This year I have volunteered my photography services to benefit Team Memphis Rescue & Support. We will be doing Pet Photos with Santa at Woof Gang Bakery - Cordova. The date is coming up fast - Saturday, December 3rd, 2022 12noon to 4pm.
I have been giving "tips for pets with Santa" on our event page. I thought I would share everything in one post.
At our event, you will receive 2 watermarked digitals for sharing online, with your donation to rescue of $25. (I am volunteering. My retainer fees are normally $225 for studio sessions, so everybody can give $25 to animal rescue!) I am offering prints purchased through my professional lab at a big discount for this event. Print pricing starts at $5.99.
We have volunteers helping throughout the day to answer questions, keep things running smoothly and guide you to Santa.
I have been photographing animals for a very long time! Along the way I have picked up a few tricks and tips. Will this make everything go perfect and no hiccups... NO. Why?
Because we are working with animals and humans. Do the pets come and whisper into Santa's ear everything they want for Christmas? Are they professional models that sit, stay and pose? Is Santa perfect - will his beard slip off? Will he get licked all across the face? Will this professional photographer be able to make my pet look like a professional model?
We love Pet Photos with Santa! But think for a moment what your pet thinks? There is a room of excitement, people are anxious for their turn, we wait in line, watch, talk with each other, then there he is - the man in the red suit and that camera lady flashing those bright lights.
Our pets may do this every year or this may be there first year! Be mindful of your pet and this experience. We want it to be fun for everyone. You are holding your pet or your pets leash and all of your energy goes straight to them. So lets make it fun for them.
Here are my Tips for
Pet Photos with Santa
Humans & Animals - We can only do what animals will allow us to do while photographing. We may have a certain pose in mind or an idea of how the photograph should turn out. But we may get a completely different photograph!
Humans are human. We all make mistakes! Santa's beard may slip, his glasses get knocked off, he might forget to smile in a couple of shots - he is volunteering his time. Go easy on him! The photographer (me) is also volunteering my time at the event and for editing- probably all total will be 20 hours of my time! Will I miss a shot here and there... you bet I will. Will you have some great photos of your pets with Santa... you can count on it! We are all doing everything we can and will have so much fun photographing your pets.
All noises - verbal commands, squeaky toys, noise makers - need to come from the photographer ONLY. I want the animal to look direct into my camera lens. I want to photograph soulful eyes and get those sweet expressions with Santa. If the family or owner - calls the pet, says the name or makes a noise, your pet loves you and will automatically look at you. So please, just watch and see what I can do with your pet. If I need you to dance and sing behind me to get your pets attention, I will let you know.
Enjoy the moment - the whole experience. Talk with other pet parents, shop in the store, talk with volunteers. When you get to the photographer - enjoy the moment. Your pet is the in the spot light! Let them shine. When everyone enjoys the moment and is happy - it shows in the photographs.
Grooming - Photographs do not smell, but, grooming shows in photographs. If you don't see a groomer there are things you can do at home. Brush the hair, remove eye boogers, wipe the mouth, paws, trim the nails, remove matting, remove grass & leaves from fur. White dogs may have staining around the mouth, eyes or feet. You will not get that out overnight. (if at all) If dogs are panting, their mouth hair may show wet. Bring a brush or comb with you and give them a once over before its their turn with Santa.
Mani & Pedi - Get those nails done.
Collars and Leash - I normally edit out these items in my studio sessions. But to cut down on editing time - these items will NOT be edited out. So match them to Christmas theme. Bandana's and scrunchies help to cover collars and tags. You can even find Christmas theme leash covers.
Safety - For safety concerns, please have all animals on a leash with their collar and tags. I will have a small slip lead with me at the event if we need for anyone.
Family - yes, family can jump in the photo. Squeeze in close to Santa and smile!
Hoomans with glasses - There will be flash glare in your glasses unless you help me. I specialize in pet photography, not humans. But those of US that wear glasses there is a trick. Behind your ears where your glasses are in the groove (rutted in), tip the end of your glasses a slight nudge to get out of that groove. It is a slight tilt and you will not be looking over your glasses. This nudge of the ear piece helps with flash glare in glasses. Also, a small tilt to your head. I always say, lower your head but then raise up a tad. I am not a human photographer but that flash light in glasses is ugly. I want to avoid that if we can! (my client in this photo was perfect, no glare)
Have fun - your pet knows if you are having you fun or if you are stressed. You are holding the leash or your pet. Let them know ... this is all good and fun.
Feed your pets - a full belly helps with all the excitement. I like animals to be a little hungry at studio sessions for treats. But at Pets with Santa - noises will be my first go to. No treat catching at Santa photos. But I do believe Santa may work up an appetite and you can toss him a few cookies.
Treats - Our pets have a favorite cookie or treat and gobble them down. But with the excitement and everything going on - don't be surprised if they do NOT take them. Its normal.
Hearing impaired dogs - Family please get behind the photographer and at the level of the camera. Act like you are hiding behind me!
Sometimes I will ask family to get behind me (even if not hearing impaired). It is because your pet is focused on you. If I ask for you to get behind me, get to whatever level the camera is at. If I am on the ground, get on the ground with me. We want your pet to look directly into my camera lens.
Go for a walk - A tired pup is a calm pup in Santa's arms. Burn off a little energy before photos.
Take care of business!!! I know ... what a subject.
Look at this grumpy girl. She is my girl, so I can say this. Why is she grumpy? I was in a hurry and didn't let her go outside to take care of business before we went to the studio. This was last year! All of her Christmas photos, she looks grumpy. I found out after her sessions why. After she ran outside to take care of business, she ran back to the studio and was ready.
This year - Happy Dog
Got her business done early!
OOPs photos - ask my clients! At studio sessions I give the OOPS photos. We have to learn to laugh at ourselves and pets. At Pets with Santa, it is limited time in front of a camera. What if, my pet wont sit with Santa? You will still get photos! It may not be the pose you wanted. But we are sure going to try & get their best side!
Leave the bah humbug at home
The number one TIP ... for ANY pet portrait, is patience. I have an abundance of patience with animals. I watch their behavior and try to anticipate their actions. I love to see their personality explode in front of my camera lens.
But we also need patience with one another. We are human, we all make mistakes, we all have an opinion, we all have favorite breeds and species. But, we all have one thing in common, we love our pets!
This time of the year I am always reminded of Tim McGraws song "Humble & Kind"
Hold the door, say "please", say "thank you"
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got mountains to climb
But always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you're dreamin' come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride
But always stay humble and kind
Lets make this event the best ever and raise funds for animal rescue.
Pet Photos with Santa!
December 3rd, Saturday
12 noon to 4pm
Woof Gang Bakery
2200 N Germantown Pkwy #12,
Cordova, TN 38016
(across from Cheddars)
All donations go direct to Team Memphis Animal Rescue. Look them up on Facebook and their website. I copied this statement from their website.
"Team Memphis Rescue & Support is a 501C3 non-profit all-breed rescue group that helps abandoned, neglected and lost pets. We are intensely devoted to helping pets find their forever home. Our existence depends on support from volunteers, fosters and donations. It's what makes saving animals possible."
I am your photographer at the event. I specialize in pet photography! With your donation of $25 to Team Memphis Rescue & Support you will get 2 watermarked social media sized digitals for sharing online. The gallery of watermarked images will be posted on my Facebook. (I am sure Team Memphis and Woof Gang will share them) You have the option to purchase prints through my professional lab. Everything has been discounted for this event. Pricing starts at $5.99.
I am looking forward to this event and photographing all of your pets with Santa!
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