Volunteering + Photography + Shelter Animals = A FANTASTIC Saturday!

When an animal is brought in to an animal shelter, a picture is taken of him/her and an info card is made for that animal.  That picture goes on the shelter’s website as well as the outside of the kennel when it lives.  However, because the picture is taken when the animal enters the shelter, the animal pictured on the shelter’s website may be less than ideal.  The animal may be dirty, scared, and/or have matted fur from neglect.  Needless to say, the image that is posted online may not be the best representation of the dog’s normal state.  I’ve teamed up with other wonderful photographer volunteers to visit the West Valley Animal Shelter and re-photograph animals so they have a better chance at getting adopted.  Being able to take the animal outside and let him/her run around for a while and then photograph him/her allows the animal the opportunity to have a picture that is more reflective of his/her personality.  Priority updates are given to the older animals who have been in the shelter for a while in hopes that the updated picture will help them get a new forever home.  For more animals in need of a home, please check out the West Valley Animal Shelter website: here.  These pictures also go to Shelter Me.  Interested in helping?  See the Shelter Me poster at the bottom of this post. =)

Meet Sydney

Sydney

Sydney is the first dog I met at the shelter.  She was super friendly from the very beginning and liked to play.  She enjoyed attention, getting pet, and had a soft coat.  Don’t be fooled by her age, she was still pretty spunky and oh so adorable!

Interested in Sydney?  Click here to find out is she is still available!

 

Meet Comet

Comet

Comet did a little running around, but she seemed like she was far more interested in being a big lapdog!  She seems like the perfect addition for someone who wants a dog that can be playful, but who wouldn’t mind a big, soft, cuddle-dog!

Interested in Comet?  Click here to see if he’s still available!

 Meet Splash

Splash

Splash was so ready to chase after the toy ball when we took her out.  She was curious and very sweet!  She likes people and was happy to be the center of attention.

Interested in Splash?  Click here to see if he’s still available!

 

Want to get more involved?

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Top 5: Happy Things Online

With so much negativity in the world today, I love when I come across some happy things in the media.  If you’re feeling a little low, or just want a little extra happiness in your world, check out my collection of happy things online.  Feel free to

Top 5 Happy Things Online

  1.  365 Grateful – I saw this video for 365 Grateful on Upworthy and fell in love with the project.  I love it so much so, I’m starting the project January 1st.  The idea is purposefully focusing on one thing that you’re grateful for everyday and taking a picture of it.  I suppose you can document it in any fashion you’d like (draw it, blog it, write a poem about it), as long as you’re committing to the practice.  The result?  A new appreciation for things that could have otherwise blended into the background of our busy, blur-filled lives.  It’s also a great way to force oneself to slow down and look for good in the world.  The video is just under 4-minutes, but such an inspiring video.
  2.  Simon’s Cat – You don’t have to be a cat-owner to like the videos of Simon’s Cat.  However, if you do own a cat, you’ll probably love these short animations about a cat being a cat.
  3. Street Art – Granted this collection was from 2012,but it still makes me happy when I see it.  How can one not smile at the creativity employed with these works of art.  Honestly, I can’t see cracks in the sidewalk, chipped pain, and exposed pipes the same again.
  4. Football Players Change the Play – I love seeing things like this happen in the world.  It’s a reminder that there is still great humanity in this world and that the next generation is actively making things happen.  Such a reminder that little things can mean so much and go a long way to someone else.  This has to fill the heart!
  5. Cute Overload – If you’re an animal-lover, you’ll probably love Cute Overload.  It’s hard to not feel your happy meter increase after looking at this little cuties.

Beauty and Weight-loss Resolutions

As a photographer, I regularly use software like Photoshop to edit my photos.  I can remove pesky blemishes, hide gray hairs, and even make a person looks slimmer.  However, while powerful software like Photoshop can do amazing things to photos, I want to remind people that so much of what you see in print isn’t just slightly doctored–sometimes it’s downright fake.  While the act of extreme editing isn’t in and of itself bad. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with perfecting your image for your own personal use, right?  It is, however, dangerous when it’s done so rampantly and in so many media that the fictitious images become regarded as the “norm” which then propagates emulation.  No bueno.

