion of food for the day in this for some mental stimulation.
5. Foldable Pet Ramp: This is good if you have a big dog you like to bring on adventures, or if your senior dog is having trouble getting in and out of the car. I bought this for my dog nephew Ash when he was getting older and having issues getting up and down my back porch steps. It folded up nicely when not in use and provided some good traction for him.
6. Do Not Knock Sign: I have a dog who has assigned herself the role of neighborhood watch, and she's identified the following crimes that my neighbors regularly commit: walking past our house, pulling in and out of their driveways, getting their mail, existing on their own property. But the absolute worst offense anyone could commit in her eyes is to knock on our door. I wish I had this sign when my nephew was a baby because every single person who came up to our door would set off a barrage of barks that would wake him up from his naps. This would have come in handy!
Bonus Stocking Stuffer idea:
Dog Shaped Cookie Cutter
Personalized Dog Paw Ornament
For the Crazy Cat Mom
1. Pioneer Pet Stainless Steel Dog & Cat Fountain Raindrop Design: Dogs will love this too, but cats especially prefer their water to be flowing over still. This one is stainless steel, so most of its parts are machine washable and it's very easy to use. My pets love this fountain. My cat Charlie prefers to drink from the top bubbling part of the fountain, and my dog Gracey likes to drink from the bottom part of the basin.
2. Flopping Fish Cat Toy: At first, my cat Charlie was totally freaked out by this flopping cat toy, but quickly he learned to love it. It looks realistic, is activated by touch so it won't run all day and bother you, and it's rechargeable by a USB.
3. On2Pets 2 ft Mixed Maple Cat Tree: This cat tree and scratching post is fun for kitties and adorable to look at. A lot of cat trees are very basic, but this one is so nice looking it can be a part of your decor!
4. Custom Pet Phone Ring: Another one you could get for dog or cat lovers, this is for the pet obsessed owner. The inside of their phones are filled to the brim with pet photos, so why shouldn't the outside of their phones reflect that too? I get a lot of compliments on this phone ring whenever I'm around other animal lovers.
5. Kitty Face Magnetic Bookmark Set: If you know someone who likes to curl up with their cat and a good book, they'll love this magnetic bookmark set with assorted adorable little kitty faces.
6. Kitty Cape: This cape is just too cute. I know a lot of cats don’t appreciate clothes, but this one is pretty loose and may not bother them too much. If you can get them to wear it for 5 minutes for a photo, I consider that a win!
Bonus Stocking Stuffer Idea:
Cat Shaped Cookie Cutter
Catnip Infused Felted Balls
For New Moms and their Beautiful Babies
1. Camera Teether: I often put a camera teether in my newborn clients' packaged orders as a gift. The one I typically buy is no longer available, but this one is very similar. Made of soft food grade silicone, this is a machine washable, nontoxic and absolutely necessary when those poor babes are cutting their first teeth!
2. Baby Shusher: Listen, the voice is creepy at first, but I'm telling you, this thing works. My sister gave me this when my nephew grew out of the need to use it and it's become a staple in my studio. I used to constantly shush the babies to quiet and calm them, and I don't have to utter a peep anymore. The baby shusher does it all for me!
3. Electric Baby Nasal Aspirator: AKA "The Boogie Sucker". This thing is very helpful for stuffed little noses. Machine washable tips make this a sanitary option and very easy to clean. A must for cold and flu season.
4. Flappy the Elephant: This Gund classic is both musical and plays an interactive game of peek-a-boo with babies. My nephew loved this toy!
5. Bath Color Tabs: In my experience, kids never want to get in the bath and once they’re in, they never want to get out. These color tabs will help you convince them to get in, and I usually tell my nephew once we’ve added so many that the bathwater looks like mud, it’s time to get out!
6. Fisher-Price Magical Lights Fishbowl: This was another favorite of my nephews when he was a baby. So much so, that I can still sing the songs to this day. And honestly, not bad tunes!
For your Shutterbug Friend
1. Capturing Couture Camera Straps: I like scarf straps for my camera because it's a little softer and easier on the neck when my camera starts to feel like it's 100 pounds toward the end of a session!
2. Backdrop Clamps: These are great to keep fabric backdrops wrinkle free and in place. They attach to the side of your backdrop holder and clip to your backdrop and can be adjusted to the desired tautness you need.
3. Hot Shoe Level: This sits in the hot shoe of the camera and helps you stay level for horizontal shooting. This is especially helpful for landscape photography. It also serves to protect your hot shoe contacts and keep them in tiptop condition.
4. Photo Prism: This prism can be shot through, held in front of the lens and used to create interesting colors and reflections in your composition.
