Hope and Memory Photography bio picture
  • I help clients capture their child’s personality. Oh, and I’m really good at acting (I used to be a performer in a former life), terrific at eating dessert (my fat jeans would definitely agree), and my Russian accent is stellar (Russians have confused me for an actual Russian until I give them a blank face when my Russian vocabulary runs out). Clients love my creative whimsical photos and are always commenting on how I’ve captured them in such a unique and beautiful way. Personally, I think my ability to return emails faster than Superman’s flight speed is pretty impressive. My Momma thinks I’m determined and that I have great hair and beautiful eyes. My friends envy my ability to balance everything on my overly full plate (they should be envying my husband because I certainly couldn’t do it without him). My clients love that I effectively capture their family and bottle moments in time for them to savor for years to come; I help them hold on to their memories.

Spring! – Seattle Child Photographer

Seattle child photographer

merry-go-round, kid umbrellas, curly headed cuties, Spring in the park, creative kid photos, lifestyle images, outdoors with kids, rain boots and ballet outfits, wellies, red and yellow, april showers bring may flowersI’ve been busy making some internal changes and external tweaks to my website (feel free to poke around and check it out!) and handling back end business stuff… and doing taxes. Ugggghhhhhh – taxes are the worst part about Spring! But, I had to pop out of my coccoon and say hello because the sun is shining, the birds are singing outside my office window, and I am able to throw my kids in the backyard to play (and that is a very good thing) and that means Spring is finally here (now, c’moooon Summer)!

I also wanted to remind you that I am going to be on maternity leave during June and July (how is it possible that I will have 3 kids in about 9 weeks?! I still have too much to do!), which means I only have 2 session openings left before baby gets here and a mere 6 session appointments left for the entire Summer, so book yours now to ensure you get a time and

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date you prefer before the holidays start rolling around again (I know, it sounds crazy to talk about that already, but trust me!).

And lastly, I had to share this photo of my girl from our personal mini session with the cherry blossoms. I’ll share more later, but this is literally the only one I’ve had time to edit and now that the cherry blossoms are almost gone for the year and my momma heart is feeling so full, it just seems like a good time to share. The cherry blossoms filling the trees and floating down with the wind always gives me such a sense of peace and some sort of magical element and I am always a bit sad to see them go.

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Seattle child photographer

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Fowl Treatment

I usually try to stay out of this industry nonsense for a few reasons, namely because I find it to be unprofessional and petty, but this particular time it has gone a bit too far and people are just blindly posting this information all over Facebook and their blogs and it is just this side of bullying, in my ever so humble opinion. That being said, it is very important that I preface this by saying this is my experience after contacting the USDA and PPA (the photographers trade association) and that I am sharing this information with you because it was very difficult to get anything but a vague answer from several people and I don’t want anyone operating under misinformation. If you have any questions regarding this for your own business or a session you have scheduled, please do contact the USDA or PPA yourself and ask them specifically about your situation.

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Ok, so maybe you’ve seen this little gem of an article (titled “Bunnies and chiclets and children, oh my!”)? Over the past week or so, it has gone pretty viral in the photography industry. I saw it about a week ago and just sat quietly by and watched it get reposted time and time again; I wasn’t worried about it because I was confident that my upcoming bunny sessions are totally legit. And then I got a certified letter in the mail from the USDA yesterday, which obviously sent me into freakout mode trying to figure out what I did wrong (turns out nothing, just as I thought) and how to fix it so I didn’t have to cancel on my clients. This certified “letter” was really a certified package with about 20 pages of paperwork with various titles having to do with fees and licenses and items and classes and exhibitors along with a book on the Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed and my head was spinning. I immediately called the USDA and was transferred to the Washington office. I was very up front and nice about why I was calling and told her my exact situation regarding the bunny mini sessions and my style and niche of photography. She told me that I have photos of animals on my website, which meant I was in direct violation of the law, because I did not have a license to do so. I told her I was confused since I had researched this after reading the aforementioned blog post and this was the first I was hearing of this law and asked her if she could please clarify a few questions for me; every question was eventually met with “I sent you the information, read it.” Well, now that isn’t very helpful, is it? I told her I was more than happy to read it and had in fact already looked through much of it, but I was overwhelmed and confused because I did not see A SINGLE THING regarding photography and photographers, let alone something as specific as my situation and could she pretty please just direct me where to look, which form, which chapter, ANYthing so I could begin to figure this out since she was certainly not going to help me in doing so. Again, no, figure it out yourself.

