Featured | Daily Dog Tag

I've been following Beth Patterson at Daily Dog Tag for a while now. She has a great blog where she features all things dog related. I find great recipes, gift ideas for the pups and dog lovers in our lives, adoptables, and pet photography sessions from photographers all over the world. One of my goals this year was to get a blog post of mine featured on blogs like Beth's. I was really excited when she said she would feature my senior session of Kya who included her dog Tux in the photos. You can see it HERE! Be sure to check out the rest of her BLOG while you're there! 

Daily dog tag feature

Hayley | State College pet photography

I ask every client why they are choosing to get professional photos taken of their furry family members now. It’s important to me to know what is going on at this time in their life that prompted them to call me. After all, we don’t hire professional photographers often. Sure, we take photos almost daily with our cell phones, but hiring a professional photographer is generally reserved for special occasions. When Hayley’s family called me, they felt it was important to have a family photo now before it was too late. Hayley is 11 and in greyhound years, that’s getting up there. She’s still healthy and active, but they’ve noticed signs of her slowing down. So we set up a session for this fall. 

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Our original date ended up being too overcast and frankly, too warm. So we rescheduled for a few days later when the temperatures dropped to a more typical range. It was a beautiful sunny day and as the earth rotates, I find the golden hour even more spectacular in the fall than in the spring and summer. 

Hayley was a former racing dog who was rescued when she was about 2 years old. Retired because she was too slow, she found her way to PA and into the hearts of one couple. They had dogs before, but Hayley was their first greyhound. It didn't take long before they saw how special this girl is. They doted on and treated her like a princess. Here in central PA, we have a wonderful organization, Nittany Greyhounds, that has found homes for over 1000 retired racing greyhounds. Hayley was one of them. 

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Hayley was a little nervous and anxious when she got to the park. Lots of kids were out playing on the basketball court nearby. She wasn’t sure of all the brush under her feet in the field either. So I had her owners walk her around a little bit to shake off some of her nervous energy. Always on alert, it was hard to distract her with noises and flying objects as we tried to get her attention toward the camera. After a while, I swear she felt she was too mature for these kinds of games and tuned me out completely. In spite of that, we did get some great shots of her relaxed and ears perked forward. In fact, I might even go as far as saying she is smiling! 

Hayley's family portrait all hang on the wall next to an older family photo taken when she was much younger. It's sessions like this that I am grateful for being a part of capturing a moment in time that will be cherished for many years to come. 

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!

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Lessons from the Dog - Play Daily

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It’s the middle of summer and I’m in the thick of peak season of pet sitting. When folks are traveling, that’s when I’m busiest taking care of pets who can’t travel with their families. The busier I get, the less free time I have. Which means that my dogs spend more time home alone and get walked less often. I always say the best part of my day is coming home to them. Not only do I get to take my shoes off and put my feet up for a break, but I get to spend time with them.

Izzy and Kita on the other hand are full of energy and ready to play. Often, I push them away and say later. I’ve got emails to check, phone calls to make, laundry to finish and so on. Kita being the younger of the two, is usually more excited for some playtime. If she’s especially bored, she’ll get the toys from her toy box out and spread them all over the living room. To get my attention or to entice me to play, she’ll grab a toy and bounce over to me, wiggling her butt and then running away when I make a move toward her. Time for a game of chase, I can hear her thinking! It’s hard not to engage her, no matter what. And when I do, I’m always grateful I did.

Yes, phone calls are important, and I do need some clean socks to wear tomorrow, but seeing how happy they are after a game of tug of war, or chase makes me feel better than any amount of clean laundry! So I try my best to make time daily to play with my girls. Just like going for a walk, breaks from work, chores and the computer are good for my mind. Kita is so goofy when she plays she often makes me laugh. And laughter is good for the soul.

When I’m having an especially stressful day, Izzy and Kita are always there to remind me it’s the little things in life that matter most. Spending time together, having fun and most of all playing, even just for 10 minutes a day, can put the things I stress about in perspective. At the end of the day, what I remember most is how I spent my time with my girls simply living and enjoying life.

PIN IT!

Lessons from the dog - play daily

Waiting for Perfect

I’ve been thinking about the word perfect a lot lately. And how striving to be perfect can be more of a hindrance than a badge of honor. Almost everything I do, I want it to be perfect. And that may be keeping me from living the best life I can.

I can agonize over a decision for days, weeks or months. It takes me what seems like forever to muster the courage to pursue something I want to do. What if I fail? What if I make the wrong choice?  What if I embarrass myself? I often find myself waiting until everything is “perfect” before I take the plunge and try something. Like opening a photography business. But the truth is, nothing is ever going be perfect. So either I’m going to wait a very long time or I’m going to have to accept this and give it my best shot.

My husband is my biggest cheerleader. He encouraged me to open my photography business long before I felt ready to do so. I made one excuse after another (some were valid), but his reply was always the same. You’re waiting for perfect and it’s never going to happen. Do it. Now. With what you have. With what you know. You’ll figure it out. And it’ll be ok.

Yes, I’ve made mistakes. Plenty of them. I’ve forgotten to change a setting on my camera and had to delete files that were not savable. Or spent too much time “chimping” by looking at the back of my camera to make sure I got a good exposure, missing a super sweet moment between a dog and his owner. Or ended a session because it appeared as though the clouds have rolled in and we’re not going to get that awesome golden light that I love. Only to see the clouds part and the sky awash in color on my way home. If only I had stuck around and waited. I’m sure you relate, maybe you’ve made the same errors.

While I'm not proud of my mistakes, I’ve learned more from them than when I accidently did something right. I find these can be some of my best teaching moments. I make note of it and vow to do better next time. It’s amazing how much you can grow when you pay attention to these lessons. And while I may have questioned my skills, or felt stupid at the time, looking back, I’m always grateful for these experiences. They helped make me better than I was before.

I love this quote, “Be real, not perfect.” I bet all of us know or have met someone who seemingly is perfect. Honestly, I find that I avoid those people. They always make me feel less than worthy, not good enough or simply inadequate. I’d rather hang out with someone who shares her true self, the person who falls every once in a while but picks herself up and tries again. I relate to her. Not to the one who hides all her mistakes or exaggerates to make herself appear flawless. Because there isn’t a single perfect person on this planet.

Sure, I strive to be perfect…to never make a mistake, to have all my projects go smoothly, to create stunning images every single time. Sometimes I even get lucky. But no matter what, I've always been true to myself. Flaws and all. I guess you could say I'm perfectly imperfect doing the best I can. And that's as real as it gets.

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