5. Flex Tilt Tripod Attachment: This gives you more flexibility with the angles you can shoot from when your camera is attached to a tripod!
6. Dust Blower: This blows air to gently clean the camera's very sensitive components. A special valve keeps dust from being redeposited onto your camera.
I hope that helps you check off a little bit more of your holiday shopping list this year. Thanks for reading and happy holidays!
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Everyone knows that dogs are very important members of the family unit. They're sweet, they're affectionate, and they don't talk back or clog up the DVR with their reality TV shows.
Fido's your best friend, so he deserves more than a blurry cell phone pic in your family's photo album! If you're looking to have a beautiful photo session for your pup, follow these guidelines to make sure your buddy's photographs come out as amazing as he is.
Figure out the When and the Where
Are you planning to shoot in the studio or outdoors? If you plan on an outdoor session, consider the time of year. In spring and autumn, your dog should be fine to stay outdoors for the length of a photo session, but a long-haired dog might not be as comfortable shooting in the height of summer, just as a short-haired dog might not be able to handle a snowy session in the winter.
Choose your location wisely. Always call ahead to make sure that both dogs and professional photography are allowed at your desired location. Here on Long Island, there are countless beaches to choose from, but there are many that don’t allow pets, so make sure you can bring your pup before you get your heart set on a location.
Make sure your dog is up to date on all of its vaccinations and is currently on flea and tick preventatives at the time of your session. Sticking to these guidelines will protect both your dog and all the other dogs that may come into the photographer’s studio.
Talk to Your Photographer about Your Dog
Every dog needs to be handled differently. Some don’t like their bellies touched. For others, paws are a no-go. My Gracey (the cute chihuahua under the heart garland up there) is terrified of anyone who bends down over her. Let your photographer know if there's a way your dog doesn't like to be handled, which may scare it or cause it to become anxious or aggressive. The last thing I want to do as a pet photographer is make my subject uncomfortable, so let me know how I can avoid that.
Walk your dog 1-2 hours before your session time to expend some energy. A dog whose been tired out a little will be much more obedient for photos.
If you’re going to get your dog groomed before the session, try to make that appointment a day or two before the photo session. Doing both in one day might be too much for some dogs, and a stressed out dog doesn’t photograph well.
If you have some time, practice sit and stay commands with your dog for a few weeks before the session. Bonus tip: my dog Gracey’s trainer had me teach her the “watch” command for when she barks at other dogs on our walks/makes my cat’s life a living hell. It’s also come in very handy when I want her to look at me for a photo. To teach this command, say your dog’s name and “watch!”. Reward them when they look you in the eye. Point to your face when you say the command if you like to add hand gestures to your training.
What to Bring
An outfit, bandana, special blanket or favorite toy can really enhance a session. Make sure that whatever you want to bring is not going to get your dog too riled up. A dog that is too focused on getting at his favorite monkey toy will not be paying attention to the camera.
It’s a good idea to bring a bowl and a bottle of water in case your dog needs a break to rehydrate. Bringing some of your dog’s treats is also a good idea, but use these as a last resort to get a dog to look at the camera, because they can make some dogs a little slobbery.
I have endless amounts of patience. That’s why I am particularly well-equipped for newborn and pet photography. At a mini session event last year, I had an owner tell me “there’s no way we’re going to get a decent photo of my dog, she’s too nervous”. I just sat there, casually throwing a few treats to the dog for a while. Eventually she calmed down and was able to sit, and her photos became my favorite ones from the entire day. A lot of times, the first 20 minutes of the session will just be the dog situating themselves, especially in the studio, which is a new place full of different smells. Don’t get frustrated if your dog doesn’t seem to be sitting still for photos. Most people don’t realize how fast a camera shutter can be. I can catch a beautiful moment that you didn’t even notice happened because it was so fast. Plus, dogs can pick up on their owner’s frustrations and it can make them behave even worse if they feel you getting stressed. Keep calm and have fun and your dog will too!
I hope this post helps you and your pet have a really successful photo session!
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Schedule a pet photo session with me! Email me at email@example.com or call me at (631)256-7476.
So if you're still looking for that perfect gift for the amazing mom in your life, I'm happy to offer gift certificates for portrait sessions. You can buy them in any amount, but a purchase of $150 covers a full session fee and comes with a free framed 8x10. Sessions can take place in my Farmingville home studio or a location of your choice within Suffolk County, Long Island. Gift certificates can be issued physically or digitally.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (631)256-7476 to purchase one today!
I'm relatively new to the world of professional photo contests, but this experience has inspired me to join more and keep honing my craft.
To see more photos, check out shootandshare.com.
Schedule a pet portrait session today! Email me at email@example.com
or call me at (631)256-7476.
Long Island, NY