What You See Isn’t What You Get: Model Before and After

dove

I love this video because it shows how even the model didn’t look like the final product of the image.  In fairness, this video was created to aid in effort to make people aware that the image was seriously transformed.

Am I anti-editing?  Absolutely not!  I just came across this video and I wanted to share it since the beginning of the year means LOTS of resolutions about losing weight and getting fit.  There’s being healthy and then there’s striving for unattainable goals.  Be careful, lovlies.  More importantly, love you’re body as is while you’re on your journey to what you want it to become.  Especially if you never reach how you think it should look.  Kudos to Verily Magazine for being responsible with their ads. =)

Dove-real-beauty-campaign

I love that Dove has taken a stance on the issue beauty and is actively publicizing their message.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen their “Real Beauty” campaign.  It’s refreshing to not only see women of different sizes represented, but to also see the word “beauty” juxtaposed the image.  Progress.  (My only complaint is that there are plenty of naturally thin women out there.  I do wish there were thin ladies in the picture, also.  Still, I see what they did there.)  Dove also came up with this ad to show how self-critical we can be of ourselves.

Final Thoughts

This is the time of year that lots of people create New Year’s resolutions (or at least goals of some sort), myself included.  As a photographer, I feel like I’m in an industry that can promote confidence or self-hatred.  However, I’m a big believer in the idea that people should love the skin their in–be in whatever state it’s in at the moment.

Basically, be yourself, love that self, and strive for your best.  What more could you want? =)  Have a wonderful 2014, everyone!

Top 5: Cheap New Year’s Eve Fun Ideas

Looking for Something to do on New Year’s Eve?

Every year I feel like there is a scramble to find plans for New Year’s Eve.  Living in Los Angeles, just about everything that is available is terribly expensive on New Year’s Eve.  While I think it’s great to attend a big New Year’s Eve party at least once in your life, I definitely prefer to steer clear at this point in my life.  (Mostly because I find too many places over-crowded, the drinks watered down, service deficient, and just more trouble than it’s worth.  Sigh.)  Again, that’s not everywhere, mind you.  In fact, if you know of a place that’s OPPOSITE of that, let me know!

Cheap NYE Fun Ideas

 

  1. Go to (or convince a friend to throw) a house party – All you need is one house, a television, snacks, people, champagne/sparkling cider, and drinks.  Instant good time!  No valet parking.  No VIP areas.  No strict dress code.  No exorbitant admission.  Just good times with good people!
  2. Have a small gathering at home – Keep things simple with just a few friends, family, and/or loved ones.  No raucous, no crowds, no hefty bar tab.  No one said New Year’s Eve parties had to be over-the-top.  (No one said a small soiree can’t become an over-the-top party, either!)
  3. Throw your own house party – Don’t have a friend throwing a party?  No problem!  You can throw your own little fiesta from your own humble abode.  Most specifically, why not host a themed party for the evening?  You could have guests do activities pertaining to the the year’s end.  Your party, your vision, your rules.  (Don’t forget to share them though–I can use some ideas for next year!)
  4. Check out your favorite activities and hot spots – You might be surprised at the businesses that change their hours for New Year’s Eve in order to accommodate an event.  Venues that you wouldn’t traditionally think of for New Year’s Eve celebrations may actually be great alternatives for the more common celebration spots.  Like bowling?  Check out your local bowling alley.
  5. Go you a local restaurant/bar – Food and drinks are half the battle for acquiring New Year’s Eve fun.  Visit the websites of the restaurants and bars in your area.  If they aren’t hosting a specific New Year’s Eve party, bring your own group of friends and throw your own little gathering.  Thanks local restaurant/bar for being the convenient venue! =)

Photo credits: ori2uruCalebrwLamilliMagnus Manske, and Rama.

 

Phone Fun: Crazy Chloe

 

While cleaning out my cellphone photos, I found these little gems…

Everyone, I’d like to introduce you to my crazy,crazy dog, Chloe.  Prior to getting her as a puppy I read something that said cocker spaniels have two speeds: fast and asleep.  Very true.  So very true.  However, my sweet little cutie pie is completely worth it–especially when I look over and see her in some silly position.  I’d love to post more, but (surprise, surprise) a lot of the pictures I’ve attempted to take of her came out blurry.  Speedy little ball of fur!

