PawPrints Pix Photography: Blog en-us (C) PawPrints Pix Photography (PawPrints Pix Photography) Wed, 02 Sep 2015 18:06:00 GMT Wed, 02 Sep 2015 18:06:00 GMT PawPrints Pix Photography: Blog 80 120 Beware of the Cat Burglar The PPA Print Competition Results are in!

"The Cat Burglar" was accepted into the Professional Photographers of America 2015 Loan Collection!

Cat BurglarCat Burglar
What is the PPA Print Competition?

Every year the Professional Photographers of America conducts a photo competition.  Images go through 2 levels of very tough judging.   The judges panel is made up of 6 master photographers.   Each image is judged first for a standard of excellence based on elements such as composition, technical excellence, color harmony, impact, storytelling and more.  Each is judged for it's own level of excellence.   Images which meet these standards are awarded a merit and are accepted into the PPA General Collection.   Of the thousands of images that are submitted only a small % merit.

Merit images are then judged in a 2nd round to select the best of the best.  These are accepted into the annual loan collection which is printed in the prestigious loan collection book and displayed at photographic exhibitions, conventions and other photography events.   It is a huge honor to be selected for this collection.  The 2015 collect will be unveiled at the annual imaging convention at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia Jan. 10-12, 2016.

Why enter?

Competition is a great way to improve your skills and to challenge yourself.   Last year was my first competition and I've grown tremendously by trying different things and getting critiques from the masters.   It's all about growing and bringing this into my client work.   Entering competition is also the route to work towards a Master Photographer degree from the PPA.   It requires 25 merits, earned through competition, education and service to earn the degree.

Cat Burglar

Cat Burglar will be displayed side by side with images from some of the best photographers in the country.   Needless to say I am thrilled and honored, and not to mention excited beyond belief to be part of this amazing exhibit.   Thank you to Jaye Nichols for being the best cat wrangler and getting Zazu in just the right place.

Yes your cat can be a star

I love to do storytelling images and am building up my portfolio to work toward offering these types of sessions to my clients.   Cat Burglar was shot in my studio in Oswego Illinois.   Many people say "My cat wouldn't do that."   Zazu (my burglar) is not a trained cat.   He is your average house cat.   He can be cautious in new situations but he loves to play and is very curious.   I use this when setting up the story and entice him into the scene.   They say it's difficult to herd cats - all true but if you can convince him that it's his idea then magic happens.


A 2nd image, "Catitude" was accepted into the General Collection.

CatitudeCatitudeMerit image - Professional Photographers of America - Print Competition
While Catitude won't be part of the traveling collection it is a great honor to be admitted to the general collection.   Thank you to Susie Blaho for sharing Allie with me.

To see More images

See more competition images :

See more storytelling images:

]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #catphoto #catphotographer #pawprintspix #photographer Cats General Photography PPA PPA Print Competition Photography Tue, 01 Sep 2015 02:49:49 GMT
Run Fur Fun Thrilled to photographing tomorrow's 5 & 10K Run Fur Fun race in South Elgin.   The run is a fund raiser for local animal groups.

I'll add some photos tomorrow.

]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) Sun, 31 May 2015 03:13:26 GMT
Cooper Cooper's first year

Dog Photo - Cooper - 05298Dog Photo - Cooper - 05298

Can you say AHHHHH?   Cooper is just 3 1/2 months old and is oh so sweet.   He was in for his puppy photos with his humans.   Curious but very shy he wondered around to check out the studio while the humans talked but never strayed too far from mom.

Dog Photo - Cooper - 05329-EditDog Photo - Cooper - 05329-Edit

He's still trying to figure out what to do with a tennis ball but after a few minutes decided to claim it as his own.   We even had him bouncing around going after the ball.   He's starting to discover the spring part of his inner spaniel.

Dog Photo - Cooper - 05316-EditDog Photo - Cooper - 05316-Edit

His favorite by far, though, was the squeaky!   Here he was trying to say it was his and he's keeping it!

Dog Photo - Cooper - 05289-EditDog Photo - Cooper - 05289-Edit

Cooper is a gentle soul.   Every time I sat down on the floor to get some shots down really low he would come to sit in my lap and give me doggy kisses.    I look forward to seeing this handsome guy grow into full dog-hood.