At this point I began asking specific questions, one of which was if the animals in the photo were clients’ pets, did the regulation still apply. I was told that yes, it absolutely still applied to any animal in the photo and any information I was reading from anywhere else was completely and totally wrong.

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This was utterly astonishing to me; what about photographing my child playing in the backyard with our dog, what about the family that brings their dogs to their session, what about the senior girl that wants to be photographed with her horse, what about the family that has urban chickens and goats, what about the pet photography industry?! Are you telling me that this is so closely regulated that I have to have a license to share a photo of a family with their beloved pet on my website? Or even my own children with an animal, be it our pet or not? This woman at the USDA would have you believe so. I found this to be so ludicrous that I contacted PPA and shared the conversation and the letter with them. The response from them was that the form letter I received was in line with the information on the PPA site about legally using animals in your photographs (sorry, you have to be a logged in member to read it) and to call the USDA back again and speak with someone that could answer my specific questions about my bunny sessions and that they had never heard of pets (or pet photography) being regulated like this.

Fast forward to a couple hours ago when I got a call from the Washington state USDA veterinary inspector. Again, I presented my situation to her and asked her about pets, animal handlers, and work already on my website (you may have seen ponies, rabbits, and chickens…). She assured me that I was 100% legal and doing it right but that the USDA has an obligation to follow through when complaints are filed against people. Wait. Whaaaaaa? Yes, you read that right. Someone filed a complaint against me (I thought this was all waaaay too coincidental for the USDA to have just found me and suddenly decided that I was someone they needed to pursue) but I will get to that in a minute.

I want to make it VERY clear that this is the information I received from the USDA inspector today, 3/19/2013 at about 1:40pm PST:

  • You can use client pets, no matter how exotic they are, as long as the client is present.
  • Rabbits are regulated, but this is an easy workaround as long as you hire a professional handler that is licensed (I am using Bunnies for Birthdays, she is licensed and she has her sweet little baby bunnies well socialized to be around children.) and will be on hand to take care of the animals during your shoot.
  • Horses are not regulated (I think she may have even said that donkeys and goats are also fine, but do not quote me on that) for photos.
  • Birds are not regulated for photos.
  • Reptiles are not regulated for photos.
  • Rodents are not regulated for photos.

I hope this information makes the laws and regulations a bit more clear for at least one other person, if for no other reason than avoiding the (literal) headache that I’ve been dealing with for the past few days.

