Whenever I meet a new babe I find myself conversing less, moving slower, and taking in the surroundings in ways that don’t typically happen for me with older kids. I become captivated by the new little body that is in front of me for a few hours and can’t help but smile inside knowing this is why our lives have meaning. The people we meet in this lifetime, the characters we connect with, they are so dang special and little babes are the purest example of that. I am constantly reminded that there are so many important facets of life that revolve solely around those we surround ourselves with and I am grateful for all the opportunities that come before me. Photographing newborns is no easy task, but if it reminds me to slow down and soak up the goodness in this world AND I get to cuddle little squishy bodies ~ then I’m all for it!
The Golden Hour
As a Wisconsin child photographer I spend a lot of time with other families and their growing brood. But this weekend I was able to spend a bit of time enjoying the sun that has finally graced us with it’s presence and snapping photos of my niece, Annalise. Little bodies are some of my favorites to work with because there is no need to get fancy. You can showcase them pretty much anywhere and let their sweet personalities shine.
Funny little story about this dress ~ my sister, Annie’s mom wore it almost 30 years ago at an aunt’s wedding. There is another layer to it but we decided to forego and keep this little adventure simple. The sun, the green grass and the sweetest little girl created some magical imagery for me to capture. Might have to print some extras for my own desk along with sharing them with her mom ~ what a fun memory.
Interested in a special session for your little lady or dude, send an email and we’ll chat it up to create magical memories for your family!
I’m currently encountering writers block. I probably shouldn’t even call it that beca I don’t consider myself a writer. Instead it could be called ‘I don’t know what to say. I want to eat a snack instead of write a blog post’ block. I mean, I DO want to write this… I just don’t know where to start. So now I’m rambling…
When photo sessions are bought as gifts, it makes me even more elated to get to work each day. Someone actually likes my work so much, that they want to buy it as a gift! And this session wasn’t even a gift for a special occasion – it was a ‘Just Because’ gift! Totally unprovoked act of kindness. That is why I like what I do each day. Bringing something just a bit more special than the average ‘wake up, work, home, eat, sleep’ attitude into this world is so enjoyable. A special piece of mail, an extra kiss on the cheek, a random gift just because… those are things that make this world smile.
I contacted Kirsten from Ready Set Vet first about pet portraiture and she turned around and bought two sessions as gifts! I was delighted to photograph Annie, her mother’s sweet pup, a few weeks ago on a great sunny afternoon. I will say that when I pulled up the drive my jaw dropped a bit at the property views. There was a great deck that was overlooking a marsh and seemed like the perfect spot for morning coffee. Their lot backed up to tall trees making me swoon even more. I think I probably babbled several times about how gorgeous their home was and made a comment about stopping by randomly to hang out. Those are the things I say during shoots. ‘Oh yea! I’ll be by next week, say 6:30 am for morning coffee!’ At least Joe thinks I’m funny 🙂
Annie was the perfect model and you could tell instantly how much love flowed between her and Ellen. Some people might think it’s silly to base a photo shoot around a dog, but I know how important those furry friends become in our lives and documenting that is very special. Thank you again Kirsten for inviting me into your friends lives and homes, I am so happy to have been able to help you spread a bit of joy!
I would have never guessed that pet portraiture would be something I slipped into, but I’m glad I did. I was able to meet Bull Dog and his sweet family the other week for a session that was gifted to them all. I heard stories of walks in Chicago and old buds past. The girls told me about his kisses being some of their favorite things and the memories on the walls told countless stories of cuddle sessions and times growing up together. I couldn’t help but smile as I drove off knowing I had spent a short afternoon in a home that overflowed with love for their sweet pup. I’m grateful tonight with my own buddy next to me and sending out prayers to Bull’s family as they said their goodbyes this week. Dogs really do have a funny way of slipping into our lives and grabbing hold of our hearts to become our best friends.
Hollie and I worked together several years ago at a flexographic prepress office and have kept in touch very simply through Facebook. I was delighted when she asked about pet portraits especially for her and her husband’s oldest sweetheart Babe. I’ve always had the camera out for Walter so there is a plethora of photos of him and sometimes I take that for granted. It’s pretty easy now days to whip out the ol’ smartphone and snap away, I would know… I’m very good at it. But even if I weren’t a photographer I would still say the difference in having a professional photo taken verses snapping something with your iPhone is totally worth the investment. Everyone deserves quality photos of their loved ones, human and pup form 🙂
This was my first official Pet Portrait Session where 100% of the proceeds goes towards Walt’s vet bills. I can’t wait to get this thing paid off and start giving to others in need ~ thank you so much Hollie for kicking off my pet sessions!
Stepping into a family’s world for a little bit to capture a part of their day is always a joy for me. It’s even more special when family is the one who invites me through the door with my camera. I’ve taken photos of Sarah and Gerald several times, including their maternity photos back in September. So I was very excited when Sarah asked for fresh photos with their little one. Evelyn Ivy Grace is the apple of her parents eyes without a doubt. She is one special gal and super cute too! And of course Bobo had to sneak in for a few too 😉
ps. Secret side note – I once called Gerald ‘Jared’ for the majority of a shoot one fall without him correcting me. Of course when I realized my horrible name recalling skills got the absolute worst of me I had to laugh. But still… super embarrassing.
