Furchildren! For many people they are like children. Their pet’s might have a full wardrobe of clothes, take over the entire bed at night, or eat a special home cooked recipe to fit their diet. Fur lovers, I’m with you on this one! I’m a huge dog lover myself. My first dog was a black lab I named April (like April O’Neil from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!). She was a calm sweet girl.
Currently, I have a crazy border collie named Trinity and a scrappy papillion named Dahlia. As my husband always says, “Dogs are good people.” We understand that our pets can be just as much a part of our families as any human and we love documenting this bond. I often get asked if I will photograph a family with pets and you know what I say? Bring on the slobbery kisses! This is not to exclude cats because I have photographed families with cats, and our feline friends are always welcome
I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks for getting the most out of
your session with your pets!
Take Care of Business
Just like when we go to the vet, make sure your four legged friend is fed and has gone to the bathroom before the shoot. Less messes to clean up and a happier puppy make for photography gold! [For outdoor shoots, consider bringing a water dish and bring baggies to make sure we leave only paw prints!]
Toys Aren’t Just For Kids
Make sure to bring your four legged friend’s favorite toy. It can add an extra layer of adorable to your pictures and will make them feel more at ease.
Walk It Off
If your dog is anything like our border collie, it may be a good idea to take a few laps around the parking lot of the Masonic Temple to burn off a little bit of energy so your puppy is ready to take direction and get those pictures that you will treasure forever!
Bring Their Favorite Treat to Make It Sweet
Treats are a great motivator for dogs. It’s important that we let our fur-babies know they did a good job. Also, treats are a great way to get your puppy looking at the camera.
Some dogs react negatively to reflections, shadows or flashing lights. If your dog is prone to this kind of reaction, let us know and we will adjust our setup and camera settings so we get those perfect pictures while reducing your dog’s (and your) stress
BONUS!!! A Trip to
Jessie’s Pet Spa
A list of tips on how to prep your dog for a photo session would not be complete without a mention of my favorite groomer and grooming team at Jessie’s Pet Spa. Jessie’s Pet Spa has been grooming my dogs for 9 years and let me tell you something… Dahlia my papillon knows when she goes to Jessie’s because she leaves with extra pep in her step. Often client’s ask about grooming their pet before the session.
Here are some tips from Jessie at Jessie’s Pet Spa
The best time to get your dog groomed pre-photoshoot is within 24-48 hour but it really depends on the breed. Longer hair dogs she would recommend 24 hours before or same day grooming.
If you decide you want to get your dog in a fashion color… Like Becky she also recommends the same time frame, 24-48 hours. Only thing is with fresh color you need to make sure your fur child stays out of the rain or you will run the color.
With color Jessie highly recommends taking your dog on regularly scheduled grooming visits before you go in for color so her and her staff would know if the dog could handle the color process. They don’t want to mess up a permanent color before a photo shoot!
Visit Jessie’s Pet Spa on Facebook for more info or call (315) 489-1032 to book an appointment
Thanks for reading our handy tips on getting the most out of
your photo session with your furbabies!
After last weeks blog post I can’t stop singing “Return of the Mack.” I guess it’s better then having baby shark stuck in my head!
In our last post, we talked about how we’re re-dedicating and re-establishing our business for the New Year. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share with you my Top 5 reasons I love (and might be obsessed) with being a photographer.
1. Watching Families Grow
A cool thing about being a family photographer is having client call you for their daughters 3rd birthday when you have photographed the same family photos since the baby was in mom’s belly. That happened this week!
Last year, I did elizabeths 2nd birthday photo session two weeks before I had my son. I was determine to get her shoot in before giving birth. My studio is not far from the hospital so I wasn’t worried!
Family has always been important to me but ever since marrying my husband and giving birth to my son, that importance has become more apparent in a much deeper way. The sense of meaning and purpose that family provides to me drives me to push harder, dream bigger and stay focused because I am no longer just looking out for myself. I am now part of a team; a special unit that as a whole is far stronger than the sum of its members.