]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #ChicagoDogPhotographer #DogPhoto #DogPhotograper #KimStephenson #PetPhotographer #Photog #Photographer #Photography #pawprintspix #photographer Animals Chicago Dog General Photography Pawprints Pawprints Pix Photography Pet Pet Photographer Pets Photographer Photography Pix animal Sun, 31 May 2015 02:49:59 GMT
Lily Meet Lily

A beautiful, bold, curious and adventurous senior cat.    She brought her best friend, William, to the studio for her glamour session.   She walked in and immediately made the studio home.    Part Siamese, part torti she is soft and so friendly - she doesn't know a stranger.

What a great day!

Cat Photo - Lily - 00167-2x3Cat Photo - Lily - 00167-2x3

Cat Photo - Lily - 00317Cat Photo - Lily - 00317

Cat Photo - Lily - 00320Cat Photo - Lily - 00320

]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #KimStephenson #PetPhotographer #Photographer #Photography #catphoto #catphotographer #pawprintspix #photographer Animals Cat Cat Photographer Chicago Cat Photographer General Photography Pawprints Pix Photography Pet Pet Photographer Pets animal Wed, 20 May 2015 02:35:36 GMT
What's your superpower During the golden times our heros often wore their superpowers on their sleeves.   But today those with such powers often hide behind a mask or normalcy.  They walk among us waiting for the moment when they needed most then spring into action.   They look like every cat and every dog but deep down.....


Superpower = Defrost
The heart may need to be persuaded but Bonnie can melt a frozen heart with just a look.

Cat Photo HELP - BonnieCat Photo HELP - Bonnie

Superpower = Invisibility
Sleek and invisible in the dark Raven will guard you through the night and keep those things that go bump far from your door.  

Cat Photo HELP - Raven - 05182 -_Cat Photo HELP - Raven - 05182 -_

June Bug
Superpower = Mind Master


June bug can get her best friend to do just anything by thinking it to him.

Cat Photo HELP - June Bug - 05160 -_Cat Photo HELP - June Bug - 05160 -_


Superpower = Fast Claw

See Tori snatch a whirling feather toy from the air within a blink of an eye

Cat Photo HELP - Tori - 05215 -_Cat Photo HELP - Tori - 05215 -_


Superpower = Maestro of Words

Poe knows all the best sonnets and will PURR you to sleep while reciting them (in cat of course).

Cat Photo HELP - Poe - 05195 -_Cat Photo HELP - Poe - 05195 -_


Superpower = Reads the Future

She sees a forever home in her future.

Cat Photo HELP - Astra - 05083 -_Cat Photo HELP - Astra - 05083 -_

All the cats pictured here are available for adoption at H.E.L.P. (Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets)




















]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #catphoto #pawprintspix #photographer Cat Photographer Chicago Cat Photographer General Photography H.E.L.P. HeARTs Speak Wed, 13 May 2015 01:12:29 GMT
Cuteness Rules - Sammy will steal your heart Colors Abound and Cuteness Rules

Last week I had the honor of meeting and photographing Sammy, a Shitzu / Yorkie / Poodle mix.   It was a beautiful fall day and the leaves were in full color at Fabyan park in Geneva.   It was a perfect day for fall photographs.   In fact we weren't the only ones who thought so.  There were many families having portraits done.

Sammy was enjoying all the attention from the passers-by but mostly he enjoyed exploring with his dad. 

Here are a few preview photos from the session.  

Dog Photo - Sammy -  by the riverDog Photo - Sammy - by the river

Dog Photo - Sammy - with the windmillDog Photo - Sammy - with the windmill

Dog Photo - Sammy and RichDog Photo - Sammy and Rich

Dog Photo - Sammy and Rich watching the dayDog Photo - Sammy and Rich watching the day


]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #AuroraDogPhotographer #ChicagoDogPhotographer #DogPhoto #DogPhotographer #KimStephenson #PetPhotographer #Photog #Photographer #Photography Aurora Dog Photographer Chicago Dog Photographer Dog Dog Photographer Pawprints Pix Photography Pet Photographer Pets animal Tue, 28 Oct 2014 03:46:45 GMT
Scouting locations for fall colors Location Scouting

This weekend I went location scouting.   The goal was to find a good location that would really bring the colors of fall into the background for a on-location photo session with Sammy, a Shitzu/Yorkie/Poodle mix.   The location that immediately came to mind is Fabyan park in Geneva along the Fox River.   It's a beautiful park with an island in the middle of the river.   There is a bridge that crosses to the island from both sides, lots of trees, grass, bushes and the river for the background.   There is a windmill, lighthouse, benches, boathouse, stone wall and plant covered tunnel which could create an interesting setting.  

