Archive | How-To

FaceTime Photoshoots | Virtual Portrait Sessions

A warm spring day greeted me in Savannah, Georgia last week. Lush grass, flourishing garden and tshirt temperatures.

My daughter Amber prepared all morning for my arrival. Curling hair, accentuating lashes and donning a favorite outfit. Our photo session started at 1:00 and she and Ranger were ready when I arrived. Ranger sported his bowtie and had a bowl of treats at the ready. We surveyed the backyard together looking for perfect locations for her portraits.The weathered wooden fence would make a nice backdrop. Geometric firewood stack would create lovely texture. Shade under the big tree would give us even lighting. Within minutes I was directing Amber. Lean a little closer to the tree, drop your front shoulder, tilt the top of your head the other way just a tad. Perfect! And I clicked the camera. Ranger had his turn too. He laid regally in the grass tilting his head when I squeaked the toy. He used all the patience a 7 month old puppy has to lay still a moment to earn yummy treats. We even managed a few sweet photos of Amber and Ranger together. Amber and I had an absolute blast for two hours in her backyard. 

Amber and Ranger facetime photoshootAmber and Ranger

Ranger facetime photoshoot


The biggest drawback to our photo session was that I wasn’t physically in Savannah. The entire photo session happened over a Facebook Messenger Video Call (Same as the iPhone FaceTime). She put her phone on a stand and I guided her where to place it. I used all my skills as a photographer from scouting the location, to judging the light, to posing and encouraging. In the app there is a screenshot button and I simply used that to take all the images.

Were the photos high resolution like my Sony cameras produce? Nope. Did I have control over all the camera settings? Nope. Could I zoom my big lens? Nope. Could these photos be enlarged as a big canvas over the mantle? Nope.

Photographers are constantly touting “the experience” we give our clients during a photo session. How fun and easy it is to work with us. The time getting to know each other and hearing your tales. The natural expressions and interactions we can direct our subjects into. The self confidence we help build in shy people. How we bring families physically together for an hour or so. The encouragement, the listening ear, and the sense of belonging. 

We don’t need to hold a physical camera for any of those parts of the experience. 

In times like these when we are physically far from our clients photographers are feeling lost. How can they earn a living or prove they are any good without holding and working that glass and metal box we call a camera?

Amber facetime photoshootAmber and Ranger facetime photoshootAmber facetime photoshoot


For me this Virtual Portrait Session / FaceTime Photos reminded me of all the skills I have acquired over nearly two decades that reach beyond being a camera operator. The connection I had with Amber during our virtual photos felt just like all the other modeling sessions we have done together. We both came away feeling closer, energized and seen.

This is what I strive for in EVERY session. 

Of course I yearn for the day I can fulfill that final part of the experience and craft a beautiful print my clients can cherish on their walls or side tables for years. 

But in the meantime I will be reflecting on what my mission as a photographer and videographer is. What it means to my clients. What it means for the businesses and causes I support. It extends far beyond the photograph or the video.

My Mission is To Empower You to tell all your Tales with Tails.

And I do that through photography, videography, consulting and teaching. 

While we still have a couple weeks or longer keeping our physical distance from each other would you like to have a fun afternoon Virtual Photo Session? These sessions are just for fun, no cost, no pressure. Just a time to connect, maybe dress up, and come away with a few unique digital images. Just call, text or email and we will set a time.

Amber and I recorded a video about the experience if you want to try it with me or your friends.

If you would like to wait and have a photo session IRL in the future I am happy to schedule a phone/zoom consultation. Then we will be ready to go when the world is open to us again.

I miss you all and send lots of hugs and high paws from afar.

Amber facetime photoshootAmber and Ranger

Ranger facetime photoshoot


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 Thanks!



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!



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.