Now that my husband has joined me in the business, I feel stronger and more prepared to tackle any challenges that lie ahead. This deep and abiding love for my own family leads me to celebrate families wherever I find them.
2. Making Memories that will Last a Lifetime.. Hello Legacy Photos!
My superpower is providing clients with products that capture them at this moment in time while giving them a fun and memorable experience. I want client’s to look back at the photos and remember when their purple haired photographer was singing to the kids to get them to laugh!
You might be thinking, what the heck is a Legacy Photo?? I just made it up!! haha.. That’s the fun thing about owning a business. But in all reality, it does mean something awesome.
A Legacy Photo is something you will have in your family for a lifetime. It’s a photo of your kids laughing, a photo of your mom, a photo of your son who just became a senior, it’s a photo of the ones you love!
A Legacy Photo is a photo of 4 generations of family! When we miss our loved ones we don’t hug a hard drive or a cd, we pick up a photo and remember that day, that smile.
3. Share my Betsey Johnson Like Style
I like my photos like my closet, colorful, vibrant and unique! I love creating images that sparkle and pop because I want to capture more than just your picture. I want to capture you looking and feeling your best!
the most important color in my artist’s palette is joy! As a graduate from FIT, I always have my eye on fashion and color in my work. I enjoy working with clients to help them find the right wardrobe for their session or providing them with a list of great local businesses to shop! For some of my maternity momma’s, I create the look of a flowy dress with fabric from my studio collections. When it come’s to sessions, I get crafty!
4. Hugs! Because they’re awesome!
Some of the most treasured things I take away from this business are the relationships that I have built with my clients! since I started in 2010, I have watched families, individuals and businesses continue to grow through the years in all sorts of ways.
hugs were a big part of this session. I told the boys my light was magic before I hit the trigger. I always like to warn kiddos about the light. These little ones yelled in excitement every time I hit the flash, and then they would both run to hug me. Yup! Two hugs every time I took a photo, that’s a great deal! The last time I took the boys photos, they were itty bitty and I could fit them both in a wicker basket.
Since I am a transplant to this area, these connections and clients have become a part of my extended North Country family and as I said before, family is everything to me.
5. Community Love & Connections
You know that saying, “it takes a Village to raise a kid,” I feel that way about business. Throughout the years, I have had the honor to work with some incredible local businesses from Rhonda’s Footworks, Anna’s Chop Shop Hair Studio, XL Design and Marketing, and one of my favs, Strut Boutique. The first time I did a Strut Boutique photo session I had Jason from Vidoeworx create a video of my process from start to print!
The last session I did with Strut Boutique we did a maternity session. I modeled my bump for the session and my husband was photographer for the day.
Whether it is a new skill in my craft, a new returning client or a new spiritual insight, I constantly look for ways to learn and expand my horizons. Every year I feel as if I have come a little bit closer to being the businesswoman, wife and mother I know I can be. I sincerely hope that you and your family will be a part of this journey, who knows what we can learn from each other!
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It’s a new year and at Sarissa Melissa Photography and that means new goals, new challenges and a whole new vibe. I know your thinking… umm Melissa, New Years was 25 Days ago.
Tis true but our reason for the delay is that we have been hard at work reorganizing our business to better serve you. We have come to the realization that the main drive behind this business is family. Providing for our family and providing our clients and their families with beautiful memories and art.
It’s kind of why we chose this date for the relaunch of the blog. Today, our baby dude officially turns 8 months! I now truly believe what my friends with kiddos mean when they say it goes fast. I feel like it was just yesterday he was a 6 pound noodle with a major serious face.
In the reorganizing of the business, we decided we needed to bring back the blog. (We being me and my creative editor, my hubby Ken.)
So why did we choose to bring back the blog?
