I've always loved taking pictures. I bought my first camera with babysitting money that I saved up when I was about 12 years old. It was a black Vivitar 110. I loved that camera and I took pictures of my siblings and friends, taking it on fun outings as well as to my grandparents house where we visited every summer.
When I look back at those square photos I notice that a lot of them have people in them, but those people are not usually the focus of the image. . . the animals are.
Fast forward a few years (ok, more like a decade or so) . . . I married a newly commissioned air force pilot, moved a couple of times, had 2 kids, moved overseas, moved back to the states, had another kid, then moved a few more times. During all of this I needed to make sure that the grandparents would recognize their grandkids the next time they saw them, so I took and sent pictures of our adventures through the mail. I did this for nearly 20 years. Then a newly found friend (she took my boys' senior pictures) sold me my first digital camera. I wasn't sure about this digital thing at first, but after only a couple of days I was hooked. I carried it with me everywhere I went.
I didn't realize it then, (just like I didn't really notice that I was taking pictures of chickens instead of my grandpa and his beloved mule, ol' Maude) but looking back I had found my love of candids. I was taking candid photographs without even knowing there was a name for them. While taking pictures at marching band competitions, rugby matches, rock climbing, and blading at the neighborhood skate park, I would seek out images where my kids (and other people's kids, like this one) weren't aware that my camera was even there. These images always turned out to be my personal favorites. They were real. No one was posing, and there were no half-fake smiles; these images captured their personalities and told a story that a posed image couldn't.
Ok, fast forward a few more years (no, it really is only a few this time) . . . my house would soon become one of those empty nests that people always talk about and I knew I was going to have to find something to fill the void that would replace all the commotion that three boys and their friends generated.
I loved animals so I started volunteering at a local shelter. Within a few months I was their photographer and made it my mission to get the best photos of each animal so that I could upload them to the shelter site in hopes of finding them a home. This was it. I had come full circle - taking pictures of animals, but this time it didn't matter if there were people in the shot or not.
Those shelter days were the happiest days of the week for me. I loved being around the animals, especially the dogs, but I loved that I could see their personalities in my photos. When I looked at the images and saw the "real," I actually found myself smiling and saying, "thank you" to that animal (yes, I'll admit it, sometimes I said it out loud). Here's the thing, though. . . those animals weren't posed, they weren't told to say cheese (well, I might have said it once or twice), and they certainly weren't told to perform. They were just being themselves. These were candid images. Images of animals who don't know what a photograph is much less try and figure out how they should look in one. These are the kinds of images that make people stop and take notice when they are looking for a pet to adopt. I don't know how many times I heard someone say, "I just felt a connection when I saw their picture on the site."
Fast forward one last time . . . In June of 2014 I made a split decision that I was going to start my own pet photography business. Yes, it was a split decision, but it wasn't that I hadn't thought of doing it before - I had even put it on my "bucket list of things that may or may not happen" a year and a half earlier. The thought of starting a business would enter my mind and then immediately it would be gone. Sometimes it was because it was just a fleeting thought and sometimes it was because I talked myself out of it that fast. This time it came into my head not as a question as to whether to do it or not, but as a statement. "I am starting a pet photography business." And, there it was. . . big and bold; there was no going back.
The decision was made so now I needed to decide what kind of photographer I was going to be. This was the easiest part for me. . .
I am a candid photographer. This is what I love, this is what I'm good at, and this is what I want to offer my clients. I want to give them images of their pets that show the love that their pets have for them, the fun that they have with their pet, and images that show that animal's true beauty inside and out.