Crazy Chloe

Don’t you just want to rub her little belly?  Yikes, sorry.  I’m definitely one of “those” people when it comes to dogs!  No apologies for it though! =D

 

Spotlight: Karen Grace Interiors

The Designer with Style

My, oh my, how the time flew when I photographed this vibrant interior designer, Karen from Karen Grace Interiors!  Karen’s proofs were full of pose after pose–very rarely was one directed by me, mind you.  I felt like a fashion photographer on the set in Milan!  (Or at the very least the photographer on an episode of America’s Next Top Model.)

Karen Grace Interiors

Believe me when I say we both had a great time this session.  Karen is so lively and free-spirited, and it absolutely showed throughout the entire session.  We may have also done a lot of talking and laughing between shots, also, which aided in the good time.  Ahem.  Vegas rules apply to photo shoot conversations.  You know, what conversations happen during photo sessions, stay at the photo session!  Just kidding, but it was still a great time, and I hope we do it again!

Karen Grace Interiors 2

 Update your space in 2014

If you’re looking for an interior designer, definitely contact Karen Grace for her expertise.  As the owner of Karen Grace Interiors, Karen can help turn your space into your space.  She works hard to incorporate your style into your space.

“I want you to walk through the door of your home or office and immediately identify with your surroundings.  Whether you’re at home or at work, my approach to interior design, combines color, space planning, and a wide variety of materials that make you feel special when you walk in your room.  Ah, this is mine! It’s a place where others feel comfort, and love to gather. It’s a reflection of you.”  -KarenGraceInteriors.com

Head Shots and Portraits: Not Just for Actors and Families!

Debunking Some Misconceptions about Head Shots and Portraits

When you think about head shots, do you automatically think about actors or people in the performing arts?  I’ll admit it, I did.  Even after I realize that I needed one!   However, with technology becoming more and more prevalent in just about every industry, it seems the need to have at least one “go-to” picture is also increasing.  Posting a profile picture for Facebook is one thing.  That image could be just as casual, wacky, and outlandish as you’d like for the day.  On the other hand, sifting through saved photos of funny faces, group shots, and just less-than-professional attire or settings in order to find ONE photo for your profile picture for professional use can be daunting.  Been there.  In my opinion, once you’re of the age where you can legally work, you should have at least one head shot that can be used for any professional needs.  (I feel the same way about email, by the way.  You can keep your “superhottiesuperstar@email.com” that you’ve had since you were 12, but once you’re of resume-writing age, you better have another email that is boring and simple.)

4 x 4 Portraits - small - Brianna Danylle Photography Template

 

Similarly, there is another idea attached to the word “portrait.”  Portraits aren’t just for holiday photos and engagements.  Similar to the idea of head shots, I think everyone should have a “go-to” portrait image of themselves for easy posting/printing/etc.  Notice I didn’t say “hanging” or “framing” in that last sentence.  While plenty of pictures are taken with the purpose of adorning a wall, desk, or table, far more pictures are how shared digitally.  The beauty of that, of course, is that it’s the gift that keeps giving: you can share that image with anyone at any time and you aren’t limited to the image’s resting place on your wall, desk, or table.

 Who Can Benefit from Head Shots and/or Portraits?

Entrepreneurs

  • Head shots and portraits are great for any web presence you may have (ie. your website, online communities, Facebook, etc.)
  • Head shots and portraits add character and personality to any printed material (ie. brochures, business cards, etc.)
  • Your head shot can add that special touch to your email signature

Students

  • Head shots are great for any academic uses that require a profile picture (ie, Edmodo or Google)
  • Head shots and portraits are great for senior pictures

 Everyone

  • Head shots and portraits are useful when a simple, professional image is needed (ie. social media)

 

Twitter Call!

Okay, I’m finally getting the hang of Twitter.  Looking to make some great connections out there, Twitter folks!  Let’s tweet!

