Archive | Session Spotlight

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


Puppies Interrupt Tax Season

Best way to distract yourself during tax season? Play with puppies! That’s exactly what I did. While Jenny slaved away on my annual tax return I played with these two cutie pies. Great trade off if you ask me. While my favorite activity is not juggling numbers it is for Jenny! She is sharp as a tack and well educated on tax returns as well as bookkeeping, payroll, financial advising and all those money tasks that small businesses and individuals need! Here’s her info Jennifer Untied, Accountant.



Every Year Except One

Why Have Portraits Made? Part 1

Why should I have professional family portrait taken and how often?

hamster family tradition

This is a common question for my studio. Generally I suggest a portrait session every year. Yearly portrait sessions are especially important if you have a puppy or small children because they do grow and change so quickly. Most common is for people that have a portrait session every year so they can add those photos to their Christmas cards or Mother’s Day presents are birthday presents and be and have the record of their family every single year.

One family I photograph every year has a very special story.

They purchased a portrait session gift certificate at a Boy Scout auction. there previous photographer had moved away or gone out of business and they always had family portrait taken.

When they hired me they showed me all their family pictures from every one of the last 14 years leading up there stairway and through their upstairs hall. Except for one year. A family of four, the children were in elementary school when mom was diagnosed with cancer.  

Summer of 2014 we chose a local park for the portrait session. The family even brought the dog and the hamster! Although the mosquitoes were out in force we all had fun posing in the flowers.

Spring of 2015 this family won the Boy Scout auction once again and I waited for the call to set up their session. By the end of October I haven’t heard from them so I reached out to schedule before the snow and the busy holidays started. 

The email I got back from Dad brought me to tears. Mom’s cancer has come back and they were spending the month at a hospital in Denver.  I offered to come to Denver and photograph the family at a garden near the hospital. But Dad relayed that Mom just wasn’t comfortable having to wear a hat and not feeling well in her family portrait. Of course I completely understood. I offered to help in any way I could and let him know that I would touch base again in a few weeks.

By the end of December I heard again from Dad. Maybe we could do our family portraits inside in our home and our Christmas tree? Of course I said yes and we set a date just before Christmas.

Once again the family of four gathered with the dog and hamster and we enjoyed portraits around the Christmas tree and in front of the fireplace in the comfort of their home.

This year I saw the family again at the Boy Scout dinner. Dad was busy coordinating the huge dinner. Mom looked great and was back to work. The kids were working hard at middle school and high school.

Yes, they won the auction again. This summer we will meet again, laugh at the silly hamster, try new hats for Mom, and make another family portrait to display forever with all the previous years. Many thanks to this family for treasuring their family with a professional portrait every year.

(They are a very private family and asked me to keep them anonymous when telling their story.)


Custom Portraits- Artwork Bound to Your Heart

Bound to my Heart

“This is a piece of artwork bound to my heart forever.” Gary’s reaction to his portraits. (See full video with Gary Calderone on YouTube here.)

I love personally guiding you through your portrait session, getting to know you and getting to know your fur babies. In this video Gary talks about his special session with his dog Maya. He touches a little on each step of my process and you get to see his reaction to seeing his printed portraits for the first time.

I want to be sure that I fulfill your portrait Vision.

With your custom portrait session we start off with a planning meeting. This meeting I get to know you and your pets and we plan your session. We’ll talk about location; whether you want to have a session outside or in your home or if you want me to bring my full studio set-up. We’ll talk about what to wear, colors and decor that are your favorite.

The day of your session It’s all about fun. Everyone has their favorite outfit on, we’re at a comfortable location and I brought special t-r-e-a-t-s for the furbabies. Because we’re so organized we only need about an hour for the session which is perfect amount of time for your pets and really for people too.

Give me a few days to edit all of your images and we meet again at your home or a favorite coffee shop to review all the images together. If you have a special place in your home you want to display your portraits send me a snapshot and my professional software will show you your images to scale in your space.

Once your order is placed you will only have to wait a week to two weeks for your order to arrive. I personally deliver your portrait order to you. It’s always so much fun to unbox everything with you and see all the smiles from that happy day.

Call email or text today if you have any questions, want to set up your free planning meeting or just want to chat about pets. I look forward to talking with you!



Magical Snow Session

Snowy winter days are for hot chocolate, movies, and fireplaces right? Not for this photographer!
Anisha and Animals Snow Silver Paw Studio
Months of planning and one well timed snow storm made for a magic portrait session.
As a veterinary student at CSU (Colorado State University) Anisha has very little time for anything besides studying. We knew we wanted to have a portrait session in the snow and kept in close contact anytime a storm seemed imminent. As luck would have it a snow storm hit on Thanksgiving when she had a 4 day weekend!
Anisha with her horse, Slick, and 2 cattle dogs, Diego & Daisy, happily met me at the barn during Thanksgiving weekend.
Romping through the snow in their winter sweaters, I snapped some images of the pups playing while Anisha prepped Slick.
Anisha and Animals Snow Silver Paw Studio-0573 Anisha and Animals Snow Silver Paw Studio-0603
Tiny snowflakes continued to fall as we headed into the field. Top of the list of requested images was photos of everyone together. I had everyone walk slowly across the pristine half foot of snow, then follow the fence line, and finally walk slowly back toward me. Once in the middle of the field posed family photos were next. By now the dogs were ready to run and play again but patiently waited in the snow for the few minutes I needed.
Anisha and Animals Snow Silver Paw Studio--2
Finally it came time for Slick to have his playtime! We removed all of his gear and let him kick up snow to his content!
Anisha and Animals Snow Silver Paw Studio-0950
This session is one of several in a year long project which will be completed by late spring 2016. Anisha and I  both agree that this session is so far our favorite and most magical. What do you think?
Winter can be a beautiful time for pet and family portraits, please call me to plan yours too!
 Anisha and Animals Snow Silver Paw Studio-0908