I continue my pro bono work for the HeARTS Speak global organization by providing beautiful dog portraits to help homeless dogs get adopted.
Why? My love for all innocent creatures is quite simply put, endless. And my love for dogs in particular, is kind of strange considering I got bit in the face at the tender age of 4. This event required stitches for my face by my lips. You’d think that would have traumatized me, but no. My favorite TV show was “Lassie”, and my older siblings would make fun of me for crying whenever an animal on that show got hurt.
At a very young age I read my first “big book” which was, “Lassie Come Home”. So the origin of these deep-rooted feelings comes from deep within my soul. I now keep three dogs as pets of all different sizes and breeds – all rescues. I really wish I could save them all!
When I first moved to Bastrop County late 2012, I got involved with the community by volunteering at the local shelter to transport dogs to prevent them from being euthanized due to shelter overcrowding. But once one of the volunteers learned that I was a professional photographer, she instead got me busy photographing the shelter dogs weekly to help them get adopted. After she left there, I primarily worked with a different volunteer as a dog handler, . This activity went on for a few years until Amy left that shelter and went to a different one.
In 2016 I Learned About A Special Organization
I joined HeARTS Speak, a nationally recognized 501c3 nonprofit organization that’s uniting art and advocacy to increase the visibility of shelter animals. United in their efforts, their global community of innovative thinkers, top-notch artists, and tireless advocates are saving lives, supporting animal welfare organizations, and transforming the world’s perception of pet adoption.
This also coincides with the time when I started volunteering at the Lockhart Animal Shelter. My dog handler is a tireless volunteer there who oversees the rescue efforts of the homeless pets. It’s because of her that I can take great photos of the dogs to market for adoption. I could write a book on how my dog handler friend has transformed that little country animal shelter! She helped raise funds to provide air-conditioned kennels and large play yards for their dogs. It makes me proud to know that this is with whom I volunteer!
I don’t think I’ll ever stop providing pro bono work photographing homeless pets up for adoption. A few of the other organizations that I’ve provided this work to include Bastrop Animal Shelter, Bastrop Animal Rescue, Hardy-Hayes Refuge, and I Once Was Lost Animal Advocacy. I also cross-post animals in need of homes on Facebook as “Marlene’s Hope“.
Do you happen to volunteer anywhere? Do you have an endless love or passion for anything? Please do tell me, I would love to hear about it!
Need I say more? We all know only too well how important first impressions are and with business nowadays normally first conducted via an online search for your product or services, it’s important you represent them well with a professional head shot. Virtual personal branding is as important as a firm handshake once was in introducing yourself to the world.
Especially for Small Business Owners…
Your face represents your business! It’s so important to update your visual brand annually. So taking a photo with your phone’s camera just doesn’t cut it. In fact, it will reflect poorly on you and your business!
Your potential customers want to know who you are as opposed to just what you do. And without a head shot available on your website or social media site, no initial trust can be formed. People only want to do business with people they feel they can trust.
Job Hunting and Recruiting
Depending on your industry, many professionals are on LinkedIn and it is used to keep others posted on a current job status and for looking at peer’s statuses. I’ve heard from others that if you’re not getting messages from recruiters, then you’re LinkedIn is not serving it’s purpose. Therefore, keeping your LinkedIn up-to-date is key! You’re probably already aware that One of the first things people see on LinkedIn is your photo. If you want to show a recruiter or a future employee that you’re serious and experienced, then your photo should show that too.
The Importance of a Professional Photographer
This is when it becomes really important to choose your photographer wisely. The right photographer will prepare you in advance about what to wear and, if applicable, where to do the session for atmosphere, to achieve the desired effect in your profession. She will know how to make you feel at ease on the day if you’ve never spent any length of time in front of a camera lens. She will use her trained skills to be able to set up lighting, composition, backgrounds and props appropriate to your goal and advise you on posing. She will show you the camera’s images from the back of her camera as you do them to ensure you’re getting what you need.
Some Steps to Consider
Hire a professional photographer
Hire a professional makeup artist
Consult with your photographer or stylist to assist you in choosing the most flattering outfits for your head shot
Select at least two outfits in which to be photographed; pick a colorful jacket, tie or scarf, but not so much to detract attention from your face
Plan on spending $200 – $800 to get exactly what you need
Be sure to get both web-sized and full-resolution files for online use and print, respectively
For the full-resolution files, be sure to get a print-release from the photographer
Make sure what you choose to wear for your head shot is up-to-date.
Investing in a professional head shot can do wonders for your business!
I have gotten my fix to stimulate my creative juices while at Texas School of Photography in April 2017. I spent an entire week studying under two mentors; this year I chose Videography and studied for the week under Mitch Daniels & Billie Welliver.
Talk about experience! My goodness, between the two of them they have over 50 years experience in video production in a plethora of genres, including weddings.
Since then I’ve ordered a gimbal for the iPhone and GoPro cameras to steady the video results. I’m ready to embark on my personal experience working with this invaluable tool. I’ve also got the awesome iPhone 7 Plus on order, awaiting shipping fulfillment. I now have experienced DSLR video production using my Nikon D800 on a monopod. I selected this genre of study due to my emerging drone photography skills and will resume studying for my commercial FAA drone license – my ultimate goal to complete for 2017.
I am committed to continuous photographic learning as part of my Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) certification from the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) organization. This is to ensure you receive the most up-to-date, comprehensive photographic knowledge for your chosen photographer. As of today, I am the *only* CPP in all of Bastrop County! To bring you the best in photographic services in our quaint but growing town.