Follow me:@BriannaDanylle

tweet-tweet!

follow

Pet Photography: Bringing Your Images To Life

I absolutely love animals–especially dogs.  I don’t think I’ve ever come across a dog that I didn’t want to immediately cuddle and kiss on the head.  (Thankfully, I’ve never been bit!)  With the cuteness of animals, it’s easy to want to photograph them and share that adorableness with the world.  Believe me, I’ve done that plenty of times!  So how do you get those money shots of your lovable pet?

how to photograph pets

Introduce yourself and your camera

It may sound silly, but pets know when something’s up–which can make them very wary.  If you’re shooting a pet that isn’t yours, put in a little bonding time with the animal first.  Keep your camera nearby and slowly start taking pictures.  The pet may need to be eased into having its picture taken.

Drop down to eye level

You’re able to better show an animal’s personality by being at eye-level.  The eye-level pictures also create a more intimate images.  This might encourage the pet to come over to you, but that’s okay.  Give it a little attention and then get back to the task at hand–pictures, pictures, pictures!

Intrigue them

After taking a few pictures of your pet looking into the camera, make a funny noise (while still behind the camera) and watch their expression change.  Keep snapping away as you make different noises and/or call the pet’s name.  Be warned, however, depending on the pet, you may only get a shot or two in before the pet actually comes over to you to investigate!  Then just get cuddles a-plenty. =)

Use treats and toys

Much like with little babies, if you wave a toy around the camera, the pet will look at the toy.  The same idea applies with a yummy treat.  You’ll probably need to take breaks so that the animal can still enjoy the toy or treat.  Giving the pet a little playtime will allow it some breaks between shots that will keep your little star happy and available to keep posing for you.

 

pet photography

Meet my sweet pup, Chloe!

Happy snapping.  I’d love to see your work!

7 Tips for Taking the Perfect Selfie

Realizing that I didn’t have any decent updated pictures of myself, I decided to bring out the good ol’ tripod and steamer for my backdrop!  It was selfie time!  If you have Facebook, Instragram, or even a camera phone, odds are you’ve taken the ever-popular “selfie”–or self portrait.  While there are all kinds of reasons for taking pictures of yourself, there are things you can do to make your self-portraits better!

Selfie Tip

Tip #1: Use a tripod (or other sturdy, flat surface)

To avoid blur and have more freedom as to how much of you is seen in the picture, prop that camera on to your trusty tripod.  No tripod?  No problem!  A nearby table or bookshelf can work, also.  Keeping the camera in your hand can be pretty limiting.  Reclaim your freedom!

Tip #2: Eliminate distracting backgrounds

If you don’t have a backdrop, using a plain wall works well to keep all eyes on what’s important in the image–you!  It’s easy to forget about what’s happening behind you… until you see the image later and see that you were photobombed by some random stranger (or ugly building, or shiny glare.)  The only thing that should be distracting in your pictures should be your gorgeous smile! =)

Tip #3: Use a remote or timer

If you have a camera remote, man, oh man, the fun you can have with self-portraits!  If you don’t, having a timer on your camera is almost as wonderful.  The remote makes is easier to keep snapping pictures without having to go back to the camera after each shot.  However, using the timer means you don’t have to try to hide the remote, ninja style!  Both are great in helping you move away from the camera and give you flexibility in what’s in your picture.

Tip #4: Cheat with a mirror

Setting up a mirror under the camera can help you to see what the camera sees!  More importantly, a mirror will help you position yourself and pose in ways that look flattering and nice.

Tip #5: Crop, crop, crop

Just because you shot it, doesn’t mean it’s perfect.  Crop that image so that your subject (*ahem* you, of course) is the main thing in the image.  Experiment with how much to crop.  A tighter crop is usually better, as it forces the viewer to only see what you intended–you!

Tip #6: Keep shooting

Even if you feel like you got “the one” keep shooing.  Partially because that “perfect” shot isn’t always perfect, and partially because that sense of security could lower your guard and inspire other fun keepers.

Tip #7: Experiment

If you’re taking a selfie, then you’re probably alone.  Experiment!  Make faces, laugh, sing, turn the camera to a different angle–whatever.  Take a chance!  You’ve nothing to lose, after all.  Worst case scenario, you end up with terrible pictures that you can delete immediately.  No one will ever know.  Best case scenario, you get some awesome pictures of yourself and your friends and loved ones think you’re a brilliant, artsy, photographer.  (Don’t worry, I won’t tell!)

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