The colors haven't started to come in yet but you can see how this area will shine when they do.

Sammy is such a cute dog.  I am looking forward to photographing him.

The location -

 Route 31 Side - West

fayban park stone wallfayban park stone wall fayan park tunnelfayan park tunnel fayban park bench stonefayban park bench stone fayban park boathousefayban park boathouse

fayban park pathfayban park path fayban park treefayban park tree

The Island

fayban park riverfayban park river fayban park bench woodfayban park bench wood

fayban park lighthousefayban park lighthouse

Route 25 Side - East

fayban park rockfayban park rock

fayban park bridgefayban park bridge

]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #AuroraDogPhotographer #ChicagoDogPhotographer #DogPhoto #DogPhotographer #KimStephenson #PetPhotographer #Photog #Photographer #Photography Aurora Dog Photographer Chicago Dog Photographer Dog Dog Photographer Pawprints Pix Photography Pet Photographer Pets animal Tue, 23 Sep 2014 03:12:58 GMT
2014 International Print Competition - The results I am so new to print competition.   Those who know me well know that I started this journey at the beginning of the year.    The international competition judging was held in August.  It's been a long journey but what a fantastic learning experience!   All 4 of these image were taken for HELP.   The cats in the photos are all rescue cats.  I'm already planning for next year.

Local Photographer Named Silver Medalist at International Photographic Competition

Kim Stephenson of Pawprints Pix Photography is honored by peers and jurors for high-quality photography.

Aurora, IL – Kim Stephenson of Pawprints Pix Photography in Aurora, IL was named a Silver Medalist during Professional Photographers of America's 2014 International Photographic Competition. Stephenson's work will be on display at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee, Feb. 1-3, 2015. This International Photographic Exhibition is held in conjunction with Imaging USA, an annual convention and expo for professional photographers and several photographic associations.

A panel of 45 eminent jurors from across the United States selected the top photographs from nearly 5,000 total submitted entries at Gwinnett Technical College in Georgia. Judged against a standard of excellence, just over 1,800 images were selected for the General Collection and 918 (roughly 18 percent) were selected for the esteemed Loan Collection—the best of the best. The Loan Collection images will all be published in the much-anticipated "Loan Collection" book and over 200 selected General Collection images will be published in the "Showcase" book by Marathon Press.

The level of the award is determined by how many of those four images receive the highest possible honor: acceptance into the PPA Loan Collection, which is displayed at photographic exhibitions, conventions and other photography events. Stephenson was named a Silver Medalist, meaning that one of her four merited images entered the PPA Loan Collection. In 2014, she was one of only 104 Silver Medalists.

About PPA:
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the largest international non-profit association created by professional photographers, for professional photographers. Almost as long-lived as photography itself, PPA has roots that date back to 1869. It assists more than 27,000 members through protection, education and resources for their continued success. See how PPA helps photographers be more at

Contact: Kim Stephenson

The Lookouts - Cats at playThe Lookouts - Cats at playThe Lookouts - Cats at play

Got Tuna - Cat photoGot Tuna Got Tuna - Cat photo Double Trouble - Cat photoDouble TroubleDouble Trouble - Cat photo Testing the Domino Theory - Cat photoTesting the Domino TheoryTesting the Domino Theory - Cat photo






]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #cat #catphotographer #pawprintspix #photographer Animals Cat General Photography cat photographer pet photographer photography competition ppa Sat, 06 Sep 2014 04:19:07 GMT
Ready for a new home - Cats of HELP Searching for a home...

As a pet photographer one of the things I look forward to every month is doing the adoption photos for the cats of Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets.   I attend their adoption event at a local pet store (usually Healthy Pet in Aurora), set up a very small studio and photograph each cat or kitten.   In the spring I can do 15-20 cats/kittens in a few hours.

