Today, I declared Pet Day at the studio. The first time I ever did it. I'm known to shoot people and their relationships. I like shooting the happy, documenting friendships, love and family. I love photographing a father's love for his first baby girl, a mother's love for her already-grown children, a toddler's love for his parents. But after I photographed Cris and Bratley, I wanted to explore the love between owner and pet. Hmmm. This probably stemming out of curiosity (my Psychology degree finally getting some use haha) why pet owners do consider their pets as their babies and why they love them animals unconditionally. Okay, I also want to know what I'm missing.

You see, I'm no pet owner. I've had a few dogs in my childhood but nothing serious. They're our family's communal dogs, so I never really got the chance to take care of them on a really personal level. But this afternoon, I think I'm learning to understand why pet owners love their pets to a glorious extent. I guess it is because of the things the pets stand for: loyalty, trust, unconditional love, happiness. No pet can hold a grudge, or judge you for your internal battles. No pet will leave you. They listen. And they just love you without interjecting past or future references. So after seven pets, I'm tired as crazy. My clothes, fur-filled but I'm happy to have documented seven happy relationships. All different. But all brimming with love. 
 
Photographing children is one of the aspects of my business that make me so happy and giddy. It can be infuriating for those who won't do some zen tactics. 

Honestly, when I was single, I never thought about photographing kids. But now that I have a daughter of my own, I find myself enjoying shooting other children as well! I guess I understand them better, too now that my mother instincts have finally kicked in.

So for those of you out there who'd like to do some serious snappin' (pardon the pun), here are just some tips from a mom shooter. 

Toys are Us! 

Bring in toys to your shoot like rattles or things that your child adore. A favorite toy perhaps? Or something that will catch your kid's attention. Bring it near your lens if you want them looking towards the camera. They can be cool props, too!

Bring Me.

Don't forget to bring insect repellent, towels, extra clothes for you and for the little one during the shoot, most especially when you're shooting outdoors. Also bring along the normal things in your baby bag. 

Go Down.

People usually take pictures from their eye level. But if you're taking photographs of small children, it's best to photograph from their eye level so you see the world from where they're standing. Plus you get to zoom in on their eyes!
Like a Boss. 
You just have to accept the fact that if your child is too young to understand your instructions, then no matter what kind of verbal prodding it is that you'll opt to use, it ain't gonna work. Period. When they're getting cranky, stop the shoot for a snack, a snooze or for some play time. Wait for them to get ready. It's better for everyone's sanity.

Let them be.
Photographs of them sitting down in prim and proper fashion is cute. But it's also nice to try taking pictures of them in actual play. If you're not able to pose them, just shoot them while eating, playing, twirling or running about.

Let Go.
So if the shoot doesn't work to your favor, accept that there's always another shoot day. Maybe your child is just not into posing today. But tomorrow, is hopefully a better day to try again. 

Happy shooting! 
 
If some women get crazy over shoes and bags, this is my addiction - camera equipment. And today, I had a shopping itch that I tried hard to contain but failed. Hahaha!

It's our first time to shop at Photozuela, affordable photo equipment from Venezuela (hence the name) and we are brewing something for members of Camera Cart, our photography equipment rental and studio business. We're pretty excited about that and I'm equally excited to try the newly hoarded stash.
 
I want something like this in my studio or better yet, it my house! Ooooohlalala!
 
The thing about being a photographer is that work usually comes on weekends: Weddings on weekends, events on weekends, more clients on weekends. But we all know that weekends, especially Sundays, in every Filipino's watch, is family time and for Catholics, time to hear mass and pray. 

So when I started Portraits by Heidi and workshops by Camera Cart, the assumption was of course that weekends would take center-stage of my work time. Last year, Melvene the husband and I went full blast. Working our asses off on weekdays and weekends. In other words, we were on 24/7. Yes, like the HBO documentary for a pre-Pacquiao fight. But this was our fight. And last 2012, we found ourselves too tired for words. I mean, really dead-tired, not knowing when a week starts has taken a heavy toll on me. I was stressed and tired. So I've been harboring guilt feelings also for not having Isabelle time, time for church, me time, and wife-husband time. I've lost my bearings. I was all work, work, work. 

But we took a 2-week vacation at the end of December (because if I wouldn't, I'd end up depleted) and I realized that I've built my business backwards. What I've been doing for the past years is that I made the business take center stage, and the things/people that matter most fit into my schedule. What I should have done was to prioritize the things/people that matter first, then the business will have to revolve around it so that I get to have purpose with every stride. So everything in my life have more meaning. 

I'm currently reading Why Entrepreneurs should Eat Bananas by Simon Tupman, a gift from my sister Hazel last Christmas. And he says:
The point of life is to be happy and enjoy life as much as possible. Yet many people seem to miss that point, and so play a pointless game, focusing solely on achieving status, recognition or financial abundance. As David Maister writes in True Professionalism: All other goals (money, fame, responsibility, achievement) are merely ways of making you happy. They are worthless in themselves. While financial targets are important, an exclusive striving towards higher financial goals can almost inevitably be a cause of dissatisfaction among those working in, and running, business of all sorts."
Long quote but definitely worth the read. And I say "Amen" to that!

For those who've started their own businesses and especially those who love what they do, I think you'd agree that it's so hard to stop working. I love working with Camera Cart and doing portrait work. It's who I am. It's so my passion. That I literally sleep and breathe thinking all about my businesses! I am really grateful that I've been given the opportunity to do what I love to do. The problem is when to stop.

So anyway, I'm still working on Saturdays, but I've decided I'll try my hardest to declare Sunday as family day. And for the first Sunday of 2013, I have chosen not to book any meetings, shoot any client. I have chosen to let the yaya take a break and have a Sunday off so I can spend time with my dearest Isabelle and my loving husband. We had lunch, made Isabelle tumble at the Gymboree, and had coffee when we were all exhausted. And it was perfect. 

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