Now, back to this reporting business. Pardon my internet speak, but WTF? How have we come to a place in this industry where we are so full of nastiness and envy that we resort to shaming and turning on each other? The blog post I mentioned before specifically says “Because a professional would rarely use animals with or without a license. In fact, VERY few professional photographers offer this option at all. If they do, it is in a VERY controlled environment and no one is allowed to touch the animals. In fact, generally the use of animals is considered highly NON-PROFESSIONAL by the majority of professional photographers. Since I am a fine art photographer, I also expect my works to be put on fine papers and canvas finishes to be hung and treasured forever in my client’s home. An image like this is not going to be a “forever” portrait.” So, that is one person’s opinion, we are all allowed to have our own opinions (however wrong they may be;)), but how DARE you shame the rest of us that choose to use animals in our own fine art work and call us non-professional?! Barb Uil of JinkyArt, a trusted friend of mine and one of the most well respected photographers in the industry is known for putting animals in her child portraits and, in fact, recently won an award for her work that was chosen by members all across the photography industry. Then further down in that blog post she says “To see if your photographer is licensed according to the Animal Welfare Act, you can go to the USDA – APHIS databank. I spoke with the USDA, as of March 8 2013 this data bank is current.” Or, you know, JUST ASK. Instead of jumping to conclusions thinking that the photographer in question is being unethical, just be honest with your concerns and ask them. If they are not happy to divulge the specifics, that would certainly throw up a red flag for me, at which point I would definitely inquire further, but until then, can we all just be a bit nicer? I just am so flabbergasted that a member of such a tight-knit industry would respond like this, especially since I have made it very clear all along that I have hired a legit business to bring their well-socialized bunnies to me. I can see no real reason, beyond just being mean-spirited, that someone would react in such a way. Truthfully, I really don’t care how much you hate me or dislike my work because I am confident in who I am as a person and as an artist; to take the time out of your day to go through the governmental hoops to report me to a governmental agency when you have no evidence that I am doing anything unethical or illegal speaks volumes to the type of person that is doing this… and I just can’t understand why.

So to all my fellow photographers out there, this is my plea to you: Can we all just get along? I’m not even asking you to love everyone’s work or falsely praise it or even to be bffs with your local competition. I just want us all to live in peace together, regardless of how unqualified you think someone else’s work is or how much you despise someone. We are all in this ever-changing game together and when one photographer lashes out at another it really causes a ripple effect, even when done anonymously. Focus on being the best you that you can be, get over the jealousy and the envy, and carry on with your life in peace. If you truly have a concern about the safety of a child, client, or animal, please just quietly ask the photographer about it before jumping to conclusions. Above all, respect your fellow humans and be the best person you can be.

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Dawn - Well done!!

Michele - To this I say . . . kudos.

suzyb - Considering oodles of non-pros enter our industry every day but think a fancy camera and a blog make them a pro, it’s no surprise that there is a huge lack of professional conduct and courtesy in our ‘workplace.’ Nice article and great points, sadly I don’t think for many of these dingdongs will get the message. Beautiful work and thanks for sharing xo

Charlotte - I love how well you wrote this! I think if you don’t like something, then learn to turn your head. These photographers, or even people that are turning us in, do not know if we have the correct things in order, or how we handle safety issues at our sessions! I’m with you, my bunny went through several trips to insure that it was in law, and even went through several shots, and I have a valid record along with a certified letter from the vet. It is a shame that they assume the worse. What if we turned every newborn photographer in for showing a picture of a newborn hanging from a treat and considered it “fowl play” because they didn’t post a composite, or even mention it was a composite. People always want something to complain about in this industry, and I’ve just learned to mind my own business and what I am doing. I know I abide by laws, those turning others in may want to look at what they are doing!

Jane - I’m sorry to hear what you had to deal with! There is only one reason this sort of thing happens: JEALOUSY. The individual that did this is so jealous of you and your business that she wanted to cause you trouble and was hoping your business would suffer. Pathetic. When I saw that post going around, I didn’t touch it. I’m beyond fed up with the big name bullies in the industry that strive to intimidate. If your competition is jealous, keep up the great work!!

Jamie - Well said! Kudos to you.

Stacie - Thank you so much. After my own digging I found the same. I took the time to panic and have a little melt down but thank you so much for putting this out there.

dee - I am still sitting her blinking in astonishment that someone has nothing better to do with their lives than try to find fault in someone else’s even when there is NONE! Amazing. I am so sorry you had to go through this but what a wonderful educational lesson you presented for everyone else in how how to process the whole situation. Great job!

lauri - Well said. I had no idea this was all still such a big issue among photographers, but now that I’ve read some of the recent blogs out there on the subject, well…you just have to consider the source.

Laura Brown - Well done. People are mean and they love to see you fail. Good job for being proactive. I actually called a veterinary friend who has several USDA connections…they told him the same thing. Thank for you for the reassurance. We hope your bunny session is very successful.

