HeArtsSpeak Guest Post

As a proud artist contributor to HeArtsSpeak I had the honor of being invited to write a blog post.

HeARTs Speak is a nationally recognized 501c3 nonprofit organization that’s uniting art and advocacy to increase the visibility of shelter animals.

As a prolific livestreamer they asked if I could help teach other volunteers some tricks. The focus of the blog post is to help animal causes learn live streaming to increase adoptions, fundraising and education.

Follow me to the post Live, Authentic, and Imperfect: The Power of the Live Stream. Where you will learn the before, during, and after steps in creating live streaming content.

If you are running a non-profit, a blog or social media channel or a business you will find golden nuggets of info you can implement this week. Pinky-promise!




Spring Me Flower Portraits

Saturday, March 18th
Bath Garden Center

Animal House Rescue & Grooming Pups will be photographed at the 3rd Annual Spring Me from the Shelter Portrait Event.

Last year people asked if their family pup could be photographed too.
Happy to say that we opened up 4 sessions this year!
Your pup will have the honor of wearing a flower collar from the Animal House portraits! Sessions will be at Bath Garden Center starting at about noon. 

Once a year and only 4 sessions available!

This once a year opportunity will also benefit Animal House!
Each session is $500 and includes:
 Unique flower collar
Portrait session in the greenhouse with Monique
11×14 Canvas Gallery Wrap Print 
2-8×10 Mounted Prints
Set of 20 Greeting Cards 
$100 donated to Animal House Rescue & Grooming

Grab your session now!



Cat Photography 101 Sale

Cat Photography 101 SaleDrum roll please….Cat Photography 101 is now available!

15 page e-book

60 minutes of video instruction

only $49!

This course is perfect for Bloggers, cat rescues and fosters, and cat lovers everywhere.

Even if you are an experience photographer you will learn my tricks for the unique subject of our feline friends. Cats have specific challenges and needs that differ widely from photographing anything or anyone else.

Topics covered:

  1. Top 3 Pet Photography Tips Before Ever Picking Up a Camera
  2. Choosing Cameras. dSLR vs cellphone
  3. Backgrounds. Environment vs “studio”
  4. Lighing. Natural, continuous, and speedlight
  5. Camera settings
  6. Attention Grabbers. Taste/Smell, Visual, Audio
  7. 5 Go-To Images to build your portfolio
  8. Post Production tips and apps
  9. Extras

Have your notepads ready, this course is jam packed with tips, resources and examples!



Cat Photography 101

You Can Learn How to Photograph Cats! Cat Photography 101

Ever wondered how the pros can get such stunning photos of cats?

This how-to course covers safety, backgrounds, cameras and settings, lighting, composition, post production and more.

This course is ideal for Bloggers, Rescue & Foster Cat Parents, and Cat Lovers.

Cat Photography 101 Course now on Pre-Sale!

Only $49 for over 45 minutes of video instruction and a 7 page .pdf e-book!

Pre-Sale here or click the shopping cart.

Release date is September 2016, but I am opening pre-sales now as part of the #PetLoversTribe Summer Shopping Event. All sales on Sunday, August 7th will have 5% of the proceeds donated to Fort Collins Cat Rescue Spay/Neuter Clinic.

Buy Now (1)

Special Thank You to The PetScope TV for hosting the August 7th event on Periscope!

Join this specific Cat Photography 101 list for notifications!

Have a question about cat photography you would like to see in this course or a future course? Please email me at Monique@SilverPawStudio.com. Thanks!



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. Canva.com: 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.