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06/08/2017
By Kristin Kozelsky
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puppy malinois

Is there something missing on your picture wall? You've got the family photos, the vintage portrait of grandma, those silly photo booth shots you barely remember. But what about your furry friends? For some of us, our pets are our hobby, our kids, our lives! 

 

Immortalize your sweet pup or kitteh by scheduling a professional portrait session. Choose inside the studio for a more traditional, sleek background, or the studio backyard for a natural outdoor look.

 

cat portrait

wedding dog

puppy portrait

 

Want More? How to prepare your pet for a shoot!

Check out more exotic animal photos from my trip to the zoo!

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06/08/2017
By Kristin Kozelsky
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How to Prepare for your Pet Portrait Session

Hey there! Although pets aren't always super excited about cooperating for a photo session (squirrel!), when we are patient and prepared and then get that perfect shot, it's always awesome. :)  Here are a couple of tips to help you get ready for the session:

 

1. Wardrobe - Fancy or Laid-back?

How formal would you like to be for this session?  Think about how you want your photos to feel when you look at them and that will help you decide which direction to go. Many people like to wear something one or two steps more formal than their everyday clothes, but the decision is totally up to you.  

Do you want to wear and elegant gown or tux, adorning your pet with a bow tie or collar full of bling? Or are you more of a casual type, wearing your favorite tee and jeans, matching the pooch with a bandanna or simple collar? Be sure that the collar harness you bring is clean and in good condition. If your pet normally wears a harness or a collar but you'd like the photo without his or her normal gear, be sure to bring a brush to help the fur settle into place once that harness or collar is removed.  Be sure your pet is comfortable wearing whatever item you choose by familiarizing your furball with the items before the shoot. 

Choose colors that complement the room or space where you plan to hang the photos, and give consideration to your pet's natural coloring as well!

 

2. What NOT to Wear

There are some colors to avoid if possible. Bright red and hot pink can be difficult for digital cameras to translate in certain lighting conditions, so I’d avoid solid pieces in those colors. Muted red/hot pink or red/hot pink patterns, or secondary colors are fine. Also, a couple of pointers for women specifically: 1) if you are sensitive about your arms, be sure to wear long or 3/4 length sleeves, avoid tank tops and short sleeves; and 2) while loose-fitting clothes may seem comfortable and like a good way to hide your midsection, boxy shirts and dresses actually tend to make you look bigger in photos, so stick with something that is a little more form-fitting.

I would recommend that you do not match each other in the photo - a sea of white shirts with a white ball of fur in the middle makes it harder to distinguish each pet and individual (not to mention the fact that you might get stepped on by your pet and end up with paw prints all over your white clothes!). Instead, opt for a family of colors. For example, choose from warm colors (e.g., brown, gold, pumpkin, maroon, tan, and purple) or cool colors (e.g., blues, greens, aqua, and grey).

 

3. Grooming and Preparation

Be sure to set up any appointments for yourself and your pooch ahead of the session. If you color your hair, ensure that the roots are touched up and schedule any nail or other appointments you'd like. Appointments for skin or facial treatments should generally take place no closer than two weeks prior to your session, depending on the treatment. Check with your aesthetician or dermatologist for more detailed information. I would advise against spray tans or Botox for photo sessions; neither tend to translate well to camera.  

Give your pup a bath or set up a grooming appointment if he or she requires a bit more primping than just a bath. Ensure claws are filed or trimmed and bring a brush with you if your buddy has long fur. Lastly, it is essential that all animals that come into the studio are up to date on their vaccines, so check with your vet if you are unsure whether your pet is current.

 

4. Picture Time!

When it's time for the session, you'll arrive and have a little bit of time to allow your pet to get acclimated to the space before we start working. If he or she is high-energy, it might be a good idea to give them some time to have a good play shortly before you arrive. Depending on the animal and its personality, I may not greet him or her when you first enter the studio.  