Getting a chance to play with these guys is a real joy.

I often bring props and try different things to try to make each cats personality shine so that when a prospective family is looking online for a cat to adopt they want to meet this cat more than any other.

With kitten almost season upon us the older cats are often passed by.   These guys are all looking for a new forever home.   Please contact Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets to meet them.  For more information about each and more images click here


MapleMaple - Orange TabbyCats for adoption at Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets. #CatPhoto, #CatPhotographer, #KimStephenson, #PetPhotographer, #Photog, #Photographer, #Photography

Maple is a big boy.  He is 8 years old and cool as can be.   With everything swirling around us at the pet store he took it all in stride to mug for the camera.

Sam & Seth

HELP - Sam Seth Sam & Seth - DSH White & Black; White & TabbyCats for adoption at Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets. #CatPhoto, #CatPhotographer, #KimStephenson, #PetPhotographer, #Photog, #Photographer, #Photography

Sam & Seth are brothers to the core.  Where one goes the other is right behind.   They are often curled up together in a ball at nap time.  They are looking a home that will take them both.


HELP - CallieCallie - CalicoCats for adoption at Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets. #CatPhoto, #CatPhotographer, #KimStephenson, #PetPhotographer, #Photog, #Photographer, #Photography Callie is a sweet year old cat who came to HELP with newborn kittens.   She was a great mom raising her own babies plus a couple of extras.  She is a lap cat and loves to cuddle and will quickly win her way into your heart.


HELP - EastonEaston - Brown TabbyCats for adoption at Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets. #CatPhoto, #CatPhotographer, #KimStephenson, #PetPhotographer, #Photog, #Photographer, #Photography Easton has a lazy eye but that doesn't slow this handsome boy down one bit.


HELP - ThierryThierry - TortiCats for adoption at Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets. #CatPhoto, #CatPhotographer, #KimStephenson, #PetPhotographer, #Photog, #Photographer, #Photography Thierry is a 2 year torti.  This spunky girl has long beautiful fur that will need to brushed regularly - which she enjoys as if she's at the spa.


HELP - Benji Benji - DSH BlackCats for adoption at Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets. #CatPhoto, #CatPhotographer, #KimStephenson, #PetPhotographer, #Photog, #Photographer, #Photography Benji loves people and has a purr that rivals any other feline.   She is athletic and active but also loves a quite place to nap.

All these guys are looking for that purrrfect family to call their own.   If that's you give HELP a call to meet them.   You won't be disappointed.



]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #KimStephenson #catphoto #catphotographer #pawprintspix #petphotographer #photographer Animals Cat Cat Photographer Cat Photography Cat Photos Cats General Photography H.E.L.P. HeARTs Speak Pet Adoption Pet Photographer Pet Photography Pets Photography Wed, 16 Apr 2014 03:27:38 GMT
Competing in the PPA district print competition It's been a while.....

Since I wrote last I've been on a quest.   A quest for knowledge to improve my skills as a pet photographer.   The workshop I did with Paw Print Divas inspired me to reach higher than I ever expected to.   Barbara Breitsameter with Poppy Blue photography has been a huge part of that inspiration.   Back in August, during the workshop, she encouraged me to submit some of my work to the professional photographers association (PPA) print competition.  

Photos go through 2 levels of judging.  First each photo is judged on it's own merits and given a score; this is at the district competitions or phase 1 at the international competition.   Photos that score 80 and higher are "sealed".   Photos sealed in districts and submitted to the international print competition are automatically included in the associations general collection and will be displayed at the annual convention; Imaging USA in February.   Then they are then judged for inclusion in the associations loan collection.   Photos accepted into the loan collection are printed in the PPA loan collection book for the year.    Merit points are awarded for photos that are included in both the general (1 merit) and loan (2 merits) collections.   These points apply toward earning you certified professional photographer certification.

This February I gave it a go.  I submitted 4 photos (the max) to the north central district competition.  It was an awesome experience.  

