Pet photography sessions on the road!

One of my goals for 2018 was to do more traveling. It's something I enjoy and I think it's great to get out of my small town and experience other cities, countries and cultures. If I could find a way to travel AND make money at the same time, it's something I'd do in a heartbeat. Which then led to this crazy thought of why not travel and do pet photography sessions at the same time? This would combine several of my all time favorite things...dogs, travel, and photography. What could be more perfect?? 

Some of the places I'd love to visit on my bucket list include Iceland, Norway, England, Spain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Africa, Dubai, and of course, Italy and Greece. Since that's a bit of a tall order (I won't give up on my dream though!), maybe I should start a little closer to home, huh?

So how about Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington DC, NYC and Princeton NJ? All of these are places I've visited and/or lived at one time or another. I've got a pretty good lay of the land and know some great locations for photo shoots. Just add a puppy or two (or more), and I'm there! Seriously though, I am being serious! Know anyone in these locations who'd love to have a photo session with me and their beloved fur kids? Tell them to contact me. If I can get enough folks signed up, I'll start planning a photo session they will never forget!

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Kita on the beach | Southwest FL pet photographer

I've been so busy networking I haven't had time to photograph since we arrived in Florida. But that changed last night. For months I've had this image in my mind that I wanted to create while I was here.  As always, making what you envision a reality isn't always as easy as you think. But this is pretty close. 

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Yesterday I spent some time researching locations for photo shoots. I can't wait to go and explore with my camera and some dog models!

Have a great weekend!
 

Florida Recap - Week 1

It’s been a week since we arrived in Florida. And it’s gone by very quickly. In some ways I got more accomplished than I had expected, in other ways, I’ve hardly made a dent in my to do list.

After a day’s rest, I hit the ground running. I headed up to Venice for the Bark for Life event. I met a lot of great folks, several who were excited to hear I might be settling down in the area. I was pleasantly surprised by how many people told me they had hired a pet photographer. Some had a bad experience, others said their family had grown since their last session and it was time to think about having another one.

The next day I headed down to Naples for the Pets on Third event on Third Street South. It’s hard to say for sure, but I’m guessing about a hundred dogs or so attended. I saw dogs in strollers, dogs dressed up, dogs with dyed fur, big dogs, little dogs and a breeds I don’t usually see in Pennsylvania. There was a pet ambulance, a wolf sanctuary that brought a tiger, skunk and several snakes. The highlight of the day was the pet parade with the theme Pets at the Oscars. Dogs dressed up and many owners matched outfits as they walked down a red carpet. Prizes were awarded as judges judged attendees in several categories. I made a few connections with a few other artists including photographers. It’s always fun to meet others who share the same passion as me.

Monday night I attended a local PPA (Professional Photographers of America) meeting in Sarasota. I called the group a couple of days before the meeting to find out more information and was so glad I did. They had a great presentation and announced that a CPP (Certified Professional Photographers) prep class was being offered the following week. Declaring my candidacy for the CPP is on my list of things to do in 2017. It was too ironic that the photographer who wrote the study guide would be teaching it while I’d be in the area. I'm looking forward to his class.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I visited a couple of pet stores in the area and talked to the owners about my pet photography. They were excited to meet me and were more than happy to take my business cards to share with their clients.

All in all, it’s been a great seven days. I’ve gotten lots of encouragement and interest in my work. Folks have been very kind to us, sharing tips on where to live, shop and market my business. I must admit though, what I’ve enjoyed the most is the sunshine. There’s nothing good about a cold, bleak January day after day in Pennsylvania. Down here, I’ve been able to sit outdoors and watch the sunset every night. Whether it’s a spectacular one or not, there’s no doubt the sun makes me feel a little happier.

There's nothing like a Florida sunset!

We’re here! I made it to Florida and I’m really excited about these next several weeks! I’ve got a list of places to photograph, events I’ll be participating, business owners to meet, photography group meetings to attend and of course, dogs to photograph! It was actually pretty warm in the northeast today, but there’s just something about the sun. As soon as we crossed the state line into the sunshine state, my mood became a little happier, my attitude a little perkier and in spite of being tired from driving, my body a little more energized!

