Interview with Paw Prints Doggy Daycare

Remember when I used to interview local businesses and feature them in my blogs? And remember how I somehow forgot to keep that going?

Well, it’s baaaack!!

And we’re off to a fabulous start with Mel from Paw Prints Doggy Daycare and Grooming! I’ve photographed two of her dogs in the last year or so - first her smallest (at the time), a Boston/Frenchie named Nacho. And most recently her newest addition: Meatball the Brussels Griffon!

Meatball

Meatball

Nacho

Nacho


Q: How did you decide to start this career, and how long have you owned your business?

A: I was in the esthetics industry for years teaching. Although I loved teaching, I always wanted to work for myself. So I mixed my love for dogs with my desire to be an entrepreneur together and have been living my dream ever since I took over Paw Prints in 2016 .

Q: What types of services do you offer your clients?

A: We offer dog daycare, grooming and a few small retail items from locally owned businesses. We are hoping to be expanding in 2020 to add boarding, dog training, bite prevention, and child/dog safety seminars, dog reiki as well as a full retail space.

Q: What is an aspect of your job that you didn't expect when you started, or that people might be surprised to hear about?

A: I didn’t expect to love my job so much! I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else. And cleaning! Wow so much cleaning... who knew dogs could pee and poo that many times within an hour?

Q: Where is your business located?

A: We are located in Bedford, off Larry Uteck. 401 Unit 4 Bluewater Road

Q: Tell me about your own pups!

A: I have an odd ball mix of dogs. My biggest boy is Tonka, he is an amstaff who is the biggest baby of them all, at 85 pounds he thinks he is a lap dog! I have a Frenchton named Nacho who is a spicy little guy. He weighs in at 25 pounds but has the heart of a 100 pound dog! Next is my only female, Amber who is a sweet hearted German Shepherd. She is the fun police and the mama bear all mixed in one. Last but certainly not least in personality is Meatball, who is a smooth coat Brussels Griffon. Meatball is the toy breed I never expected to own! But if you know Griffs you know there is never a dull moment with these little monkey dogs.

Q: Where can the dog community of Halifax find and follow you online?

A: We have Instagram, a Facebook page, also a website.

Q: What is your favourite local dog-related company? Why do you (or your pup!) love 'em?

A: Oh I could never pick a favourite, but I certainly love all our local small business who I have watched grow in the industry. I know the hard work and determination it takes and I respect and love them all for that.

Q: Thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to talk about your wonderful business! Is there anything else you'd like to add or talk about?

A: Enjoy your dogs! Try your best to be a responsible dog owner and never stop learning! Your dogs will thank you for it.

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Featured Product - Acrylic Prints

Have I mentioned my favourite products are Acrylic Prints?? They are just STUNNING in person and I basically want every client to have one.

Similar to the Floating Prints, these Acrylic Prints have a frame on the back with a groove for easy mounting on your wall. The print itself is done on a paper with a metallic finish, so it has some extra sheen to it. This adds to the almost 3D quality of the finished product when the clear layer of acrylic is put in front of it!

They are just something else! So unlike anything you’d find in a store.

And when you put YOUR amazing dog onto a unique product like this, it truly becomes one of a kind. That is exactly what I want for my clients!

I want you to be overjoyed when you unwrap them for the first time, and again when you hang them over your mantle or your couch… and every day when you walk past it and smile, remembering just how lucky you feel to share your life with this amazing dog.

Start planning your session today! Send me a message and let’s meet for coffee to talk everything over.

Featured Product - Floating Prints

Your Wet Nose Experience is going to be one-of-a-kind!

Not only am I beside you for every step of the process, from our very first meeting right up to your product delivery... but you also have the very best products available to choose from!

I have carefully sourced every product I offer, based on high quality, where they're produced, and how ethical they are. For example, most of my products are made here in Canada, and the covers on my coffee table albums are leatherette, not leather. So no other animals are hurt in order for you to enjoy these images of your pups.

I don't want you to go home with only a USB of pictures that will get lost in your junk drawer or buried on Facebook the day after they're posted. I want you to have so much more than that. When you decide to book your pup's session with me, you are making the decision to celebrate the amazing journey you share with your dog, and to feel that excitement again every single day. Your absolute favourite image(s) will be on your wall for you to see each morning, and each evening when you return from a long day at work. You'll walk by that gorgeous canvas with the happiest face you've ever seen, and think, "Man... I friggin' love that dog!"

Today's feature is my gorgeous Floating Print. The unique backing on these prints allows them to appear like they’re floating just off the wall. They’re durable but still lightweight for hanging. They also have a handy groove that makes hanging a breeze! Floating prints have a beautiful matte surface so you don’t have to worry about glare if they’re going to be in a room with lots of sunlight.

