Archive | June, 2016

7 Things No One Told Me About a BlogPaws Conference

7 Things No One Told Me About the BlogPaws Conference

BlogPaws conference

Hey, I’m not pointing any claws here but there are a few items not fully explained in the conference brochure.

I’ve attended my share of conferences over the years but BlogPaws 2016 took me by surprise.

Sure the past attendees raved about the previous 7 years. Yeah the video on the website highlighted people having fun. Pre-con photos showed the resort in all it’s glory. Exhibit hall vendor list looked exciting. Perhaps the classes and workshops could teach me helpful nuggets. Maybe I would even meet someone famous on the Red Carpet.

There has to be a catch right? No conference could be that good.

Have you ever sat on the floor in front of a golden retriever and been slapped in the face repeatedly by their fluffy wagging tail? Every moment of BlogPaws jolted me with yet another perk, another business epiphany, another wonderful person, just like that crazy goldie tail.

Here are just 7 of my insights. But if you are like me you will just have to experience it yourself in Myrtle Beach, SC May 18-20, 2017.

1 Only a few vendors

BlogPaws VendorBlogPaws Jake from Lucy Pet FoundationThePetUncle Livestreaming at BlogPaws ExpoBlogPaws Expo Selfie

Plan on chatting with the vendors much longer than you expect. Every single company had a friendly and engaging representative, often people AND animals! While I really wanted to win a new dSLR camera or a GoPro I just did not have time to visit with 30 of the vendors to fill my passport. Every booth I stopped at we swapped animal stories, took selfies, loved on furbabies, and learned more about their product, company or organization. So seriously do the math: 43+booths x 15 min each (minimum)=645 min/10.75 hours. The exhibit hall is only open a total of 13 hours.  I suggest making a plan of action, bringing a team of 1-3 friends, and compare notes. Otherwise you will only be able to see a few vendors.

2 Oversize bag fee

BlogPaws Swag BagBlogPaws Swag Orange Puppy

My jaw dropped open at the registration table early on opening day. When the staff asked whether I would like dog, cat or a combo swag bag, what size t-shirt I wear, and issued my fancy name tag I almost froze on the spot. Wait! I’ve been slacking in my boxing class and don’t think I have the arm strength to carry my giant canvas bag a few feet down the hall! Somehow I managed to stumble to a comfy chair around the corner to assess the goodies. (I shared the un-bagging on Periscope too). Those who couldn’t trick TSA into thinking that bag is under 50 pounds and not spilling over stopped by the Shipping Room on closing day. Shipping companies neatly flew your new treasures home in a sturdy box. Next year pack an extra suitcase, prepare for oversize bag fees, or just add a stop to the shipping room to your agenda on the last day.

3 Hangry Risk

blogpaws foodBlogPaws Conference Registration LineBlogPaws Lunch

Hungry+Angry=no fun for anyone, Raise a paw if you’ve ever been Hangry. Education is a happening non-stop at BlogPaws. If you are like me my brain turns off completely when I’m hungry. (And I may become a bit irritable, just ask Michael.) There is zero chance for you or your pets to be hungry at BlogPaws. Every few feet there are snacks & drinks for dogs, cats, and people. Many thoughtful companies sponsored food offerings throughout the conference. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and Yappy Hours are ALL included in the conference registration. Work hard, eat well, pack baggy clothes for the trip home.

4 Time Management Juggling

#BlogPaws conference phoenix arizona 2016CR Conversations at BlogPaws

You’ve painstakingly decided which speakers to listen to and which workshops to attend. Pretty color coded conference schedule is pinned to your cell phone home screen. Printed conference schedule items circled and highlighted. Maybe you have even factored in the long walk through the resort to change clothes throughout the day (you and your pet’s clothes btw).  Suddenly you meet a fellow attendee and could talk to them for hours! Then they ask if you heard about another mini gathering. Then you walk past another micro-party in the hall. All these things happened to me! Bring walking shoes, add some flex time in your schedule, and plan on sleeping when you get home on Monday.

