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

Adopt A Shelter Cat Month

June is Adopt A Shelter Cat Month. It's not a coincidence that it also happens to be the beginning of kitten season. This campaign was created to bring awareness to the number of felines looking to find forever homes. If you're ready to grow your family, here a few cats who are available for adoption from Centre County PAWS. Who knows, maybe one of them is your next best friend?

 Shadow

Shadow

 Jelly

Jelly

 Frieza

Frieza

 Sunny

Sunny

 Nittany the Kitteny

Nittany the Kitteny

 Edgar Allen Purr

Edgar Allen Purr

 Jelly Belly kittens   

Jelly Belly kittens

 

 Skppy

Skppy

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

The best dog Instagram accounts to follow

I don't know about you, but I love Instagram! I spend more time there than I do on Facebook anymore. While I get frustrated with the algorithms (like I do on Facebook), it's just so much happier and fun over there! And that might have more to do with the accounts I choose to follow than anything.

I have my favorite people that I look forward to seeing in my feed. That includes my friends, of course, my fellow pet photographers and the world travelers who share their experiences with the rest of us that dream of living life in their shoes! I love seeing adventures and landscapes from all over the world. But mostly, though, are the daily antics of the pets I follow that make me laugh and smile keeping me addicted to this app! So today, I thought I'd share a few of these accounts that you should be following if you aren't already.

With so at least 750 million Instagram users out there, how do you find and know which accounts are worth following? Well, first you can start with hash tagging your favorite breed of dog. Mine happens to be the golden retriever, and that's how I found @lizzie.bear. The adventures of 2 goldens, Lizzie and lil sis Ally, from Canada is quite possibly my favorite account. With posts almost on a daily basis, I find myself falling in love with these girls over and over again!

instagram.Lizzie.Ally

@Lizzie.bear

If you loved the book "Maddie on Things" by Theron Humphrey, you'll love his Instagram account @thiswildidea. A continuation of Maddie on things, under things, around things as this pair travel around the country. 

Maddie.thiswildidea.instagram

@thiswildidea

Next up is a dog who inspires other dog owners to get outside with their pups. Part dog, part wolf, @loki_the_wolfdog has over a million followers for a reason. Perhaps you've seen the very popular photo of Loki in a hammock with his owner? Definitely worth a look if you enjoy adventures all around this beautiful country of ours.

Loki.the.wolf.dog.instagram

@loki_the_wolfdog

Like a fluffy dog with a lot of attitude, then you're going to love @poochofnyc's account! Any bad hair day you're having will be better after you get your morning dose of Agador. Seriously!

poochofnyc.instagram

@poochofnyc

I just discovered @Manny_the_frenchie's account and for the life of me, I can't explain how it took me so long to find him. Photos coupled with hilarious captions of this runt of the litter went viral and last year the book "Manny the Frenchie's Art of Happiness" was published. For anyone who loves the bully breed, or just needs a daily dose of happiness, you need to be following this dog! 

Manny.the.frenchie.instagram

@Manny_the_frenchie

Not sure whether the captions make the photos or the photos make the captions, but @itsdougthepug's account is hilarious, cheesy, and so creative, you'll wish you came up with this stuff! Head over to Instagram and start following this wild pug's account, if you aren't already!

doug.the.pug.instagram

@itsdougthepug

I love a story like Marnie's. A shih tzu, she was adopted from a shelter when she was 11 years old after being rescued from the streets in Connecticut. Having lost all her teeth to tooth decay, and a permanent head tilt due to vestibular disease, she's got a face that over 2 million followers have fallen in love with! 

Marnie.shih.tzu.instagram

@marniethedog

One thing I love about social media is that you can follow accounts from all over the world. We may not understand the language, but it doesn't matter on an app like Instagram where pictures are truly worth a thousand words. Perhaps the happiest dog on earth, Maru, a shiba Inu who hails from Japan, has garnered over 2 million fans who enjoy simple everyday life as a dog, but with a smile. 

marutaro.instagram.dog

@marutaro

There's just something about a Pomeranian. Maybe it's their small size, or their big eyes, or just their uncanny ability to look more like a stuffed toy than a real dog. You already know about. Boo, who became famous on Facebook, but have you heard of @jiffpom? I hadn't until recently either, but about 3 photos into this account, I was already madly in love! He set the record in 2017 for having over 8 million followers for an animal!!! Now that's a lot of fans!!

Jillpom.instagram.dog

@jiffpom

Ok, so this last account doesn't belong to a dog, but I couldn't resist. Lil Bub was the runt of her litter and was born with multiple health issues including an extreme form of feline dwarfism. She has helped raised awareness about adoption raising money for the ASPCA. A tiny cat, she has a huge following with over 1 million fans! 

Lil.Bub.instagram.cat

@iamlilbub

What are some of your favorite dog and cat Instagram accounts I should be following? Share in the comments below!