Studio Contest Winner | Mia
 

Today I have the pleasure of introducing one of my two winners from my Studio Session Contest. I am so grateful to everyone who took the time to enter and expressed excitement about my studio announcement and my passion project.

If you’re new here, you can read my announcement here and learn more about the project:

Blog Post: Now Booking! Studio Dog Photography Sessions!


I received almost 60 applications for the contest, and I loved reading through all of your stories and learning about your dogs and why you were excited about the With Love & Dogs Project.

So many of your stories touched my heart and I hope I have the chance to meet all of you and work with all of your dogs someday. Today, I’m introducing sweet Mia the miniature pinscher, who was one of two winners of a free studio session. She was such a sweet girl and I loved getting to know her and cuddle with her. She was awesome during her studio session and I had so much fun working with her and her dad!

CT Studio Dog Photography

MEET MIA

Mia was adopted by a couple in their 60s in the summer of 2012, after they had lost their beloved yellow lab Zeke the previous fall. Her mom came home with her as a puppy, to the complete surprise of her dad, who was still heartbroken over the loss of Zeke. It didn’t take long for her to win not only her new dad over, but also their entire family with her sweet and sassy personality. Sadly, Mia lost her mom less than two years later when cancer took her only 5 days after being diagnosed. Mia couldn’t figure out where her mom had gone, and she and her dad helped each other through the difficult times after she passed. She became the best thing in her dad’s life, and he’d always say “everything happens for a reason and I don’t know what I would do without Mia.”

About a year later her dad also found out that his kidney cancer, that he had battled years prior, had returned. Every day Mia was by his side, giving him a reason to get out of bed and keeping him laughing with her minpin highjinks. He passed away only a few months later, and Mia was once again left without her companion.

A few months before he passed, Mia’s dad had told his son that Mia was a “once in a lifetime dog” and made him promise to take care of her when he was gone. He had never had a doubt that he would take her, and promised to give her an amazing life. So their son Bob took Mia into his home after losing both his parents (and Mia’s) and they were able to comfort each other through such a tough time. Her new dad says she’s the brightest spot in his life, and while she didn’t sign up for it, she’s been one heck of a therapy dog!

She was so much fun during her session and was a star in front of the camera. Congratulations to Mia and her dad for winning the Studio Giveaway!

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This little girl can jump! She was so cute jumping for her dad and got some good air, which makes for awesome studio images.

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This left photo is so goofy and cute and Mia’s dad thought it would be great for a meme…like what is she thinking?? What would you put in a doggy thought bubble in this image?

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We used Mia’s favorite blanket from home that she always sleeps with, and it matches her fur perfectly. It ended up being the perfect addition for her studio session with the gray backdrop and her beautiful coloring. Plus it made her feel more at home :)

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Sweet Mia got so relaxed that she laid down and I was able to capture her *almost* sleeping on her favorite blanket. And I always try to capture an image of doggy paws in my sessions, because I really think it’s something nice to have in an image collection. Doggy paws are so sweet and they’re something not often captured. Am I the only one obsessed with paws? Haha maybe. If you’re like me comment below so I know I’m not the only one!

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This is Mia’s favorite toy - her “monster.” I told her Dad to bring anything she really loves, as I tell all my clients for studio and outdoor sessions. It can be really fun to capture dogs playing around like they do at home and it gives me a chance to capture their true personality. Mia was quite happy to hang out on her blanket in the studio and play tug with her monster with her dad.

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And of course….here’s Mia’s special image for the With Love & Dogs Project! During our Pre-Session Consultation, her dad and I worked together to choose the perfect quote for her. This is one of the quotes I’ve been dying to use, and when I realized it was from the book “The Minpins” I knew it was meant to be for Mia, a minpin herself :) I made a little cape for her and created a simple magician set to have some fun with this image. What do you think?? I loved the way it turned out and it was her dad’s favorite image from our session!

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At the end of our session Mia ran over to the other side of the studio space to look outside, and I was just quick enough to change all my camera settings to grab this adorable image. The studio is a beautiful renovated barn that’s full of bright light and provided an interesting contrast to the darker studio photos. Isn’t she so cute looking out at the pond out back?