Using A Compact Camera?

It’s time for another little challenge!

I have a decent little collection of cameras at home, ranging from very old film cameras from around the world, to small compact cameras that fit in your pocket, to my current DSLR (Canon 7D Mk ii).

I decided to take one of the tiny compact cameras out for a spin! I keep being tempted to call it a point-and-shoot camera, but this one does have manual mode. So I still have control over the settings and am not letting the camera make decisions for me. I was using the Canon S120.

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However, using such a tiny camera was definitely a challenge! Getting used to looking at the screen rather than a viewfinder, having to touch the screen to focus and fire the shutter, and not being able to take multiple shots in a row… all very different from my usual DSLR!

But Azalea was a wonderful and patient model while I fiddled with this little camera, and I think these photos are pretty adorable! The field of view was also wider than I’m used to with my lenses, so the photos have a different look to them than my usual work. :)

What do you think of ‘em?

Do You Need A Better Camera?

So your camera is a few years old, you’ve only got one lens (cause who has the money for those fancier ones??) and you feel like this is all holding you back from creating the photos you have in your mind.

You’re frustrated and you don’t take your camera out as much anymore because of it. Everyone on Instagram has amazing photos and you feel like yours don’t even come close.

Let me tell you something.

And I know you’re probably going to roll your eyes, but this is the truth.

It’s NOT about the gear you have; it’s about how you see the world.

Now, obviously camera technology is advancing drastically, and there are differences between cameras that are a few years old vs cameras that just came out, or cameras that cost $400 vs $5000, or lenses that cost $150 vs $3000.

Of course!

But you can hand a $5000 camera to someone who doesn’t know anything about cameras, and they can end up with images that aren’t great. And at the same time you can hand a cheap camera to a professional and they can come up with images that surprise you!

This is because the gear isn’t the only factor to creating great images. The person controlling the camera is more important!

I want to start an ongoing series that will hopefully help to demonstrate this, because I don’t want anyone to stop shooting just because they think their camera isn’t good enough. And I certainly don’t want anyone going into debt to get a new camera when they didn’t need it yet.

I want you to learn all about the camera you have now. Learn which situations are best for that camera and which situations cause it to struggle. Learn how to work with those limitations and still create great images!

So for my first challenge, I decided to pull out my old camera (my first ever DSLR)! The Canon Rebel T2i that I got way back in 2010. And I used it with one of the cheapest lenses out there: the Canon 50mm 1.4 ($150).

I took this camera out to Fisherman’s Cove in Eastern Passage. I photographed Jackson and Memphis, a pair of Australian Cattle Dogs on a nice spring evening!

I had to adjust to the smaller camera in my hand because my current camera (Canon 7D Mk II) is much bigger and heavier. The 50mm lens is a bit slower to focus, so I didn’t try action shots that day - I stuck with nice posed shots in some lovely spots around our location!

And I’m really happy with the results! I certainly don’t think these photos look like they were taken with an almost 10-year-old camera and a super cheap (and equally old) lens…

Do you?

The next round of my “Master Your DSLR” workshop is coming up on June 2nd!

Join me and a small group of other photographers to learn the basics of using your camera in Manual mode. No experience necessary! We start from the very beginning.

if you’re ready to move out of Auto mode and take control of your photos, this is the place to start! The course fee is $150 + tax, and we’ll spend 3 hours together, exploring the park and putting your new skills into practice. You’ll also get access to my private Facebook group for attendees, so you can continue to ask me questions, share your work, and support your new friends long after the workshop has ended!

Send me a quick email at info@wetnoseimageshalifax.com and I’ll send you all the details!

My 3rd Bullet Journal

My bullet journal has been keeping my life together for the past 2 years. It keeps track of every meeting, session, and event, as well as every little task that I need to get done each day. It also tracks my goals, my progress, my social media growth, and all the special memories I want to save each month.

It is essentially my brain in a notebook.

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I've been obsessed with notebooks for my whole life, I'm pretty sure. They're just so beautiful and full of potential. A gorgeous new notebook is full of so many possibilities. Where will my life take me while I use this notebook? What will my life look like when I come to the end of this notebook? How will it have changed my life?

But that was apparently too much pressure, so I would either not start writing in the notebook at all (nothing I had to write would be worthy of those pages!) or I would write in it for a bit with a certain goal/project in mind, but then fall off the wagon.

So when I found out about bullet journaling, I hoped I had finally found a way to USE my beautiful notebooks every day and be productive about it. And it was true! This has been a life saver. I'm now on my 3rd notebook, having completely filled my first two. I use it every day, and it is so satisfying to look through my completed notebooks! Not to mention how accountable and productive it keeps me every day. Which is really the important part.