Patience is key when working with animals. Sometimes they are just going to do whatever they want to do, which is totally okay. We understand that's how they work, and so there's no pressure for them to constantly direct their full attention to the camera throughout the whole session. Lastly, I do not use flash so you don't have to worry that the sudden pops of light will spook your pet.  

 

Dogs:

When your buddy first comes into the studio, don't be surprised if I don't play with or greet the him or her; in fact I will most likely be a little standoffish toward your dog in the beginning. This isn't because I don't love or welcome your pup! This technique works to our advantage for the shoot because the session is usually a bit smoother when the dog thinks of me more as an uninteresting piece of furniture rather than his or her new best friend... but after the session I fully embrace all the cuddles, tail wags, and playtime! :)  

While it may seem like a good idea to bring treats or toys for dogs, I actually suggest leaving them packed up and hidden away until after the session. Once we bring the treats or toys out, dogs can get very excited or food-focused and it is usually so distracting for the our furry friend that we are unable to regain his or her attention. Instead, I've found that it's better to just be patient and know that dogs will be dogs - we can let them take breaks and do their thing from time to time, and then we'll be able to get their attention more easily or snap some fun natural photos when they're ready! 

While taking photos of your dog(s) alone, I may or may not have you inside the actual studio with me (but don't worry, there are some windows if you want to peek in!). Sometimes dogs work better when their owners are out of sight, and sometimes they work better when their owners are in the room.  We'll just have to see!

 

Cats:

With cats, it's best for the owner to stay in the room and help because kitties don't usually like to stay put. We may have you help place the cat and keep your hands on him or her until we're ready to take the shot. It is also helpful to have a fishing pole toy to catch their attention once we get him or her into place. It is important to work very quickly with cats; our sessions will be planned out in detail before we bring kitters into the shooting space so that we can get as much done as possible in a short amount of time. 

 

Everybody Else:

Bring 'em!  From snakes to horses, we're ready!

 

5. When in Doubt, Ask.

I'm always happy to give advice for whatever you might be unsure of. I've been doing this for a long time, so I'm game for really new ideas or keeping it simple. Let's have fun!

 

P.S. - Our floors are concrete, most of the furniture has washable covers on it, and we have paper towels.  So we're prepared for any 'mistakes' that may happen! ;)

 

Want More? Inspiration for your pet photoshoot, this way!

Check out more exotic animal photos from my trip to the zoo!

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04/22/2017
By Kristin Kozelsky
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For an adult, trying to come up with a Mother's Day gift that's more unique than the last 30 years of Mother's Day gifts is anxiety-inducing. Every year we are compelled to thank our mothers in the form of flowers, brunch, candles... They deserve all these things and more for putting up with us. But what do moms really want? 

Along with all the other things going on in their lives, mothers want to feel close to their children. Whether new moms or grandmothers, they want to make good memories with their loved ones. Particularly because photos are especially hard to get with fully grown children, booking a photoshoot with mom is the best kind of gift. When was the last time she saw you and your siblings in the same room? 

This Mother's Day don't just send your mom a card, create a family heirloom. Imagine how endearing it will feel to be able to give these photos to your own children one day.

 

Family photoshoots are customized to reflect your family and their unique personalities. Book your shoot in the month of May and get $50 off. Call or email me for details.

Find Portraits of Moms in My Real Women Series

 

 

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04/21/2017
By Kristin Kozelsky
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Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL

 

Jessica was the lucky winner of a drawing through Facebook that gifted her with a beauty day and photo shoot.  She started at Pure Aesthetics for a Cool Lifting facial treatment by Carissa Miller and then went over to Sarah's Hair Studio for hair styling by Sarah Allen and professional makeup by Kara Winslow.  All dolled up and looking gorgeous, we were ready for her shoot!

 

Jessica is a single working mom of two little boys who has always wanted to feel like a beautiful model, but have never taken the time to seek out a photo shoot with a professional so it was a pleasure to give her this experience!

