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Sunday, January 29, 2012

puppy! | burlington, ontario, pet photographer

If you need a smile today, this might help! This little guy is up for adoption — with that face, I think he'll be snapped up in no time!
Hope you're all having a good weekend!

~ Stacey

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

chloe on canvas

Have you met Chloe yet? She's top dog at our house, although our bossypants cat would probably protest this (Kitty thinks she is top cat AND top dog). We adopted Chloe at age four and despite her insane tennis ball obsession, she is just amazing. We love her. Here is Chloe at her birthday last year when she turned six.
And now I get to look at that moment every day because here is Chloe on canvas!
I ordered this 15x30 canvas a while ago, but didn't get around to sharing it until now. I love it! It's a gallery wrap canvas with a nice chunky profile — I offer this product through the Happy Tails collection.
Here's an even closer look at the thickness. This canvas is one-inch thick, but you can also order these at two-inches thick.
 These canvases are hand-stretched and come laminated for durability. The quality is really stunning. I swear it looks like Chloe is going to pop right off my wall!
Here's the back, which is neatly finished. It comes ready to hang too, with a wire hanger or metal brackets (these are not recommended for bigger sizes).
I think this is a great example of how to approach art and professional photography in general. Before your session, try to have a good idea of how you are going to display your images, so your photographer can help meet your needs. And don't keep your finished photos languishing on disc or print off a dinky 4x6. You are investing in art, so treat your images as such!

This canvas was ordered through one of my trusted professional labs — the quality of ordering through a true pro lab that caters to photographers is undeniable. Please don't snap up a WagJag deal or go to your local Walmart. You have made the investment in professional photography — don't ruin it on poor-quality printing.

And when it comes to choosing images, don't feel compelled to pick the ones that are the best technically. This image of Chloe isn't the best work I've ever done — I had half a second to capture it before she gobbled up that cookie and some of the highlights are blown out. But it makes me smile every single day. Images that elicit an emotional reaction are the ones you will get the most enjoyment from day in and day out.
I will have this piece of art to enjoy long after Chloe is gone. It's a sad fact that our canine companions leave us much sooner than they should. It gives me comfort knowing that I'll always have a visual moment to cherish of my most favourite four-legger.

~ Stacey

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Friday, January 20, 2012

heart strings tugged | southern ontario pet photographer

Utterly overwhelmed. That's how I've been feeling with the huge outpouring of submissions to my little model call. To be more specific, the past two weeks have been filled with teary, heart-bursting, emotional "aww" moments with every email I opened.

I am so honoured that so many people opened their hearts to me and shared such amazing stories of perseverance, compassion and unconditional love. That so many of you have opened your homes to a dog in need is truly inspirational — you are all heroes.

This was never meant to be a competition - I was just hoping to find a volunteer to help me with a personal project. How could I possibly choose a dog based on which one has the best story, or which owner loves their pet the most? That's impossible! Every dog is a winner in my books. I don't want anyone to be disappointed or think their pooch didn't measure up. Every single entry blew me away ... I even considered having Chloe draw a name out of a hat, but wasn't sure if that would be considered cheating.

So after much consideration and several sleepless nights (seriously, it's been ridiculously hard), here are my model helpers — yep, I just couldn't decide so I chose TWO:  Husky Kyra and retriever Smiley (can't help but be happy when you say that name!). I'll be in touch to book your sessions!
Photos submitted by owners

In addition, I just had to pick two runner-ups who will also be getting something special. They are: Sweet old man Charlie and little Miss Maggie! Check your inboxes soon for a treat!
Photos submitted by owners

But wait, there's more. Because I really was so touched by each and every story, and because EVERY dog is special and deserves a photo shoot, I'm offering everyone else that entered $50 OFF a 2012 Happy Tails photo session.

Thank you everyone for volunteering your dearly-loved pets for me. I'll leave you with this heartfelt quote that epitomizes all of your beautiful four-leggers: "Dogs are miracles with paws."

Now go give your dog a belly rub and sing their praises!

~ Stacey

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Monday, January 16, 2012

furry faces | southern ontario pet photographer

I thought I would share a few more of the furry faces I've had the pleasure of photographing at the Burlington Humane Society. I'm happy to report that several have already been adopted!

One of the volunteers left me this wonderful comment:

"Just to let you know, we have had lots of great compliments on your photos and in some cases, they are drawing people in as they come to see specific animals whose pictures have caught their eye as they were looking.  Thank you so much for coming in to take photos.  We really appreciate your time, your photos are wonderful and it is making a difference for the animals."