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Congratulations to Bob and Mia on winning my studio session contest! I had so much fun with you both and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to work together and create fun images for you to cherish forever. Plus we created a really awesome image for the With Love & Dogs Project that I’m thrilled to have in the collection. Thank you again to everyone that entered and I’ll be sharing our other winner very soon!


Interested in booking your own studio session and being part of the With Love & Dogs Project? Contact me today and let’s chat about your dogs and how I can help you capture them in photographs that you can cherish forever.


 
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Getaway Boston: Dog-Friendly Tiny House Trip
 

Last week for my birthday, I took off for a few days of (mostly) unplugged relaxing at the wonderful dog-friendly Getaway House with Oats. Getaway is a company that has created communities of tiny homes that are off the beaten path, located about an hour outside of major cities across the country. We chose the one that’s outside of Boston, which ended up being in southern New Hampshire, a little over 3 hours from where we live in Connecticut. It was a lovely drive and easy to find.

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My only goals were to relax, hike, read and take a few photos. And of course, do all of that with Oats by my side. I love that Getaways are all dog-friendly, and they even welcomed us both with little surprises - a smores kit for me and adorable little bag of “Mutt Mallows” for Oats. They also had two dog bowls and a roll of poop bags available for us in the cabin. On top of the doggy items, there was a tiny kitchen with basic amenities and pretty much everything I needed to cook for a couple days. There was a two burner stovetop, a sink with fresh running water, biodegradable soap, and a mini fridge. There were also books, playing cards, a little activity book and a cell phone lock box, if you decided to go completely off the grid.

With Love & Oats Getaway

One of the things the Getaway cabins are known for is the giant window on each house. Next to the bed there is a big gorgeous window facing the forest (or in some locations - the mountains). Since booking this little adventure was somewhat of a last minute decision for me ( in part because I like to do things spontaneously, but also because I was making sure I wouldn’t have any work obligations that required me to be home for those 3 days), the only cabins that were still available were those with two beds. It was still a very cute little tiny house, but it would also have been fun to have the giant window view without the extra bed above me. But this gives us something to look forward to next time!

With Love & Oats Getaway
With Love & Oats Getaway

The beds are all queen size and come with pillows and linens - and are VERY cozy. The giant window doesn’t open, but there’s another smaller window at the end of the bed that can be opened to let the fresh air in, which was lovely at night since we were fortunate enough to have great weather. There’s also three other windows in addition to those two, so it’s very airy and well lit.

With Love & Oats Getaway
With Love & Oats Getaway

On the first evening there we did a short hike around the Getaway property and out to a nearby town forest, then came back to have dinner and relax for the night. The next morning, I fed Oats and cooked breakfast while reading and enjoying the light pouring in the cabin, and then we headed out for a bigger hike at the nearby Northwood Meadow State Park. It was a beautiful hike that circled a lake, so Oats was thrilled that she could swim at several different spots off the trail.

With Love & Oats Getaway

The trail we took was 2.8 miles and I would highly recommend it to anyone who stays at Getaway Boston (or just lives close by). The cabin had a little booklet of information and suggested local hikes, but I don’t believe this one was listed. It was really stunning, easy but beautiful, dog-friendly and only 13 minutes from the cabin. Oats was thrilled to be able to swim, and we both really enjoyed the hike. Also - does anyone know what kind of caterpillar that is on the tree in the middle photo here? We saw them everywhere and they were so furry and cute.

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I asked Oats to stand on this rock for a photo, and since she didn’t want to take her eyes off the lake, I captured her looking out at it. I immediately loved this image because reminds me of the Lion King. Everything the light touches Oatsy…

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Here’s a few cell phone photos from our hike (to check out all my “quick snaps” during the trip with commentary from Oats, check out my Instagram page (@withloveandoats) or by clicking HERE, where I’ve added a story highlight for this trip titled “Getaway Trip.” There’s some videos there and some more details and photos of the cabin and our hikes - including the bizarre cabin toilet.

With Love & Oats Getaway

After our hike it was still early in the day, and I wanted to do something fun and dog-friendly before returning to the cabin for the evening. There is a dog-friendly brewery near the cabins, but it’s unfortunately only open from Friday-Sunday and we were there mid-week. So when I started looking up other dog-friendly activities nearby, I kept seeing places in Portsmouth NH. As it turns out, Portsmouth was only 30 minutes from the state park where we were, so we headed there for the afternoon. We walked around, visited some cute shops, posed for a few quick photos, and Oats got love from (and gave kisses to) lots of nice strangers. It was a perfect late summer afternoon for a few miles of walking through a cute little seaside city. (More cell pics below)

With Love & Oats Getaway

Then we got to come back to this adorable tiny house and relax for the rest of the evening. The outdoor area of the cabin had a picnic table, adirondack chairs and a bin with firewood and kindling kits if you wanted to build a campfire. You just take what you need and they charge it to your card later.