First image - Got Tuna?   Score: 83

  Got TunaGot TunaGot Tuna

Second Image - Double Trouble - Score 80

Double TroubleDouble TroubleDouble Trouble

Third Image - Testing the Domino Theory - Score 81

Cat PhotoTesting the Domino TheoryCat photo submitted to North Central PPA Print Competition

Forth Image - Squirrel???? - Score 78

Dog PhotoSquirrelCat photo submitted to North Central PPA Print Competition

So 3 out of 4 will be in the General Collection and judged for the Loan collection!   I was so excited I was bouncing out of my chair when the scores came in!

I can resubmit Squirrel reworked or a new image for the first level judging at the international competition.   I'm already working on my ideas!!!!


]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #catphoto #catphotographer #dogphoto #pawprintspix #photographer Animals Cat General Photography cat photos Wed, 09 Apr 2014 02:46:43 GMT
On the Road in Key West Florida There is nothing like getting away from the day to day and adventuring into a place you've never been before.   For me it's energizing and good for the soul.   And of course like any photographer you can't leave home without a camera to capture the events and sights along the way.   In September we ventured to the far south - all the way down to Key West - the southern most part of the US.    September you say?   Isn't it hot in September?   Yes!   Way too hot!

For all these photos and more click here.

Welcome to Key WestWelcome to Key West

Welcome to Key West

Key West is an island at the southern tip of the Florida Keys.  It's original Spanish name was Cayo Hueso, or Bone Island.   The tour guides say that when English speaking people came to the island the pronunciation sounded like Key West and thus over time it eventually became known as Key West.   The atmosphere on the island is "festive".   It reminded me of a tropical version of New Orleans with many places to have a good beer and party the night way.   More interested in the sights than the drinks we wandered to see what there was to see.

Sailing the Roadways on a Land YachtSailing the Roadways on a Land Yacht Been There Got the StickerBeen There Got the Sticker

Markets AboundMarkets Abound Mile 0Mile 0

Wild birds are protected in Key West so there are wild Chickens everywhere. 

Clucking the day awayClucking the day away

Yes Key West is the southern-most point of the continental US.   There is even a marker that says so.   It is a hot spot for tourist to pose with their cameras.   From here it is a 90 mile swim to Cuba.

90 miles to cuba90 miles to cuba SOUTHERN MOST POINT  - Say CheeseSOUTHERN MOST POINT - Say Cheese

Mallory Square

The highlight of every evening is sunset at Mallory Square.   Unfortunately on the 2 nights we went 1 rained right at sunset; or I should say POURED right at sunset and the other was so cloudy there wasn't much to see.   But the clouds in the run up the rain were spectacular!

Running from the RainRunning from the Rain

Cat Man

No self respecting animal photographer could go to Key West and not see the Cat Man.      He puts on a show every night at sunset at Mallory Square.  He is a real Showman with a capitol S.   He has 5 or 6 trained domestic cats which walk a pole, jump to pedestals and leap through a flaming hoop on command - or some of his commands.   Getting a domestic house cat to do any of those things on command is a feat but jumping through fire?  Wow.

Flames of deathFlames of death

Walking the poleWalking the pole Cat manCat man

Snorkeling, Dolphins and Sunsets

We may not have been lucky at Mallory Square but we took a sunset cruise that started with a stop to see a local pod of dolphins.    I'm not sure how many there were but it looked like quite a few.   They were just kind of cruising along - one even came right up to the boat.  


After that a dip in the ocean.   The wind was too high to go to the reef so they took us to a protected area off a small island.   There weren't as many fish there but there was some coral starting to grow so there were some fish.    There was a school of yellow and blue fish that decided I might taste good.   At one point they swarmed around me and start pecking at me.   A little frightening at first.   Jaye kept running into jellyfish - fortunately she was able to get out of the way without being stung.   

Then the sun set.

Sunset off the keysSunset off the keys

Having fun after a swimHaving fun after a swim

Hemingway House

Key West was home to Ernest Hemingway in the 1930s.   The house is now a museum and home to about 50 cats.   The cats are decedents of Hemingway's polydactyl kitties.  Many exhibit the polydactyl trait and have 6 toes on their front paws and 5 on the back.   The house and history are interesting but the cats were the best.