These photos are pretty much straight out of camera. I don't do any processing aside from a little brightening and optimizing them for the web. I want prospective families to see how the animal really is, so I try to capture each dog and cat's personality rather than worry about the exposure in the rest of the photo or if I cut a tail off. I think you can tell which ones are shy and the ones that are more curious. The ones that are super affectionate are typically the really closeup images, usually because they like to be close and hang around my feet.

I've said it before — I have never met an animal here that I wouldn't take home. They are all amazing creatures!

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

5 winter tips for pets | southern ontario pet photographer

Old man winter is taking his time arriving in southern Ontario this season, but I don’t want to be lulled into a false sense of security … the snow will fly at some point! We’ve had a few dustings of the white stuff, and some ice to go along with it, but we’ve gotten off easy so far. So, before we get hit really hard, I thought a post about winter weather tips for pets might be helpful.

Chloe loves the snow. And the rain. And the mud … weather never deters her from wanting to go outside and play ball. But there are a few special considerations all pet owners should take in the colder weather.

1) Use salt on your driveway and walkway that is specially formulated for pets. It’s more expensive, but it’s not harmful if ingested. We recently bought a bag for our house. It’s safe and as you can see, it works really well. And there's a Chloe look-alike on the bag!
After walks, wipe off your dog's legs, paws and belly — neighbours might not be as diligent about pet safety and your dog can ingest salt, antifreeze and other winter chemicals by licking his paws.

2) Did you know more dogs are lost during the winter than any other season? According to the ASPCA, dogs can lose their scent easily and become lost in the snow. So, take precautions!

3) Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. I know, d’uh. But it happens every year.

4) Longer coats provide warmth, so avoid short haircuts in the colder months and make sure your dog is completely dry after bathing before going outside for a walk. Short-hair breeds can be kept snug (and stylish!) with coats and sweaters that cover from the base of the tail to the belly.

5) Give your bestie a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from drafts. Chloe can often be found tucked away on her dog bed, on the couch, or yes, in bed with us (Kitty too – it can get crowded!).
Please feel free to share any winter safety tips you have. Let's keep our pets safe this winter!

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Friday, January 6, 2012

model call and session giveaway!

Hi everyone,

I need your help!

I would like to undertake a personal project this year and photograph a series of dogs that are special. Now, I know that ALL dogs are special. But I'm looking for dogs that have truly heartwarming stories. Maybe they overcame adversity in their lives. Maybe they provided the inspiration and support their humans needed at a crucial time in their lives. Maybe they serve others or live with a disability. I'm looking for pooches that have had a life-changing or profound impact on the people around them and serve as a daily reminder that we all should live life fully and with the tongue-lolling exuberance of a dog!

So, to help me get started on my personal project, I'm looking for a model of the four-legged variety to participate in a FREE (yep F-R-E-E) Happy Tails photo session and receive a FREE 11x14 print — that's a $265 value! Breed, age, shape, size — I love them all. The only criteria is that he or she must have an amazing story and that you are willing to travel to my location. You can enter by posting a photo of your dog and his or her story on the Happy Tails Pet Photography Facebook page. More details are below (please note: digital files are not included in the giveaway).

Tell your friends, share this blog post and help me find a deserving dog!

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

what do you want to read about?

Happy 2012 everyone! Wow, I can't believe it is a new year already. And I can't believe I have written 65 posts for the Happy Tails blog!

The new year, of course, means a fresh start, and I love that feeling. I have a few business goals for 2012 and one of them is to make my blog more interactive and get more reader feedback. I'm not sure exactly how to do this, which is why I would love to hear your input (if anyone is out there? Bueller?)!

What would you like to see on the Happy Tails blog? More personal posts about me, photography tips and tricks, business and vendor reviews and recommendations or more photography? These are just a few ideas, but if you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment and let me know!

It's hard keeping up with a blog and trying to think of topics to write about — I know I should post more frequently and I'll try to be more regular about writing this year.

I'll leave you with this photo of Sara. She's a long-haired beauty that had a rough start in life and is now living with a generous foster family while she waits for her forever home. Her expenses are being taken care of by an organization in my hometown called the Milton Animal Sanctuary — another great organization dedicated to helping animals in need. Isn't she lovely?

All the best for 2012 — I think it will be a good year! And please help me guide the direction of the Happy Tails blog with your suggestions. I would love to hear from you!

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