Almost 3 years ago I started really wanting to change the life I was leading. I was 25, still kickin’ it at ma’s house, and working at a fairly stagnant job. So how was I going to change…? Get a dog of course! I picked Walter up on a chilly December night a few weeks before Christmas and 7 hours later, at about 3am, I was wondering what the heck I was thinking getting him. Have you ever heard a frenchie chortle? It’s cute for about 5 minutes at 3am. The next morning as I was getting ready for work, Walt curled up on my feet not moving an inch during my whole morning routine and left my heart mush. I drove home every day for lunch from there on out just to spend some extra time with him before our nightly hangouts. He gave me a good reason to want more out of life, I had someone to provide for now!
Throughout the past 2.5 years he’s been a sweetheart and a pistol, but he is my best friend and I’m his. So when I brought him in for his yearly check up in February and our world was turned upside down in a matter of 48 hours I was heartbroken. He had a small blood draw in is back right leg and within 36 hours it had quadrupled in size clearly showing us there was a clotting issue at hand. He had had similar reactions in the past, but they always resolved themselves. This time Walter was lethargic, not eating and barely getting up to go to the bathroom anymore along with having a massive hematoma that was engulfing his leg. Previous testing did not indicate any form of clotting problems so our vet sent us to the Fox Valley Animal Referral Center for advanced testing and treatment. Prior to leaving our vet that morning and heading over to the referral center, the doctors gave me the option to euthanize Walt because of the substantial costs that would incur. I never took offense to this; I know it is their job to show me all options in front of us, but I immediately declined the offer. There was no way I could say goodbye to my best bud without a fight and especially not even knowing the diagnosis at that point.
All of the staff at FVARC were so very sweet to Walter and his sobbing owner. I walked into that building carrying my best friend thinking I may never carry him out and back home again. I had already called work and was frantic about not being able to come in that day. I called my sister Elise, who works just down the road and asked her to join me. And I spoke with my fiancé and found comfort in his words knowing I was doing the right thing for Walt. I filled out all necessary paperwork while tears streamed down my face and was then lead into an exam room and waited. I will be forever thankful for Elise coming that day. She asked all the right questions and felt my sorrow without filling my ears with “everything will be ok.” I had faith that no matter the outcome, Walt would be happy in this world or the next. But every pet owner wishes their best friend can stay by their side forever. I said to her in that room while we waited, “No one tells you that when you get a dog, you will have to say goodbye some day. They just tell you that it will be your best friend and lots of work, but totally worth it.” We cried and laughed together in between the hospital staff coming in to explain what was going on or have me fill out more paper work. She was a rock for me that morning.
Walt’s doctor was fairly confident he did infact have a clotting issue regardless of the previous testing done. She would have to send out blood samples to Cornell to find out for sure, because they are the only facility in the US that tests for rare clotting issues. In the meantime, Walter needed blood and plasma to survive. I was able to see him before he received treatment and gave him a few scratches and kisses. It was then that I could start to feel some relief because the nurses and doctors on Walt’s team were so sweet and certain he would be back to his normal self soon. Two transfusions and about 6 hours later he was starting to perk up a bit. That night, I grabbed a book and headed to FVARC to hangout with my pup. We were set up in a comfy room and snuggled on a couch for about 2 hours. The next morning I brought him back home to his own bed where he slept for what seemed like days! His recovery was steady going and positive over the next two weeks 🙂
Walt’s final diagnosis is Hemophilia A, a rare blood disease that occurs in an extremely low percentage of dog populations. He will live a fairly normal life from here on out as far as I’m concerned; however, I was informed that most dogs with this disease do not make it very far into adulthood. My eagle eye is constantly on him making sure he isn’t roughhousing too aggressively or getting into something that could cause any form of bleeding. As a result from our hospital stay and all the testing, we of course have a large bill looming over our heads. I had known at the time of treatment that this whole ordeal would cost a pretty penny, but I also knew I have an amazing family and a bunch of friends that would be there for me through it all. I am so blessed to have that type of support, it means the world to me.
I also know not everyone has the option to proceed with thousands of dollars of treatment for his or her pet, which breaks my heart. I’m tearing up right now just thinking back to the time when I wasn’t sure Walt would make it through the day. I wouldn’t wish those emotions upon anyone. The thought of being unable to choose treatment because of the cost is terrible and that’s where this new project of mine (and Walt’s) comes in! #dailywalt Gives Back is an ongoing community support system for animals in need of medical and monetary assistance. The proceeds from all dog related products in Sapphire & Scout’s Etsy shop along with all pet photography sessions, will help fund payment for Walter’s vet bills. After that is complete, 50% of the proceeds will be donated to local shelters or individuals in similar positions as Walt and I were. Soon I hope to grow and collaborate with local artists, so we are able to help many families and spread a bit of joy and relief! If you are interested in booking a pet portrait session please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can keep up to date with Walter by following us on Facebook or Instagram. Thank you for sharing this journey with Walt and I!