Sleeping in the shadeSleeping in the shade

5 toes on the back5 toes on the back Hanging outHanging out

Dry Tortugas

Ok if you want to go even further out you can take a day trip to the Dry Tortugas.  The Tortugas are about 67 miles west of Key West.   Once a fort and prison the Tortugas are now a National Park.   A great place to snorkel and scuba most of the park is actually under water.   On the main island stands Fort Jefferson.   The fort was intended to protect the mainland from attack by sea.   After the civil war it became a prison and housed Dr Samuel Mudd, the doctor who treated John Wilkes Booth after assassinating President Lincoln.   Difficult to supply, as everything including fresh water had to be shipped in, it was abandoned and then eventually established as a National Park.    A daily ferry goes out to visit the island.

Fort Jackson as a prison - Sign of the times Fort Jackson as a prison - Sign of the times Fort JacksonFort Jackson Long HallLong Hall

Snorkeling along the moat wallSnorkeling along the moat wall Mudd's cellMudd's cell

The best part of the day was practicing action shots with my new zoom lens.    Off one of the seawalls there was an old set of pilings.    The sea birds hang out there.   I sat for about an hour watching and photographing the pelicans as they fished for lunch.   One bird would take off, do a circle, hover and then dive straight down.   When he got his catch the seagulls would land on his head and try to steal it.   The day was terribly overcast and grey.

Diving for lunchDiving for lunch Feathered thiefFeathered thief Splash downSplash down

All in all it was a good week.

To see these and more photos from the trip click here.

]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) Cats Chicago Cat Photographer General Photography Nature PawPrints Pix Photography Sun, 20 Oct 2013 01:47:09 GMT
PawPrint Divas Photo Workshop A couple of weeks ago I spent 3 jam packed days at the PawPrint Divas Dog Photography workshop.   It was by far the best photography class I've ever taken.   The award winning instructors, Barbara Breitsmeter, Kim Hartz and Jenny Froh, really know how to put on a workshop!   The class was in beautiful Lake Tahoe Nevada/California.  

Shooting on locationShooting on location

The Class

The class covered;

  • shooting techniques
  • composition - what sells
  • dog handling
  • photo sessions with a client
  • photography business topics
  • post processing
  • AND lots of shooting

Shooting Techniques

We focused on 3 lighting techniques; natural (only available light), with a reflector and with an off camera flash (in studio and on location).   With only 9 students to 3 instructors we got lots of hands on shooting and feedback.  We had 5 extremely well trained dogs with us throughout the workshop; Ada, Taya, Agador, Ruby & Karma.  In addition for most sessions we had special guest models to give us practice with many dog temperaments and training levels.  Saturday Jenny was able to bring in 2 special dogs from a local animal rescue group.   Getting to work with a variety of dogs and training levels is one of the things I was most looking forward to.   I wasn't disappointed.

Natural Light   

KarmaKarma smiling for the camera YorkieGuest Model

With Reflector

Karma waiting on the stairs AgadorWaiting for Dad

Off Camera Flash

Taya to the rescue Relaxing after a long day as a model

In Action

I'm coming Mom!

Lake Tahoe

There was a big fire that started in Yosemite shortly before the class started.   Before long the smoke from the fire rolled in.   It made for very interesting lighting conditions.... but that didn't slow us down one bit.

The lake Sun through the trees

All said it was a successful 3 days thanks to our amazing instructors, Barbara, Kim & Jenny!   I had a great time, learned a lot and made some new friends.   Now I get to practice the things I learned....

Sunset on Lake Tahoe

]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #dogphoto #dogphotographer. #pawprintspix #photographer Animals Chicago Cat Photographer General Photography PawPrintsPix Photography Sat, 14 Sep 2013 01:47:09 GMT
{52 HeARTs} Vintage This week > Vintage

When I think of vintage - I think of old "stuff"; clothes, furniture, cars....

To me, vintage photos are images with very faded colors on scratched, folded and sometimes torn photo paper.   I have a lot of these from when I was first learning to take snapshots with a Kodak 126 instamatic.   Most of these really early shots are black & white and some of have holes punched in them.    I'll never know why the photo lab used a hole punch on my photos but .... there you go.    Later photos, from when I graduated to color, are now all faded to yellows, orange and some blues.

In talking with Jaye about this challenge she suggested using the Hoosier as the stage.   A Hoosier is a piece of kitchen furniture.   Before the era of built-in cabinets and counters a Hoosier was used to store stuff and as a counter top of preparing food.   

