Soul dog. Sadie was my soul dog, but I didn't know it then.
The 12 1/2 years we were blessed to have Sadie in our lives were years when I was living with my soul dog but had no idea. I knew she was special, that she was a part of our family, growing up with our boys, by their sides and always present. We relied on Sadie for her constant love and presence in our pack, and yes, I kind of took it for granted.
When Sadie hit her senior years, she was diagnosed with diabetes. That brought with it a whole other level of care, and it was stressful. It was daily. But, it was a challenge that I just picked up and carried on with. I will admit there were not so good days, days when I needed to manage my stress and emotions better. But, I did whatever I needed to do for Sadie. When she crossed the rainbow bridge, it hurt, emotionally and physically. It brought us so much sadness. One of my boys still talks with her almost daily. He shares his day with her just before bedtime each night. It's become a ritual for him....it makes me wonder if maybe Sadie was his soul dog too.
When Sadie was with us, I didn't always think to pull out my camera and take photos of her, particularly in the earlier years. Maybe I was in the throes of young parenting, trying to stay afloat, treading water with three boys and learning how to parent every step of the way. In those years, Sadie was present. She was growing up right alongside my boys, herding them, romping with them, barking and racing around the house with them. They were her pack and let me tell you, I absolutely adored everything about that.
Sadie was our beautiful, blue merle, Aussie mix, a pup we adopted from a rescue in the days before I'd gotten a glimpse into what the rescue world is about. I only knew that Sadie "came up from the South" with her siblings and that when we went to meet the puppies, she quietly came over to spend time with my oldest, then 18 month old. She picked us. And until I wrote those words just now, I never thought about that. She. Picked. Us.
The connection dogs have with us and the love that we feel for them, it's profound and as authentic as love gets.
I'll always miss my soul dog, Sadie. And I will be forever grateful that she chose us to be her family.
When a couple or family reaches out to chat about their photo session, they sometimes ask if they can bring their pup or pups. Sometimes they don't and it's not until we meet up that they mention their pup, thinking belatedly they should have included him or her. I absolutely adore dogs and any chance I have to capture them with their people is the best!! Bring your dogs!!! To your family session, to your engagement session, to your wedding!! They are family. They love you unconditionally. And those photos will be with you always, forever. Let that time together be something they're apart of! The only downside to bringing your dog is that I may fawn over your pup, or greet your pup before I greet you lol!! The upside (aside from the amazing images we'll capture together), if I want to catch a shot of just the humans, I'll happily put a foot through the leash handle and keep your pup safe by my side while I've got you laughing and am capturing those smiles! I love a pup assistant ;)
Senior year is such an exciting time and this year, thinking outside the box to make the year more memorable is key! Planning for a senior portrait session beyond the picture day offered through school is an ideal way to add a fun and in-person experience to your senior year that you will always remember!
Booking your senior portraits with me means you'll get a custom experience and one-of-a-kind images that showcase your individual style and unique personality! It also means you'll have a fun time!
It was more recently that I was drawn to senior portrait photography. Just the first two sessions opened my eyes to how much fun photographing seniors can be!! I'm a complete dork, so if you're not cool hanging with a mid-aged mother of three who will try to use the word "newb" or "legit" during the session, I may not be the right fit for you! However, if you're game for laughing, exploring and creating photographs that represent who you are, embrace your interests and believe that during our session my goal is for you to feel amazing and excited about a highlight experience of your senior year, I am just the right photographer to capture your once in a lifetime senior portraits!! And, believe it, I can't wait!!
Senior pictures at school are so very different from a session with me! You'll likely choose one of those photos for the yearbook, in fact it may even be required by your school. I'm pretty sure the Downingtown East and West as well as STEM yearbook editors use portraits from the in school picture day. Truthfully, even as a photographer, I will always purchase at least one print of my boys each year from the school photographer- it guarantees the same exact pose, same held tilt and same cheesy smile so I can see the changes in them from year to year lol! But those photos don't show their personaliities and my guess is that yours isn't represented in those either. They're a classic, but seeking out a personalized senior portrait experience is so much more exciting and representative of who you are! During your session, my goal is to create amazing images together that capture your personality and incorporate your interests! Yes, I encourage you to bring along any items that are important to you, whether that's a stack of your favorite books, your crochet hook and yarn, your lacrosse stx and helmet or your bat and glove. Time is completely on our side (because I never ever wrap up a session unless I feel we've captured all of the shots that showcase who you are!) There's no line of students waiting their turn, and I never walk away when the time is up.
