Documenting Your Life
As a photographer, I always have a camera on me at all times (most times I have more than one). You never know when the perfect moment will arise. That doesn't mean every photo needs to be a masterpiece, though. I like to document my life through photos because I don't have the greatest memory. Sometimes I'll look back at a moment from a vacation or a concert and I'll think "Oh my God, I totally forgot about this"! That experience could have been completely lost to me if I hadn't photographed it.
I know all too well how important our memories are, because both of my grandmothers developed dementia. I noticed that with my Mema (my mom's mother), photographs used to help her remember more from her past, and it always led to great stories. Every year, I make a photo book of my personal photos from the year before. For the most part, my professional art work gets made into a canvas and goes on my wall. But the snap shots I take every day, the little moments that make up the story of my life, they go into my photo year book, and I love to look at them. Showing them to my family and friends brings me a lot of joy. Almost all of them are photographs taken with a small compact camera or just my iPhone.
See, you don't have to be a photographer to carry a camera with you at all times. How many people do you know that don't have a cell phone? A phone camera doesn't have to be fancy to document your life. To be honest, a lot of phone cameras these days can lead to stunning photographs if the light is good.
This is what a typical page of my photo year book looks like.
Maybe these aren't beautiful professional photos that I would make a canvas out of, but they represent some awesome moments I had that year, and each memory is special to me.
A lot of people put off doing anything with their photos, because it seems like a huge undertaking to put something together. It doesn't have to be, though. A simple layout with a few photos from each month of the year can be a beautiful way to tell the story of your family. Go with a site like Mixbook if you want to customize your photo book and get fancy with layouts, covers and graphics. Or you can just keep it simple and use a company like Shutterfly that can auto-design your photo book and take the work out of your hands.
Now that you've got your family's snapshots in order, you can always come to me when you want that beautiful canvas portrait to hang on your wall. I'll take care of that kind of stuff for you :)
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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.
Mother's Day Photo Sessions
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!
Long Island, NY