In 2 of the 3 images below you can see sweet Oatsy in the big back window. The bottom one cracks me up :)

With Love & Oats Getaway

Seriously this place made for some fun photo opportunities.

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I tried to do a bit of relaxing each morning and enjoy drinking my tea, reading, having breakfast and snuggling with Oats. It was nice to be mostly unplugged, with no computer or TV and just a lovely view of the forest.

With Love & Oats Getaway

We did another local hike before heading home on the final morning. I didn’t break out my camera for a lot of photos but I did see this cute little patch of baby pine trees and thought Oats would look pretty surrounded by the green, so I had her pose for a few minutes. Clearly she was having a good time. Christmas card maybe?? :)

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This hike was at Bear Brook State Park. We took both the Little Bear Trail and the Big Bear Trail. Still didn’t see any bears :(

Notice the difference between the cell phone images (below) and camera ones (above). Even though it’s not ideal to bring my real camera on hikes (and I typically don’t), sometimes it’s nice to capture a couple pretty photographs in the forest. I took only a couple and then put my camera away to enjoy the rest of the hike.

With Love & Oats Getaway

Oats and I really enjoyed our trip up to New Hampshire and our stay at a Getaway tiny house. There was no noise and no traffic. We were alone but there were also plenty of other people around. There was electricity and water but no Wifi or TV. According to my sleep app, I got better sleep both nights of our trip than I have in weeks. We just got to be outside and breath for a couple days, but also had the comforts of home in a tiny cabin. I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to anyone traveling with dogs who wants to just “get away” for a couple days.

With Love & Oats Getaway

What adventures have you taken with your dog lately? Did you enjoy learning more about this little excursion? Have questions? Let me know if there’s something else awesome in New England that I should check out. I’m always looking for fun places that allow me to bring Oats along, and I’m happy to share those with you so you can bring your dogs too. Happy travels!

To learn more about Getaway cabins, click here. This post was not sponsored - just sharing a genuine review of a fun, dog-friendly adventure. I hope you’ll check it out and bring your dogs!


 
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Hamden CT Dog Portraits | George & Gracie
 

Earlier this summer I had the pleasure of meeting George and Gracie and their wonderful parents for a beautiful evening at Brooksvale Park in Hamden. We’d had to postpone our session three times for rain and thunderstorms, so I was so happy to finally meet all of them and get to play around with sweet George and Gracie. They were such a fun family and I loved the personalities of these two lovebugs.

(See the end of this blog post for a before and after collage of how I made this image happen)

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These pups were so wonderful and sweet and had such stunning fur coloring! Gracie is serious and ladylike and George is a silly, free spirit who eyes every movement in the distance, hoping there’s a person he can go say hello to.

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George really seemed to enjoy hamming it up for the camera and being a goofball.

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Gracie was a little more more hesitant with her smiles at first, but I won her over with the treats and got some fun, joyful ones of her too!

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We took some lovely family photos as well. I always try to convince all my doggy parents to get in some of the images, because someday you may really enjoy having photos of you and your dogs together.

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We were able to get four different “location” looks from one small park. We started in an open field, then found a great barn for a backdrop, and then headed over to the little pond area, where we did some portraits with the water in the background and some on the bridge. This was such a great little park in Hamden.

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I ended up with a lot of wonderful images of George and Gracie together, but this one was my favorite. They’re a little off center (perfectionist eye) but I kind of love the quirkiness and sweetness of it. Part of the fun of dog photography is capturing them being themselves, and these two were just having a grand old time running around the park and hanging out with their humans. We did put them on this bridge for photographs, but I never force dogs into a particular position. I just let them have fun and let their personalities come through. I love their smiles in this image, so to me it’s perfect.