I've longed to sit on the beach and watch the sun kiss the horizon in the last few moments of daylight. Such a wonderful way to end a day!

Traveling with your pets

I’ve been counting down the days to our extended trip to Florida and it’s hard to believe in less than a week I’ll be waking up to the swooshing sounds of the ocean! I’m excited and really looking forward to my time in the sunshine state. It is, however, not without a lot of preparation. My girls Izzy and Kita are coming with us too! Which means we need to be prepared for the long drive down with them as well. My husband and I have made this trek by car several times over the years - his family has been in the area either part or full-time since he was a young child.  As I pack our gear, I thought I’d share a few tips for traveling with your pets. Whether it’s a 3 hour drive to the other side of the state, or a long trip across the country, more and more folks are bringing their furry family members along for the adventure.

Not every dog is ok with car rides. When we brought Kita home from PAWS, she threw up on the short car ride to our house. I thought it was all the changes from being surrendered then taken to the shelter and ending up at our house all in the same day. But when we took her to obedience class, to the vet or back to the shelter, she threw up every time. Izzy was great from the first day she came to live with us, so I wasn’t prepared for Kita’s carsickness. I was determined to have her enjoy car rides, so I took her for short rides every week. Just 2 miles down the street, to the bank, to the park, to the bike path, to visit a dog friend of ours and back. I wanted something fun to happen when we got to our destination so she would look forward to getting in the car. In just a short period of time, she got over it and we haven’t had any problems with her since. When we travel for longer trips, I don’t feed her a full meal, instead, giving her a handful of food throughout the day. On this long trip, I’ll feed her small meals at each rest stop. If you have a dog like Kita, ginger capsules beforehand is another option to help with carsickness.

It’s important to stop frequently and give your dog a chance to stretch their legs. I also relish walking at each break after sitting for several hours. Just like you need plenty of water, so do your pooches. If you’re not sure about water sources on your journey, then bring a cooler or a jug from home. Dogs like routine and feeding them their usual meal at their usual feeding time is important when you are on the road. So don’t forget to pack enough food for the duration of your trip. Keep your car well-ventilated. It’s better to use the air conditioner than to let your dog hang their head out the window. But if you do, buy a pair of dog googles so they don’t get injuries to their eyes from flying debris.

Because we’ll be away from home for several weeks, I’m also packing their vaccination records, including their rabies tags. I don’t expect to need it, but it’s better to be over than under prepared. Many dogs get spooked or break away from cars at rest stops, so it’s also a good idea to bring a recent photo of your pooch. Hopefully this will never happen, but if you do find yourself chasing a loose dog, it’ll help to show people what your dog looks like. Updated identification tags are important too. My girls have tags with our address and my cell phone number. When we get to FL, I’ll switch to tags that will have our FL address instead.

Last, but most important, is safety restraints. I was astonished when I learned 30,000+ accidents occur each year because of an unrestrained pet. Did you know an unrestrained 10 pound dog in a car crash at 50 mph will exert 500 pounds of force? And an unrestrained 80 pound dog in a crash at 30 mph will exert 2400 pounds of force! I’ve had a seat belt for Izzy ever since she was a young pup. I just bought one for Kita too. If you choose to crate your dog, be sure to tether the crate to the car too. If you get slammed from behind, or to the side and the door opens, the crate will fall out. On a highway, this will only end badly. I did a great deal of research when I shopped for Kita’s seat belt. I believe it won’t be long before there are laws requiring all pets be restrained in a moving vehicle. Just like car crash tests, there are tests being conducted evaluating how safe pet restraints are. I chose one made by Kurgo. To date, they have only tested safe for pets up to 75 pounds. Since Kita is 25 pounds, it will be perfect for her.

So whether you are taking a short trip or a long journey with your furry friends, I hope you found these tips helpful! 

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Traveling with your pets