I begin every single session with some warm-up shots, that first spot I have us stop to get those first snaps out of the way to allow us both to relax into our time together. While I get my settings figured out, you'll have that time to get settled and used to being in front of the camera. From there our time together will be so much fun- we will laugh, we will play, we will make sure to capture those key shots and then we will get creative! I absolutely love exploring the space where we meet and while I will bring my ideas to guide the session, be prepared to walk a lot and to stop here and there as we find spaces to capture photos with a variety of backgrounds and light. Throughout the session, I'm looking to take photos that are closer up, steps away and also show you in the setting.
BEFORE YOUR SESSION
Before we even meet, I'll introduce myself and get to "meet" you with a questionnaire that helps me know what your interests are, what your future plans are AND what is most important to you with your senior photos in mind. From there, we can jump on a call, video chat, email or text back and forth (whatever you prefer!) to discuss outfits, locations, and themes. Whether you'd like an urban vibe or natural backdrop for your images, I have a ton of ideas on locations and will work with you to find the perfect spot to compliment your uniqueness! It is my goal that you arrive at your senior portrait session feeling prepared and good about capturing this time! Most seniors feel a little nervous when they climb out of the car. Makes sense, not everyone has a photo shoot all about them on a regular basis. But I don't think you'll feel those nerves for long! Before we meet, please know that I honestly enjoy the time we'll spend together! It is so nice to be able to have conversations with young people who are in such an exciting place in their lives! I love to hear my seniors' plans, where they may travel after graduation, what they plan to pursue. It's exciting!!
A MIX OF POSED & CANDID
I capture a mix of posed and candid photos, keeping it as natural and authentic as possible. I do provide guidance when needed to capture a shot I have in mind or to help you with a pose you might have in mind. And, I welcome and encourage your ideas!! I want to capture the shots that you know you want while also surprising you with the ideas I bring to your senior portrait experience!
As a photographer, I count myself lucky to have a sister who loves photographs as much as I do! Couple that with her husband who loves having his photo taken and their absolutely adorable baby boy and well yup, I'm pretty much living every photographer's dream when I do a family session with them!! Early in December, we planned our session for golden hour in a beautiful, historic spot, a perfect backdrop to capture this period in their lives and for their first Christmas card as a family of three. When they climbed out of their truck, I was so excited to see how my sister had styled her family for this shoot. They had such an awesome look for the location- the perfect blend of colors to add a hint of Christmas but still give them a classic and timeless look. The signs she brought along added a touch of vintage along with their style. And though I'd been told my nephew was easy going, little did I expect he'd be so happy! He's so easy to photograph!! Of course, with all family sessions, that time in front of my camera is time spent together, laughing and enjoying each other in a beautiful setting. I can see in all three of their faces how much they adore each other and the simple experience of being together. It was beautiful and you'd better believe I'm already looking towards our next session and time together!!!
**One to One Gratitude sessions for Front Line Essential workers**
I am honored to announce that I am offering One to One Gratitude sessions for Front Line Essential Workers.
I am fortunate. Many of us are fortunate. We are able to stay put and to socially distance. But so many people are on the front lines of this pandemic, working selflessly, sacrificing their time with their own families to help others. My skill is not essential and yet I have been trying to figure out how to use my photography to thank those essential workers on the front lines, to contribute in some way. When I saw this movement spreading across the photography community, I knew I wanted to participate.
I am grateful. I am grateful to the grocery store workers, nurses, doctors, police, firefighters, first responders, truck drivers, farm workers, emergency childcare providers, pharmacists, USPS, FedEx and UPS drivers, all of the essential workers who are the only reason we can take care of our families at home right now. I knew I wanted to participate in this chance to thank some of them for their selflessness.
For every family or couple that books a session between now and May 10th, a complimentary photo session will be gifted to a front line essential worker of your choice and their family. If you’re not in a position to invest at the moment, but would love to be a part of giving back, please message me and nominate a front line essential worker that you’d like to see receive a complimentary family photo session.
All One-for-One Gratitude sessions booked will take place at a later time once non-essential businesses are allowed to safely operate again.
For information or to nominate an essential worker, serving on the front line in this pandemic, please message me direct or email me at [email protected].
*If you are a photographer who is interested in participating please head to https://anastasiaphotography.ca/whistler-family-photography to get all of the information.
**SKRS Photography’s One to One Gratitude Sessions are Inspired by Anastasia Creative from https://anastasiaphotography.ca/