Victoria Campbell - I am so glad I read this…I too am doing the same thing for mini sessions…and hired a handler…had no idea there were such “laws” and value the work other photographers do with photographing pets with families {this is something I rarely had the chance to do}…kudos to you and yes this is bullying at its finest!

Melissa Garcia - This is good information to know, thank for you clarifying things and I’m sorry that someone had to be sneaky behind your back instead of in your face about it.

Baby Bunny Spring Mini Sessions

Looking for 2014 baby bunny sessions?  Head on over here!

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Seattle Spring Mini Sessions

I am so so SO excited to invite you and your kids to join me in cuddling some adorable LIVE baby bunnies at my Seattle Spring Mini Sessions! Since it is still quite cool (and wet!) outside, I’ll be transforming my well-lit dining room into a temporary studio filled with flowers and bunnies and general Spring lovelies. I’ve started a Pinterest board so you can check out my vision; I am still hard at work on prop-creation so I don’t have any prop photos for you yet (stay tuned to Facebook as I am sure I won’t be able to contain my excitement and will have to share them there!), but I promise, it will make you squeal with glee when you see it!

Details:

  • The date will be Sunday, March 24th from 9:00-12:00.
  • Sessions will be scheduled for every 20 minutes with 15 minutes of shooting time and there will only be 9 available appointments. Each appointment is appropriate for up to 3 children, so if you require more time than that, please book accordingly.
  • Cost is $200 for 15 minutes of shooting time, 5-8 photos to choose from, 3 gift prints (8×10 or smaller) OR 1 high resolution file with print release, Facebook images of your chosen prints, and a complimentary Spring Facebook timeline cover! You are welcome to stay a few minutes longer just for bunny cuddles!

I expect these appointments to fill quickly, so please let me know you are interested ASAP as these will be filled on a “first come, first serve” basis!

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Fowl Treatment - Hope and Memory Photography - [...] « Baby Bunny Spring Mini Sessions [...]

The Crane Wife | Children’s Concept Photography

 

First, you need to know that this concept was inspired by one of my favorite bands, The Decemberists. They released an album in 2006 (and, I think it is also my favorite album of theirs) titled “The Crane Wife”. There are 3 songs on this album (Crane Wife 1, 2, and 3) that tell a story that has captured my imagination for quite some time now. I’ve included a video of this below; please watch it to get the full effect.  childrens concept photography

This was a personal project that was very special to me. I knew going into it that I was going to have to take my time with every last detail since I also knew that I wanted these on my walls. I could not find a wardrobe that fit my vision for this shoot and I did what I often do and decided to just make something. Unfortunately, I do not have the best sewing technique and tend to learn things like that on the fly so I enlisted the help of a friend that is a very talented costume seamstress and knitter to help me construct the bones of the dress. My vision for this shoot was sculpted by the Decemberists style of music, especially on their Crane Wife album, which has a whimsical western flare to it (in my ever so humble opinion, anyway); the dress had to reflect that. I started with a “western” prairie girl-esque dress pattern from Simplicity (kind of like this western style girls costume but I can’t remember now if it was actually this pattern) and mixed and matched the pieces in there until we got the look I wanted with a stark white sateen-like material. I then picked different elements, all in grey, white, and black, to embellish it and give it an avian feel. This included a white with black piping ruffle fabric, sheer white frienge, lots of lace, and some grey organza to add a Victorian sash (kind of like tail feathers). To put it simply, the finished product is, despite my shoddy costuming abilities, stunning!

I ended up compromising quite a bit on my original vision and plan because I could not find the right location. Once I found it, my girl (whom the dress was made specifically to fit) had outgrown it to the point that we couldn’t even zip it all the way up! My perfect location is in the Tacoma area and I was flying back to Houston to pick up the kids after a stay with the grandparents and I knew that I couldn’t wait another 2 weeks to do the shoot, so I threw the dress in my luggage and purchased props in Texas, where I photographed my kid the first day I was there. It isn’t perfectly what I wanted but I still love this set of photos for what they are. I do plan to photograph this again with a different model in the Seattle area, so if you have a girl (preferably with dark hair) that fits a size 5/6 dress, and are interested in a session like this, let me know!