The Scene:   Making cookies with a bit of help.  
Recipe:  Floor, Sugar, Eggs, old bottles and bowls + 1 helper - Zazu


Of course after I set this scene my model didn't really want to participate so I added a bit of catnip to the recipe.     When I originally set this up I was thinking of shooting from a higher angle so I had put some flour in the bowl.   Zazu took a big whiff of the stuff in the bowl and got a nose full of flour.   Poor guy sneezed for 4 or 5 minutes.

I probably should have faded these out more but I kind of like the tone.


]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #catphoto #catphotographer. #pawprintspix #photographer 52 HeARTs Animals Cats General Photography HeARTs Speak photographer Sun, 19 May 2013 05:10:51 GMT
{52 HeARTs} Framed This weeks challenge was "Framed".    A few years ago I saw some images with a cool technique that I thought it would be fun to try.   When I read the theme for the week I decided it was time to try the technic.   So yesterday at the adoption event I was shooting at I enlisted one of the foster families that had a litter of bold kittens.    I am very fortunate to work with families who are always happy to "experiment" and try different things with the photos we do.   Thank you Carly!


The Great Escape - Feline Style .... "Framed"


Behind the scenes

The kittens, Katnis and Fin, thought this game was great fun.   Carly had them running through the frame then picked them up and put them back behind it to go again.   After a short time they were literally leaping through the frame so quick they were a blur.

Then an image for the frame above.

And the scene of the escape.

Add a little photoshop magic and you have the great escape feline style.

]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #catphoto #catphotographer. #pawprintspix #photographer Animals Cats General Photography H.E.L.P. HeARTs Speak Pet Adoption Sun, 12 May 2013 18:05:37 GMT
{52 HeARTs} Celebrate [Week 9] Zoe is a 7 week old lover.   She was born outside in the bitter cold of early March in Chicago to a feral mom.    The kittens were left outside with the mom for the first 3 weeks and watched closely.   When it became clear that the cold was a bit too much and they might not make it Zoe and her 4 siblings were brought to Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets [H.E.L.P.].   Mom could not be caught so these little guys were bottle fed for the first couple of weeks of domestic life.

We decided to document their journey from bottle fed baby to full kittenhood by taking photos every week to watch them grow.   The photos will be used to help local rescue folks age very young kittens.  For me this has been a special project.   I love getting to know these little guys.   And they now know me!  As soon as I sit on the floor to shoot, a couple of them run into my lap and purr.    Doesn't get much better than that.

Let's Party!!!!

This weeks theme for the 52 HeARTs challenge is celebrate.  Zoe is all dressed up to celebrate!  She and her siblings are 7 weeks old and best of all 4 weeks with her foster mom.   Happy birthday little guys!

Zoe at 7wks Dressed to PartyHELP Zoe - 2013.04.25 - 08376

]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #catphoto #catphotographer. #pawprintspix #photographer Animals Cats General Photography H.E.L.P. HeARTs Speak Kitten Newborn Pet Adoption Sun, 28 Apr 2013 03:56:20 GMT
Heroes As you know for the last couple of years I’ve been volunteering my photography services with a local animal rescue group (H.E.L.P.) here in the west suburbs.   This group rescues cats and dogs from kill shelters, surrenders from local families, and many other sources.   They have a network work of families that take the pet into their homes and foster them – often providing medical help and socialization - until the animal can be adopted into a forever home.


Working with H.E.L.P. is very rewarding and fulfilling.   It brings together 2 things that I truly love; animals and photography – how can you beat that?!  


Next Friday, 3-May, H.E.L.P. is hosting their annual fundraiser dinner and auction.    I’ve put together the video that will be played during the event.   The video, Heroes, features H.E.L.P.s cats, dogs and foster families along with many success stories from the families who’ve adopted from the group.   The last 6 weeks putting this together has been quite a journey so I thought I’d share.  :)    The video is long since it intended for the dinner – click the image to check it out.

Or click here >

]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #catphoto #catphotographer #pawprintspix #photographer Animals Cats Dogs General Photography H.E.L.P. HeARTs Speak Pet Adoption Sat, 27 Apr 2013 22:23:42 GMT
{52 HeARTs} Black & White [Week 8] Week 8's theme for the 52 HeARTs challenge is black & white.


