Moyer Jeweler Display

I’m constantly brainstorming ways to market my photography business. From using social media, writing this blog, designing a website to networking with other businesses, I’m always looking for ways to get my name as a pet photographer out there. So when I had this idea a few years ago, I thought, nah, they’ll never go for it. But why not create a B2B relationship with Moyer Jeweler and display photos of PAWS cats in their windows during the month of June, Adopt A Shelter Cat Month. 

So last fall, I suggested my idea to Lori Moyer and she was on board with it! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, in addition to being a volunteer, Lori and her family have been huge supporters of PAWS for a long time.

I called Lori back this spring and we made a plan to make this happen. My ultimate goal is to bring more attention to some of the cats who have been at PAWS for a while and help them find forever homes at long last. I also wanted to showcase photos that have more personality than what I capture for the website. I gathered a few props, got some more backdrops and set a date for the photo shoot. This was going to be a lot of fun! 

Everything came together and I couldn’t be more excited about this. The display runs from June 3 - June 30th. If you have a chance, head downtown and check it out for yourself. I can’t thank Lori and PAWS enough for their support in making this happen. I hope by doing this, we can help make at least one kitty’s wishes come true!

Moyer Jeweler's downtown State College
Moyer Jeweler's downtown State College II
Moyer Jeweler's downtown State College III
Sweetie tabby rescue cat
Sunny orange tabby shelter cat
Frannie's kittens Moyer Jeweler display

It takes a team

I get a lot of comments on my photos of the shelter cats. People are amazed that I can capture the personality of these cats in this tough environment. Many cats are scared, shy and insecure in this relatively new environment to them. The kitten photos, especially ones of the entire litter, are a big hit. And while I am the one who presses the shutter button on the camera, I don’t work alone.

When I started volunteering at PAWS, I had little experience with photography. Knowing that I loved photographing animals, I thought working with the shelter pets would be a great place for me to practice and improve my skills. At first it was just me, my camera and a cat in a room. Eventually I learned to bring things like string and kitty toys to get the cats attention. But they were always a moving target and sometimes I would take me as much as 15 minutes before I could get one decent photo. 

Then I started learning about off-camera flash and studio photography. I bought a white sheet and started using a flash. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a step better than what I had been creating. Eventually PAWS bought a strobe and I bought a light stand and umbrella. It was hard, but doable, multitasking to get these photos. It meant holding the camera, playing with a feather toy and trying to keep the cat on a table long enough to press the shutter button to get a photo…in focus! I didn’t photograph many cats because it took so long just to get something that was usable. 

After I earned enough points from all of my photography purchases at B & H, THE photo and video store in NYC, I was able to get a couple of savage seamless paper rolls for free. I chose colors that would be a nice background for my photos. At this point, I realized I couldn’t continue to work on my own. So I put out a plea and started working with an assistant. Someone who would help keep the cats on the table and engage them while I focus on getting the shot.

Yes, this means more effort to set up my equipment, but having an assistant also means I can photograph more cats every time I go into PAWS. And those photos of a bucket of kittens? Well, now you know the secret behind the shot! My assistant keeps all the kittens in place and with a few swishes of a feather toy, the kittens pop up and follow it with their eyes, while I just wait until that right moment and press the shutter button! 

I’ve had a couple of assistants over the last couple of years. Rebecca, my current one, has been helping for the last 2 years. Unfortunately for me, she is graduated from Penn State and is moving overseas to pursue a Master’s Degree. The hundreds of photos I’ve taken over the years wouldn’t have happened without Rebecca and all the other folks who have assisted me. Like so many other things at PAWS, it really is a team effort and I, alone, don’t deserve all the credit. 

Before saying good-bye to Rebecca, I took one last photo of her with this litter of kittens. Not only did she help me with the photos, but she also walked the dogs, took cats to the vet to be spayed or neutered, volunteered on the floor on the cat wing and so much more. Our volunteers from Penn State are invaluable and while we are always sad to see them go, we know they have bright futures waiting for them!

Rebecca and Frannie's kittens.jpg

Home for the Holidays

The holidays are such a fun time of the year! Family gatherings, baking cookies, gift shopping and feeling the magic of the spirit of the season through the eyes of children. And yes, I feel the stress too, but I do my best to focus on the moment and enjoy the process. At the end of every night, I turn the lights on our Christmas tree and just sit quietly taking it all in. The fact that it snowed last night, made it even prettier!

It's also a wonderful time for many animals who find their forever homes just in time for the holidays. What an extra special Christmas it is for those families! Here are a few who are hoping or will be home for the holidays! To learn more about these and many other cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, click HERE to go to the Centre County PAWS website. 

E kitten I.jpg

EE kitten I

E kitten II.jpg

EE kitten II

Jack.jpg

Jack

Ivy.jpg

Ivy

Pumpkin and Spice.jpg

Pumpkin & Spice

Izzy.jpg

Izzy

Spot and Little Patches.jpg

Spot & Little Patches

Whitney.jpg

Whitney

Yellow Power Ranger.jpg

Yellow Power Ranger

Centre County PAWS 12th Annual Fur Ball

As many of you know, I am a huge supporter of PAWS. Not only do I photograph the homeless cats and kittens, my husband and I have fostered a few dogs and adopted one as well. It's a wonderful organization helping unite hundreds of animals with their forever families each year. In order to do this, they need the generous support of the community through donations. This Saturday September 23 is their biggest fundraising event of the year - the 12th annual Fur Ball. An evening of cocktails, delicious food, a silent and a live auction, the event takes place at the Centre Hills Country Club. Tickets are $125 per person and can be purchased by contacting PAWS or clicking HERE

I have donated a pet photography session for up to 2 pets and 2 people AND a 16 x 20 canvas wrap. This will be my last donation of the year, so if you've wanted to get photos of your furry family members and help a great cause, now is the time to do so!

PAWS.furball.charity.pic