“And all the stars were crashing around
As I laid eyes on what I’d found”
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“It was a white crane
It was a helpless thing
On a red stain
With an arrow its wing
And it called and cried
And it called and cried so”
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“My crane wife arrived at my door in the moonlight
All star bright and tongue-tied, I took her in
We were married and bells rang sweet for our wedding”
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“We were poorly, our fortunes fading hourly
And how she avowed me, she could bring it back
But I was greedy, I was vain and I forced her to weaving
On a cold loom, in a closed room with down and wool”
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“Sound the keening bell
And see it’s painted red
Soft as fontenelle
The feathers in the thread
And all I ever meant to do was to keep you
My crane wife…
There’s a bend in the wind and it rakes at my heart
There is blood in the thread and it rakes at my heart
It rakes at my heart”
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“And under the boughs unbowed
all clothed in the snowy shroud
She had no heart so hardened
All under the boughs unbowed
Each feather it fell from skin
‘Til thread bare while she grew thin
How were my eyes so blinded?
Each feather it fell from skin”
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“And I will hang my head, hang my head low…
A grey sky, a bitter sting
A rain cloud, a crane on wing
All out beyond horizon
A grey sky, a bitter sting”
Crane Wife, concept photography, inspired by the Decemberists, composite photography, unique portraits that tell a story, art inspired by art, children

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Port Orchard, WA Wedding Photography | Anna and Trevor

It’s the middle of Winter on a particularly cold (for this Texan transplant anyway) night and I am lying in bed with what I think is the flu. I’ve been meaning to post this lovely wedding for quite some time, but I got busy with clients and morning sickness and holiday orders and then the actual holidays… so, um, blogging fell by the wayside. But here I am in this new year with the resolution of being a bit more consistent with my posting this year instead of just being sporadic. My other resolution is to just take more photos of my kids and enjoy the moment instead of fussing with perfectly composed shots with excellent exposure. I’ll likely be posting a lot more personal photos and what-have-you, but I’m not ready to take on another weekly project this year as I typically burn out on those by mid-Spring.  Since I am craving sunshine and warmth, I am so very excited to finally share my very first wedding with you, shot at the beautiful Cedar Springs in Port Orchard, WA.

Now, I have to be honest in telling you that I never thought I would shoot a wedding, to the point that I swore up and down that weddings were not not not for me (never say never, right?!), but Anna and Trevor sold me on this whole wedding thing. Anna was the antonym of bridezilla and the two of them were just the perfect client throughout the whole process from engagement session to album delivery. They are such an impressive, strong young couple and I am so honored and proud to be the Seattle photographer that they chose for their stunning August wedding.

This necklace that Anna wore as a bracelet belongs to Trevor’s family. It was her “something borrowed” and such a sweet touch.
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“First look” photos always make me a teary-eyed emotional mess, and I was thrilled that Anna and Trevor agreed to one. I’d been crossing my fingers since the beginning and couldn’t have been more excited when they said yes!
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Anna is a contributor over at Best Friends For Frosting, so clearly she knows her way around baked goods, but she opted out of a traditional wedding cake for a s’more bar! I have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed since I am a wedding cake fiend and was REALLY looking forward to that little perk… until I saw it and how amazing it was for the couple and their the people they treasure most in the world to gather around a fire, roast marshmallows, laugh, and enjoy time together. It added a wonderful and intimate element to the wedding and was fun to photograph too!
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And, of course, Anna and Trevor had to knock it out of the park with a sparkler exit instead of the traditional rice or birdseed. What a perfect end to such a wonderful wedding!
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I can’t end this blog post without saying that I could not have done this without my amazing second shooter, Val Spring. She was in the places I couldn’t be and helped me document this sweet couple’s big day. Thank you, sweet friend! xoxo

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