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So here's how I use my bullet journal! You can find the full details of this system (in all its simplistic glory) here: www.bulletjournal.com

- an index page so that I can enter pages in there as they are created, and find anything I need at a later date.

- a future log that shows 6 months at a glance. I can enter meetings/sessions/events as they are scheduled, and I know that they won't be forgotten or misplaced.

- a monthly view that I set up a few days before that month starts. Just one month at a time (the future log keeps track of the rest, until the next month needs to be set up). It shows the month in a traditional grid-style and I refer to my future log to enter all the important appointments for the month. I also use the extra space on this page to write monthly goals.

- a weekly view that I set up on the weekend, in preparation for the upcoming week. I just take one week at a time, which alleviates stress about future tasks and allows me to just focus on what needs to be done now. Each morning I write out my list of tasks that need to get done (editing, emailing clients, blog writing, networking, etc) and check them off when they're complete. I refer to the previous day's list of tasks to see what didn't get done yesterday, and add those to today's list. The more times I have to write out a task because I didn't do it, the more I want to get it done so I can stop re-writing it. It works!

- a page of memories for the month, which currently I do as doodles. If I was published in a magazine, or went out to a new restaurant, or had a session in an exciting new location, I'll do a little doodle and jot down what it was. It's fun to look back at that page and see a little snapshot of my month and the fun I had.

- lists or "collections" of things. Anything, really. At any time if I need to make a list of things to remember (movies to watch, groceries to buy, party supplies to find, products to bring to the Doggie Expo) I just turn to the next blank page and make my list. I then add that to my index page so I can find it easily. It doesn't matter if it's in the middle of a month. That's the beauty of a bullet journal - it's evolving and you just go with the flow. Everything is indexed so that the "disorganization" isn't actually disorganized. Instead of having Post-It notes littered around your desk/home/work... you can keep every list in one notebook and never lose them.

- very minimal doodling with markers, just to make the pages nice to look at. I'm not artistic in this sense, so I get a lot of inspiration from other more talented bullet journalers. I don't need mine to be fancy, or to have the decorating take too much time (but if that's your thing and you enjoy it, there is nothing wrong with spending lots of time making yours look beautiful - don't let anyone tell you otherwise). For mine I just need it to be cute enough that it makes me happy to look at it, and excited to use my bullet journal every day. And so far it's working fantastically!

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Below is the weekly layout that I've been using for about a year now. It's very minimal and gives me lots of space to write out my tasks each day. I've tried many different layouts during my 2 years of using a bullet journal. It's fun to change it up and try something new when you get bored! That's another awesome bonus of this system versus a pre-made planner where you're stuck with the same layout all year, even if you discover it's not working for you.

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With a bullet journal you can change things at any time. If you decide you need a space in your weekly layout to plan your meals, next week you can rearrange it to fit that! Or maybe you need somewhere to track things like water intake and exercise, or books you've read. Whatever you need space for, whatever your life includes, you can create a page that works for you (or look up inspiration from others who are talented in that department, and shamelessly add that to your bullet journal).

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So if you've seen photos or videos about bullet journaling before and thought it seemed like way too much work (or creativity) for you, and it just wasn't your cup of tea, I hope that this has perhaps given you a different perspective on it. The point of this system is actually minimalism. The point is to keep you efficient and productive in your life. Since everyone's life is different, the system is extremely flexible so you can adapt it to yours.

That's why I love my bullet journal more than a store-bought planner. Because I love to change it up when I'm bored with one layout, I love to add some colour and feel proud of myself (even for the tiniest bits of creativity - I'm like, "I did that!!"), and I love knowing that my life is in order, my tasks are under control, and I'm not forgetting something important even though my mind is running a mile a minute.

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Have you ever considered bullet journaling?

What do you think of the system?

Featured Product: Framed Canvas

At Wet Nose Images you are treated to the ultimate experience.

Not only am I beside you for every step of the process, from our very first meeting right up to your product delivery... but you also have the very best products available to choose from!

I have carefully sourced every product I offer, based on top quality, on where they're produced, and how ethical they are. For example, most of my products are made here in Canada, and the covers on my coffee table albums are leatherette, not leather (no other animals are hurt in order for you to enjoy these images of your pups).

I don't want you to go home with only a USB of pictures that will get lost in your junk drawer or buried on Facebook the day after they're posted. I want you to have so much more than that. When you decide to book your pup's session with me, you are making the decision to celebrate the amazing journey you share with your dog, and to feel that excitement again every single day. Your absolute favourite image(s) will be on your wall for you to see each morning, and each evening when you return from a long day at work. You'll walk by that gorgeous canvas with the happiest face you've ever seen, and think, "Man... I friggin' love that dog!"