5 Careful your face will freeze that way

Photobooth #BlogPaws conference phoenix arizona 2016 Dr Buzby Toegrips BlogPaws Randy Lyman ThePetUncle BlogPaws Bernard Dog and His Boy BlogPaws

Michael & I on the Red Carpet at BlogPaws image by by Annabelle Denmark Photography

by Annabelle Denmark Photography

Have you been practicing your smile? The PawParrazzi are everywhere! Selfies galore, funny speakers, cute animals, vendor photobooths, and of course the Red Carpet will all threaten to freeze your face in a smile furever! Clear the memory on your camera roll, channel your inner celebrity (‘cause you are one at BlogPaws) and mentally prepare to have a permagrin for at least 3 days.

6 Public speaking is fun

BlogPaws Photography Class image by by Annabelle Denmark Photography

image by Annabelle Denmark Photography

BlogPaws Photography Class

Yes seriously. Have something to share? Part of attending the conference is to learn new skills. My classes on Livestreaming and Photography had people sitting on the edge of their seats. Any fear of public speaking will dissolve in the welcoming rooms of BlogPaws. Pay it Forward, we will all be there to howl and meow our support!

7 Prepare to relocate

Sheriton Resort #BlogPaws conference phoenix arizona 2016 Sheriton Resort BlogPaws Phoenix

Can I just live at the resort with all the fab-u-lous BlogPaws peeps? Pretty please? Three days flies by in a blur leaving you floating on a fluffy cloud of gratitude. I have talked non-stop about every wonderful moment (almost lost my voice actually) to anyone who will listen. While I finally succumbed to reality and made my trek back home I am comforted in the dreams of seeing everyone again next year.

Pretty sure I have convinced everyone to join me in South Carolina next spring. Trust me there is much, much more to a BlogPaws Conference than the brochure could ever cover!



Popular Pet Photo Apps

favorite photo apps

Is your phone full of snapshots of your pet? Of course it is! So often people will shyly take their phone out and ask if I would like to see some pictures of their pets. “Yes!” is always my resounding answer. I even had the greeter at Home Depot notice my camera print purse the other day and asked me if I was a photographer. We then went on to have a 10 minute conversation where she showed me some fantastic mobile phone pictures of her horse and her several dogs. I love looking at your snapshots of your pets. Whether it’s cats, dogs, horses, pigs, birds, turtles, llamas… bring it!

Do you ever have those times where you wish your picture was a little brighter? Or maybe you want to add a little bit of text to the picture? Or maybe you just want to grab it really quick to post it on social media?

I manage my Facebook page, my Pack Bulletin, 3 Instagram accounts, and post to The Pet Scope TV and all of them need photos and graphics. Here is a list of my favorite phone, tablet and computer apps to edit, enhance, filter, add text, and more.

  1. Snapseed: Google mobile editing app-Free
  2. Desktop design program-Free
  3. WordSwag: Inexpensive mobile app to add wording-$4
  4. Aviary: Mobile app with cool effects-Free
  5. Photoshop & Lightroom: The big dogs at a low $9.99 monthly fee.


TPSTV The Pet Scope

Livestreaming is the newest social media buzzword. Twitter’s Periscope App hit the scene a year ago and since then more livestreaming options have released.

August of 2015 I hit the Broadcast button on Periscope for the first time. The night before I couldn’t sleep, I rehearsed my opening line countless times, and I am sure my voice shook as I stepped into the limelight of live broadcasting.

Since that first day at Animal House showing adoptable dogs to the world I have been full steam ahead.

I quickly found fellow animal enthusiast in the #PetLoversTribe. The #PetLoversTribe is a free online community of pet lovers who are using Periscope, Facebook Live, or other live streaming apps. I host the Friday challenge and love getting to know everyone around the world.

December 2015, spearheaded by Therese Kopiwoda, a few of us launched ThePetScopeTV.

ThePetScopeTV is a Live Stream network of pet themed shows on Facebook Live and Periscope all about pets, for the people who love them.

The mission of ThePetScopeTV is to provide viewers with quality content from respected leaders in the pet industry and well-informed pet owners. Our goal is to enhance the bond between people and animals (pets, horses and other animals) and to bring awareness to our role in protecting and caring for pets, wildlife, and zoo animals. Topics vary widely and include education, positive reinforcement training, health, animal enrichment, and entertainment.

focus on pets periscope and facebook show

“Focus on Pets with Monique” is my show every Friday morning on FacebookLive. Pet photography tips, working with animal rescues and software tutorials and resources, are just some of the topics covered.