(See the end of this blog post for a before and after collage of how I made this image happen)

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Connecticut Dog Photography.jpg

This was such a fun session and we ended up with so many beautiful images! George and Gracie’s parents ordered a beautiful album and several prints to remember our session and see their sweet pups in print every day. Check out a sneak peak of their album (click on the video link below)! Albums are consistently a favorite client product and are wonderful for truly capturing the story of the day and enjoying a large variety of images.

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Thank you Ed, Tami, George and Gracie for choosing me to be your dog photographer! I had such a great time working with all of you!


The Making of Art Worthy Images: Before & Afters

In almost every session with multiple dogs, the owners ask me to capture both dogs together. This makes perfect sense, because it’s often difficult to capture this yourself with a phone camera. Dogs are usually moving around, and typically don’t want to sit perfectly next to each other. I always aim to get the dogs together naturally, but I also want them to enjoy themselves during our sessions, so their true personalities shine. Excessive posing and forcing them into positions can make a lot of dogs anxious. So if they won’t sit perfectly together, no problem. I tell clients that this is where a little Photoshop magic (and strong editing skills) come into play. As long as I can get your dogs to be in the same area, and I capture the images from the same place, I can make this wonderful magic happen in post-processing. This is one of the differences between “art worthy images” and simple snapshots. And this is how I maintain the relaxed, fun environment I work hard to create at my sessions - by letting the hard work fall on me, not my sweet doggy subjects.

Not only did I take the best two images of the dogs separately and composite them together, but I did major leash removal work in these images. Your dog’s safety at our sessions is always my #1 priority, so if your dog can’t be off leash, I use more Photoshop magic (and again, well-oiled editing skills) to make gorgeous images without those pesky leashes.

Let me know what you think! Do you like seeing before and after collages? Do you have two (or more) dogs that won’t sit together, or dogs that must be on leash? Please don’t let those things stop you from reaching out to book a session. I take pride in capturing your beautiful dogs just as they are, and then working to create magic later. That’s why it’s called ART :)

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Connecticut Dog Photography Before and After.jpg

Interested in booking your own outdoor session? We can go on a hiking adventure, to a park, to your home, to the beach…the possibilities are endless! Contact me today and let’s chat about your dogs and how I can capture them in photographs that you can cherish forever.


 
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Local Connecticut Dog-Friendly Events
 

Looking for something fun to do with your dog this fall? I’ve compiled a list for you of some awesome upcoming events all over the state that are dog-friendly and fun and benefit many wonderful local organizations.

I’ll be attending a bunch of these events with my own booth, so I hope you’ll stop by, say hello and get a doggy treat if you attend! I’d love to meet you and your dog! Plus I’ll have lots of artwork and album samples to check out if you’d like to see and touch some of my heirloom products in person. (If you’re wondering where I’ll be, look for the pink “VISIT ME AT THIS EVENT” graphics below.)

Do you like knowing about all these events? I’m hoping to do this every season, so if you like this and/or know if any upcoming events I should include, please comment below and let me know!


 
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Is your Connecticut business or organization hosting a dog-friendly event? Please let me know if you’d like to collaborate! I love attending these awesome events and letting my clients and followers know about them!

Also if you’re a local Connecticut business looking for images of dogs at your shop/restaurant/brewery/winery/hotel/event venue, I’d love to chat about working together to create beautiful images for your marketing materials, website and social media! Dog owners are always looking for pet-friendly locations close to home, and I’d love to help you show them what you have to offer. If you’re interested, let’s chat!

Email me at jennifer@withloveandoats.com or use my contact page by clicking here.


 
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Now Booking Fall Sessions! | Connecticut Dog Photography
 

September is here! Can you believe it?!? It’s time to start planning your fall sessions and I’m now booking for September and October. Fall sessions will fill up fast, so contact me today to make sure you get a spot!

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Fall is one of the prettiest times for photographs in New England, and if you’re interested in images for holiday cards or gifts, this is the perfect time. I only take a limited number of clients each season, so that I can provide each one with a personalized and exceptional service. If you’d like to be one of them, contact me today to book yours! I can’t wait to get to know you and your dogs and play around in the leaves with them!

Both outdoor and studio sessions are held year round, but this is the time of year to begin thinking about getting your dog’s photographs taken before the holidays. Not sure if you’d prefer an outdoor session or a studio session? Contact me today and let’s chat! I would love to learn more about your dog and figure out what’s right for you.


 
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