Today's feature is my top-of-the-line stunning Framed Canvas. Take a look at this beauty! The details of this product are what drew me to it. It is way beyond any canvas I've seen before. Only the very best for my clients!

 

How to Choose a Photographer (For Any Occasion)

Choosing a photographer is tough.

Whether you need someone to photograph your wedding, your baby, or your dog, there are often lots of choices in your area and as a client it can be hard to know which one is going to be the best fit for you. What is the difference between all of these options? How do you make sure you're picking the right one?

The good news is that there is no ONE right answer that fits everyone. Each photographer is different, they offer a different experience, and create different work. But there is a right photographer for you! And I will help you find them.

Here are some important things to keep in mind and help you find the right match for YOU:

 

1) The look or style of the images.

Do you love the colors in that photographer's portfolio? Can you imagine yourself (or your dog) in those images? Do you love bold colours or something more pastel? Or maybe you're looking for a more moody vibe? Find a photographer whose work you simply love to look at.

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2) The location or setting of the images.

Does this photographer primarily use a studio or an outdoor location? Which one excites you the most for your own photos? What are you envisioning for your session?

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3) Their reputation.

Do you know a friend who has used this photographer before? If not, can you look at some reviews and see if they resonate with you and make you feel excited about working with this person? Reading what other clients have to say is really helpful. How much did they love their experience? Are they giving details about it that help you imagine yourself in the same scenario? You can find reviews on Google, on Facebook, or even on the photographer's website.

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4) Their specialty.

I think this is most important part. What is this photographer known for? What type of photography do they show the most in their portfolio/website? If they're showing weddings but you need photos of your newborn, they might not be the best fit. It's just not what they seem to do the most. And you want someone who has experience. Every type of photography is very different and requires different skill sets. You want to hire someone who knows what they’re doing!
So if their entire website is dedicated to dogs and that's exactly what you're looking for... then you're on the right track.

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In the end, you want to take the information available to you and decide on a few really great choices to contact for more information. You can meet up with them in person prior to booking and make sure you get along well and you feel comfortable with them. This initial meeting is so great for both the client and the photographer! It gets your journey off to a wonderful start.

 

There is a perfect photographer out there for you, and now you have these tools at your disposal to find them!

10,000 Carrots Rabbit Rescue - Pet Photography

Did you know that February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month?

And did you know that you can do just that, here in Halifax and HRM? We have a wonderful rabbit rescue called 10,000 Carrots and they take such good care of the sweet bunnies who need their help. They have foster homes who take care of bunnies while they wait to be adopted, and there are also a number of adoption events coming up in March if you want to get out and meet some of the organizers and rabbits!

I met up with 6 rabbits who were rescues (3 are adopted by this family and 3 are fosters) and it was so much fun to meet these unique pets and learn more about them. It was a great opportunity to flex my pet photography skills and see what it's like to photograph other animals beyond the dogs I'm typically working with.

Here are some of my very favourite bunny photos from that day!

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Leashes Be Gone!

I know what you're thinking.

You've been following Wet Nose Images for a while, enjoying the cute pups, but all the while thinking, "Those dogs aren't on leashes and they're standing perfectly still. They must be professional models! My dog could never do that.. so I won't be able to get professional photos."

But I'm here to (gleefully) tell you that you're wrong!

Yep. In fact, 90% of the dogs I photograph are actually on leash during the session. This can be for a variety of reasons:

  1. The dog doesn't have reliable recall so the leash is for their safety
  2. The location we've chosen requires it by law
  3. The dog is so excited to be there that we just need the leash to keep them close by and focused on us instead of all the other dogs, all the smells, all the water they could jump into, etc.

So for those main reasons (and any others that may come up) I encourage most clients to keep their dogs on leash during their session. This is the most common scenario, so you're not in the minority if your dog needs to be leashed!

But in the final images, that leash can be distracting. Our eye wants to follow it instinctively and see where it leads (which is away from the pup's face). So I remove the leash during editing to keep the image strong and focused on your dog.

I did a little time-lapse video of me doing a fairly simple leash removal in Photoshop, and I've included the Before and After images below!

Speedy quick!

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

You can see how much nicer the edited image looks, once we take away the distracting leash. Norah looks freer, and we can now concentrate on her beautiful eyes and golden, sunlit fur!

Here is another example with London and Cooper from Madison's 2 Paws Up Dog Treats:

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

That one was trickier, due to all the poles and boats in the background. But I really wanted to get a sweet photo of these two on the bridge, so we made it happen!

So if your pup has lots of energy or still has lots of work to do on their recall... please don't worry one bit. Your dog can absolutely have a magical session just like the ones you've been seeing here.

Send me a message and we'll start planning your spring or summer session (which gives you something wonderful to look forward to, during the chilly Nova Scotian winter)!