Livestreaming is an amazing place to meet new people and to tell your story. Over the last several months I have met several people in person around the country.

Saturday, July 9th I am hosting a Periscope & Livestreamers meet-up in Fort Collins! Whether you broadcast now, want to broadcast, or just want to meet awesome people please join me! From about 11:00 am to 2:30 we will be milling about Jessup Farm Artisan Village. There are outdoor seating areas, grassy lawns, a brewery, a coffee shop, a restaurant, and a bakery all housed in historic buildings.

ThePetScopeTV is sponsoring the event too! As a founding board member I am excited to educate everyone to our mission. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter, exciting announcement hitting the airways on Monday, June 13th!

If you have any questions about livestreaming please message me or chat with me in person on July 9th!



Story Keepers (aka Albums)

story keeper album shelf

Guess which boxes were unpacked first in my new home?

Did you guess photo albums? Ding! Ding! Ding! You are a winner!

I love all my photo albums but recently realized an album is more than an album. It’s more than photos. Every album tells a story. Any one of these albums I can open and start telling you a story of what we were doing at that trip or event or milestone.

So today I decided to rename albums. I think they should be called “Story Keepers”.

One of the new items I offer at Silver Paw Studio is an 8×8 Story Keeper. These beautiful albums can showcase around 25 of your favorite images from your portrait session. I can even print a featured image on the cover. I love how thick the pages are and the weight of it in my hands. I love that I deliver it to you in a special box.

8x8 album story keeper

But I especially love the stories the pages tell. In this session I remember the entire family including the dogs wore plaid. The dogs were so silly hoping to chase squirrels all over the park. We were blessed with a beautiful day with pretty evening light.

That’s my story from this session but I’m sure the family has many more stories they could tell.

One of the advantages of a book or an album or a “Story Keeper” is it takes no room on your wall. I am a huge fan of printing and hanging images on your wall of course. But sometimes you only have a small space. Perhaps you’re in a transition from one house to another. Maybe you choose to live tiny. Maybe you have a super open floor plan with lots windows and you may not have room to display all of your favorite images from your session. This is where a Story Keeper can fit right in with your needs. Display on a table or on a bookshelf and leaf through at your leisure. They make great treasures for you and a thoughtful gift for your friends and family.

As with everything you experience at Silver Paw Studio your Story Keepers will be customized. There are themes and colors available for any taste. When you schedule your free portrait consultation with me you will see and hold this album “Story Keeper” for yourself.


Foolproof Picture Hanging


A super common hang up when trying to hang-up new pictures is putting three holes in the wall when you really only wanted one. Those pesky picture frames really move their hooks when you try to secure them on the wall. I have the solution for you!

All you need is some craft paper, some painter’s tape and a pencil.

  1. Simply roll out your paper, this could be craft paper from the craft store old newspapers or recycle paper.
  2. Lay your picture on the paper face down, trace around it and cut out that shape.
  3. Now put your picture face down on the table and place your paper back on the back of it and mark where the hanger is. You should only need to poke a pencil through right where the nail would go.
  4. Repeat step 3 for all the images you want to hang in this display. Now you have several paper templates in exact size to tape on to your wall.
  5. This is where you can have some fun in your design. Use painters tape that won’t harm the paint on your walls and start taping up all of these paper templates.
  6. If your pictures only have one nail help you may not have to worry too much about using a level but this would be the time to get out your level and your tape measure. I often just eyeball where I want to hang my prints but if you want to be more precise I would definitely get out your level and your tape measure.
  7. Once all the paper templates are on the wall simply take your nail or your monkey hook and poke it through the paper into the wall.
  8. If you have a lot of images with similar sizes you may want to write on the paper templates which one goes where.
  9. Now all you have to do is pull the paper down around the nail and hang up your pictures! I would do this one at a time so you don’t lose track.

My show “Focus on Pets with Monique” on the The Pet Scope TV on Facebook live shows me actually using this technique.

There are several examples on this Pinterest board.  

This method Works especially good on curved walls, for big groupings of odd size images, or anywhere you might have more of a fragile all that you really, really only want that one nail hole in.

This is help simplify my life and my frustrations with hanging new pictures in my home and I hope it does the same for you.


Portrait Dream Sheet

 Surrounded by Family

Now that you’ve had your pet and family portraits created what should you do with them? At your consultation with me we will have talked about some ideas but it’s easy to be overwhelmed when presented with all your beautiful images.