 

We took some photos outside of Sarah's Hair Studio in Haile and around the village center, then moved on to Fresco Pizza & Pasta. We poked our head in to see if they'd allow us to take photos inside and they even provided us a glass of wine!  Jessica's parents are regulars and love the restaurant, so it was a perfect stop for us.

 

You might know Jessica from Schneider Insurance, a family owned business here in Gainesville.

 

 

Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL

 

Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL

 

Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL

 

Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL

 

Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL

 

Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL

 

Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL

 

Jessica - Portraits for Women in Gainesville, FL

 

Find Portraits of Moms in My Real Women Series

 

 

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03/31/2017
By Kristin Kozelsky
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One of my favorite memories was one Thanksgiving when my mother and I sat down together to look through old family photos. We held photographs of my mother and father's grandparents and great aunts and uncles on their wedding days. We admired an old sepia portrait of my great-grandmother when she was a beautiful young woman close to the turn of the century.

 

When people waver between having photographs professionally printed or only having digitals, I think back to this memory and how grateful we are to have tangible photographic evidence of our beloved family members, and how special it was for me to sit with my mother and look through the photographs together. That’s what portraiture is all about - documenting a moment in time. Digitals may seem like a good idea now, but instead I encourage you to consider how you would like your photographs to be viewed 10, 20, or 50 years from now.

 

Imagine you’re in your 90s, readying yourself to exit a life full of fantastic memories. An elderly parent who is able to leave their loved ones with photographs of their life becomes such a powerful thing. Giving the gift of an heirloom is precious, but giving the gift of a photographic heirloom can become priceless.

 

I only imagine what memories are lost through a person’s lifetime. Having that evidence that yes, grandma was once a vivacious, beautiful 30-year-old, and allowing great-grandchildren to hold that evidence is undeniably tear-worthy. 

 

This is why beauty portraits and boudoir shoots with women are so meaningful to me. I want you to share a moment with your own children one day, to look back and say 'Wow, she was gorgeous.'

I chose to do my first boudoir shoot with a bride-to-be in 2013. She wanted to give her husband a wedding present he wouldn’t forget. We rented a room at Magnolia Plantation Bed & Breakfast in Gainesville, excited about the tasteful, yet romantic photos to come.

 

She had the typical nervousness of a new boudoir clients and I’ll admit that I was, too, nervous for my very first boudoir shoot. But after a few minutes, we both started to loosen up a little bit. It became really fun once we were comfortable with each other - giggling away at how silly it all felt, forgetting about the end result and just having fun.

My favorite part about beauty and boudoir photoshoots is seeing the client’s face once they’re done. When a woman’s face lights up and says Is that me?, that’s when I know I’ve done a great job. Some clients just don’t know how beautiful they are, or that they can be that “kind” of beautiful. It's also important to note that very little editing goes into the photos! I'm not sitting back, letting Photoshop do all the work. It's all about flattering poses to bring out the unique beauty every woman possesses.

 

There’s this photographer named Jen Rozenbaum that I really admire. She focuses solely on boudoir photography and she’s got this campaign called #ShamelesslyFeminine. Showing women that they can be feminine without necessarily being “girly” is extraordinary for women who want to feel beautiful but don’t have an affinity towards pink.

Sue Brice is the reason I got into beauty photography. An inspiring campaign she created is #ExistInPhotos. Many times women and moms are so busy taking care of others that they forget to make themselves included in photos. Sometimes women think that now isn’t the time to take boudoir photos. They’ll wait until the baby weight is gone, or until they get a facial, or whatever they think needs to be “fixed” before they go in for a shoot. What I want every woman to know is that those things are not necessary! It’s my job to make you look and feel beautiful. I’m trained in using the best possible poses to make you look fabulous, no matter what size you are.

What inspired me to do boudoir photos? Knowing that someday, even after you’re gone, your beauty will still be blowing people away.