Archive | Photography

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!




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.


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.


Animal Shelter Photography Volunteer Questions

Adoptable Kittens     Adoptable Puppies

Would you like to volunteer your photography services at a local animal shelter? Photographing adoptable animals is super rewarding! Your images can help a pet find a home, event photos can help non-profits in grant applications, and special events can help spread the word about their services. 

Before you walk in that shelter and start clicking away photographing those cute fuzzy kittens and playful puppies there’s some prep work that definitely needs to be done. Here are some tips from my last two years working with several rescues and nonprofits.

Meet with the volunteer coordinator in advance. Every shelter and rescue have their own set of volunteer training, requirements, and guidelines. Training will involve a tour of the facility, including places that are off limits, they will talk about safe handling of pets, and you will be trained on any other procedures specific to that facility.

There are a few key questions you need to ask at either your volunteer coordinator meeting or at your volunteer training.

  1. How often do they expect you to volunteer? Some shelters have an open policy for you come in when you are available and some expect a certain number of hours per week scheduled. How long are you committing to? Some shelters require a 6-month commitment While others just need an occasional photographer.
  1. Will the shelter assign a volunteer helper or do you need to find your own? If you find your own do they also need to go through the volunteer training? This is a very important question especially if you’ll be photographing cats or small animals, you will definitely need a helper!
  1. How soon do they expect images from your session? I find it’s best to submit your images as quickly as possible. I always have images to the shelters and rescues by the end of that day. Some places do have policies in place that you need to have the images to them within a certain number of hours.
  1. What format do the photos need to be? Some sites and web pages need the image cropped to a certain size or aspect ratio. They may need a certain quality size resolution or pixel size. One shelter I worked with needed horizontal 8 x 10 images. Otherwise the images look stretched or squashed and distorted.
  1. How many images of each animal do they need? Some adoption pages can only take one image while others can have several.
  1. How will you deliver their images? All of the organizations I’ve worked with so far are happy to download all of their images from Dropbox. If you’ve created a higher resolution image for a special project you may need to look into another gallery site. If you’ve only taken a few small resolution images you may be able to just add them to an email attachment.
  1. Find out specifically who you need to email the final images or image link to. Some rescues and shelters have several people who need access to the images where others you need to just send it to one person and they will forward it to the appropriate people.

Once you start volunteering be reliable! Everyone is relying on you to be professional, prompt, and consistent.

For more resources video tutorials and handy tips consider joining HeArtsSpeak. This is a community of creatives who volunteer their services to animal causes, rescues and shelters. If you have any questions you are welcome to ask me, I would love to help!


Art Show & Sale

Bath Garden Center (5)

Northern Colorado friends you are invited!

Join me this weekend, March 27-29th at Bath Garden Center in Fort Collins, Colorado on the corner of Prospect & Timberline.

Saturday, March 28th from 4:00-6:00 pm please join me at my Artist Reception. Enjoy snacks, enter to win a free portrait session, meet my new dog Kaylee, and browse and buy original Silver Paw Studio Art.

My 3 day art show features art pieces from the Animal House Rescue & Grooming Annual Spring Me Photo Session.

Proceeds from all sales to be donated to Animal House.

Can’t make it to the show but still want to participate?? Bid now on the Spring Me Art Canvas Wraps on Ebay here.

See you there!