Important questions to ask yourself before you sit down to look through your gallery of images with me is where your portraits will be displayed in your home and who and where else you might want to have your portraits.

The first place people think is displaying framed prints and canvas wraps on their walls. Our studio has a special program that can show you your portraits on your wall. All you have to do is tape a piece of printer paper to the wall, snap a photo of the entire wall on your cell phone and text it or email it to me. Then when all of your pictures are ready to view we can see your favorites on your wall at the right size.

Now that we have your house decorated who else would like some of your new portraits? This is where a little bit of thought ahead of time comes in super handy.

Storyteller albums are about 25 of your favorite images presented in a custom album. These are great for your own home and consider giving them as gifts. They’re ideal for Mother’s or Father’s Day, birthdays, holidays like Christmas or as a surprise gift.

Often people order prints for their office or desk, parents and grandparents, and even digital copies for business. What about greeting cards? Maybe you need Christmas cards, graduation announcements, family reunion cards, save-the-date,  or birthday cards. We design custom greeting cards for any occasion.

Here is a handy Dream Sheet you can fill out before your viewing and ordering appointment. It will help you organize and prepare for who all might be on that special list to receive your portraits.

portrait product order

In this blog post once you have your prints home here’s how you can easily hang them on your wall.



10 Tips to Prepare People for Portraits

Now that Fluffy and Fido are camera ready it’s, your turn!

10 Tips to Prepare People for Portraits

mustache top hat

1. Sleep does wonders for our body. Get a good night’s rest before your photos.

2. Make sure no pesky coffee crumbs are hiding out. Brush your teeth right before your session.

3. Even if you think they won’t be in the photos, file or paint your nails.

4. Avoiding jumping on a new hairstyle right before your session. If possible get those haircuts about a week before.

5. Men need to trim facial hair to desired look.

6. Choose clothing that is comfortable with minimal patterns. Bring a few options to your session if you are unsure.

7. Clothing should compliment your animals. If you have a white cat then wearing a white shirt would blend you both together. A light blue shirt, for instance, would look good with a white kitty.

8. Consider bringing props. A favorite scarf, heirloom jewelry, trophy, etc.

 9. Tame the hangry. Have a snack or a meal before the session.

10. Arrive with a smile 🙂

Preparing your dog and cat for a portrait session in previous posts.



10 Tips to Prepare Your Cat for Portraits

Is your kitty ready for their big debut?

Here are 10 Tips for Preparing your Cat for Portraits.

Kitten Basket

1. Groom at least one to two days before the photo session. Look for matts close to the face. Have tissues for eye goobies or any other random needs. Keep a brush close by to tame last minute snarls.

2. If you have a young/playful kitty play with them for a while just before the photo session.

3. Only feed half breakfast if your cat is food motivated this way during the session you can give plenty of treats but not over feed him and still keep attention.

4. Keep safety in mind. Most cats are photographed inside. If you want to go outside put a leash or harness on. If you have a catio that is even better.

5. Prepare your environment. Don’t plan anything out of routine that day. Avoid any stressful household activities like vacuuming. Try using a calming spray or diffuser a few hours/day ahead.

6. If you’re going to be in the photos think about what you’re going to wear. Usually I suggest a color that’s a little contrast to the cat so if you have a white cat wear a dark shirt if you have a darker cat wear a lighter shirt.

7. Practice handling your cat. If you cat won’t tolerate being held or placed please let your photographer know.

8. Consider props if your cat has a favorite toy or blanket Include them in some of the images.

9. Bring an assistant this could be your spouse your kids or your cat’s best friend. That said the fewer people “on set” the better.

10. Prepare yourself. If you are in a good mood your cat will be in a good mood. Patience and positivity go a long ways.

10 Tips to Prepare Your Dog for a Portraits in previous post.


10 Tips to Prepare Your Pup for Portraits

Is your pup ready for the big day of modeling?

Here are a few tips to prepare your dogs for their portrait session.

papillon bath

1. Groom at least one to two days before the photo session. Don’t groom on the same day as the session as that may cause too much activity and stress for your dog.

2. Take your dog out to exercise before the session, that gets all those zoomies out they will be a  little calmer for the session.