I've always liked black & white photos.   You see the subject in all its stark detail.    Recently I've been playing with images that are "black & white except a single focal point". 


Lily is a 7 month old brown and grey tabby with white patches.   She is shy and slow to warm up to people she doesn't know.   This photo was taken at last weeks adoption event.   Lily has the most striking golden eyes.  I thought it'd be a perfect photo for the b&w theme.

Lily with the golden eyesHELP - Lily - 2013.04.13 - 07967


This is the original photo.

HELP - Lily - 2013.04.13 - 07967

]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #catphoto #catphotographer #pawprintspix #photographer 52 HeARTS Animal Animals Cats General Photography H.E.L.P. HeARTs Speak Pet Adoption Rescue Sat, 20 Apr 2013 04:45:35 GMT
{52 HeARTs} Blue [Week 7] As you know I am a member of the photographers group HeARTs Speak and have been participating 52 HeARTs, a weekly theme-based photo challenge.   This weeks theme is blue.  

Immediately I thought of the newborn kittens I started photographing last week for HELP (Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets).   Lisa, the foster mom, takes in kittens whose feline mother can't take care of them for one reason or another.  She bottle feeds them every two hours until they are old enough to start eating on their own.     

This is Finley.  He is 1 of 5 kittens.   When they came to live with Lisa (last week) they were 3 weeks old.   Now at 4 weeks they are already starting to eat some wet cat food + milk mix in addition to their regular bottle.   They really get into it - literally - they had it all over their little faces.  We plan to photograph them once a week and follow their growth from bottle feed babies to unstoppable, energetic kittens.

Newborn kittens often have blue eyes.   This changes as they get older.

Finley (4 weeks) had just finished his dinner and wasn't sure it was time for a bath or sleep.

Got Milk?HELP - Finley - 2013.04.11 - 07668 - Milk Mouth


Finley at 3 weeks old --- just learning to walk.   He was still pretty wobbly but it didn't slow him down one bit!

HELP - Newborns - 3wks - 2013.04.02 - 07208


]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #catphoto #catphotographer #pawprintspix #photographer Animals Cats General Photography H.E.L.P. HeARTs Speak Pet Adoption Sat, 13 Apr 2013 00:21:51 GMT
{52 HeARTS} Texture {52 HeARTS} Texture

This weeks HeART challenge is texture.  

The first thought that came to mind was the rough texture of a cats tongue.  But how do you get a cat to open his mouth and say me-ahhh on command?   My boys certainly weren't going to cooperate with that so I moved on to my 2nd thought - feathers.   These unique delicate wisps are all different.   Up close the textures really stands out.

I wanted to try something different with the lighting so I shot these with the feathers laying on an LED light and a speedlight with a snoot/with honeycomb grid to direct the light.

Feathers52 Hears - Texture - 2013.03.24 - 07154


Of course no photo session is complete without my furry helper.   He believes the feathers belong to him.

Zazu52 Hears - Texture - Zazu - 2013.03.24 - 07150


]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #pawprintspix #photographer 52 HeARTS Animals HeARTs Speak Sun, 24 Mar 2013 23:05:38 GMT
{52 HeARTS} Humor This weeks 52 HeARTs theme is humor.   

Last weekend I went to both the cat and dog adoption events for H.E.L.P.   I was hoping to get some funny expressions.   So these weren't really "scripted" but more accidently on purpose.

 Sally was having fun playing ball with us.

HELP - Sally - 2013.03.09 - 06531


These 3 little puppies are Bam Bam, Pebbles and Clark.   They'd been napping before we brought them over to get their photos done and once they woke up they were all a blur of motion.    I wished this first one had better focus but I loved the expression on Pebbles and Bam Bam.

HELP - Bam Bam Clark -2013.03.09 - 06599


JD is deaf and cross eyed.   He foster mom doesn't believe he sees very well.   Between not being able to hear or see it was a challenge to get his attention.  We were using treats to get him to work with us.   His nose works VERY well!

]]> (PawPrints Pix Photography) #dogphoto #dogphotographer #pawprintspix #photographer Animals Dogs General Photography H.E.L.P. HeARTs Speak Pet Adoption Sat, 16 Mar 2013 20:04:20 GMT