3. Only feed half breakfast if your dog is food motivated this way during the session you can give plenty of treats but not over feed him and still keep attention.

4. Keep safety in mind always have the leash on your dog on location. some people actually go buy a fancy new collar which is fun. If you want to edit out the leash just make sure it’s a thin plain leash. Bring extra water if on location. If you want to capture off-leash images be sure to go to a fenced in dog park or private fenced-in property.

5. If you’re going to be in the photos think about what you’re going to wear. Usually I suggest a color that’s a little contrast to the dog so if you have a white dog wear a dark shirt if you have a darker dog wear a lighter shirt.

6. Be sure to bring tissues or paper towel for all those eye goobies,drool and maybe even mud. And of course remember the poop bags . Bring a brush to tame last minute snarls.

7. Practice basic commands it super helpful to have a dog who will sit for at least a moment and not run off.

8. Consider props if your dog has a favorite toy or blanket Include them in some of the images.

9. Bring an assistant this could be your spouse your kids or your dog’s best friend.

10. Prepare yourself. If you are in a good mood your dog will be in a good mood. Patience and positivity go a long ways.

Preparing your cat for a portrait session is next!


Life Happens Quickly

Why Have Portraits Made? Part 2

TBT Libby

In my last post we talked about how often and why you should have professional portraits done. I told you about a local family with the mom of the family was diagnosed with cancer. You can read all about it here.

Today I want to talk about photographing your pets. As pet lovers we truly understand the fleeting time we have on this earth with our pets. We may only have a few years especially if we’ve adopted a senior animal.

While you think that they may not have changed much from year to year it can be shocking to see the difference.

I challenge you to look at your snapshots of your pet from one year ago and noticed they really have changed.

One of the comments I hear from potential clients all the time is “My dog is getting older I should schedule that session soon.” Often times by the next time I see them their dog has passed on and we didn’t get a chance to memorialize them with professional photos.

Having professional portraits of your pet every year (including your family of course) is a great way to memorialize moments & milestones.

My little toy poodle, Libby, I treasured for almost 13 years. She modeled for me all the time. I have pictures of her in a bubble bath, pictures of her in Halloween costumes, her helping me with new photography backgrounds. She always was happy to model for me for a piece of Tillamook cheese.

She had a medical issue as a very tiny puppy that we were treating at the veterinary hospital I worked at. The wonderful family brought her in to the hospital almost every day. One day I offered to add her to my family since I worked at the vet every day anyway. After careful consideration the family thought it was a great idea. (Libby had many “poodle parties” with them over the years after.)

Suddenly this January I noticed that will be wasn’t feeling well. Her spirits are always high so with her medical issues she sometimes had a fluctuating appetite and when she got a little picky I didn’t think much of it. But after really not being hungry for a couple of days and watching her pretty closely I decided to take her in to the veterinarian.  She was due to have a dental cleaning anyway and it’s standard procedure to have a full blood panel done before anesthesia.

The news came back very grave. My veterinarian called me the next morning at 7:30 in the morning and asked me to have her hospitalized for the day for supportive care for extremely high liver values. Of course we rushed her right in and she was put on fluids for the day and came home feeling spunky again.

The next day she seemed to go downhill again and so I scheduled the ultrasound we had put off the day before. Within about two hours a veterinarian call me back again and said the ultrasound showed very serious liver cancer.

I’d gone from having what I thought was a perfectly healthy dog two days ago to a dog that I just realized I had severe cancer. We knew we only had a couple of days left with her. I shutdown the studio I cancelled all of my volunteer efforts and I contacted my clients and took the next few days off. That Saturday we had let her go.

A week before I had bought a new camera lens and thought she would be of course a great model to try it out on. I’m so thankful I thought to use the lens right away and to use her as a model as always.

Now that she’s been gone nearly five months I’m so so glad that I took the time to take professional photographs of her.

Obviously the point of the story is to remind you that life happens quickly.

If you are already thinking of having professional portraits of your pet don’t put it off.

I make the process really, really simple and very catered to you. Even if your pet is sick or elderly or doesn’t get around very well I can come to your home and we can make special arrangements.

If you have any questions about scheduling your pet’s portrait session whether they’re young or old please give me a call text or email I’m happy to talk to you. I have free planning session consultations where we can discuss all of your questions and concerns.