Share Stories from sessions
Give a better “picture” into what’s goes on behind the scenes
This year, we have made it our goal and purpose to truly be YOUR family photographer and we plan on sharing stories from bump to belly, what goes on behind the scenes of a cake smash, How to plan for a family session, guides on what to wear for each season, and what’s new in our photo land from products to new services!
Sarissa Melissa is ready to help you celebrate all of life’s great milestone events from Maternity, Newborns, Cake Smash Sessions, Family Sessions, Seniors Sessions or
Imagination sessions… (More info on that coming soon!)
Yes, we still provide other photo services but we want to dedicate this year to celebrating Families. We have expanded our product and service line to better serve your needs. In addition to our standard prints, we also offer prints on artboard, canvas, wood, metal, and custom designed wood easels by the Tousley Crew.
We invite you this year to join us in celebration. It doesn’t matter how big your family is, whether you were born into it or if you found it, each family is unique and special.
Celebrate what makes your family unique with us and we will not only provide you with pictures but also create beautiful, elegant art for you that will capture how special your family truly is.
Sarissa Melissa Photography, YOUR family photographer.
xoxo Sarissa Melissa Photography & Fam
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My hubs has helped take bump photos, build backdrops in the studio, and assisted me with shoots over the past few months. He has even helped ease my ever growing feet. I knew I had to do a bump cover in celebration of one of his all time favorite bands, The Ramones. I had an instant idea when I saw this Ramones cover... and it went like this...
Me: Honey.. I have an idea
Hubs: You always have ideas!
So very true!
The idea was to include his parents to have the full band, "The Tousley's"! When I told his mom about the idea she was very excited. Dad had the same look as Ken... O Mel and her ideas!
Let me just take a moment to give a shout out to my in-laws. I'm truly blessed to have them in my life. My mother-in-law helped me create my registries and figure out all the baby things I would need. The last time I really helped care for a baby was my sister and that was more then a few years ago. There are so many new baby items like the snotsucker... ewww I did not register for that because I used to use the old fashion bulb sucker on my sister. I did here that the snotsucker is hygienic, cleanable, and you see what's coming out so you know what to tell the doctor. You learn new things every day!
I also fall in love with the idea of wearing the baby. In the past few months, I have stopped about 6 mom's while shopping to talk to them about their wraps. I must have looked desperate for advice because the mom's didn't hesitate to give me their input!
Meet The Tousley Family
TOUSLEY FAMILY- I took these photos in 2015 with a tripod and remote. The black and white is an all time favorite. When we got to this photo, my remote decided to kick the bucket, so I set up the camera on a timer. Dad Tousley placed a ladder next to the steps so I could easily roll into the photo with everyone. We where pretending to drink moonshine and spit it out. Well, mom and dad Tousley ended up spitting the pretend moonshine (water) all over Matt and Lauren's heads, causing us all to bust out in laughter creating one of the most perfect candid photos I have ever taken in my photo career.
INSPIRATION--> "ROCKET TO RUSSIA" THE RAMONES
Making The Ramones proud with this photo recreation I took in Mannsville New York with help from my trusty Tripod. The shirt I'm wearing in this photo happen's to be my father-in-law's football jersey. It's about 30 years old and has the Tousley name on the back. I just fit my 37 week belly!
INSPIRATION--> "ABBEY ROAD" THE BEATLES
The Grand Finale Photo had to be epic so of course we had to finish with The Beatles. My awesome sister-in-law is in town awaiting the arrival of Hank with us. She helped me capture this photo which looks simple but required some work. From planning the wardrobe, to mastering the walk, while trying to not get run over by cars. My hubs was a trooper rocking no shoes like Paul. Surprisingly, I did not have a white suit in my wardrobe. I did have a dress that was white on the inside. So I wore the dress inside out and made it work. Best part of the shoot... a lady started honking the horn yelling.. ABBEY ROAD! I LOVE IT! .... That was possibly the best way to finish this project.
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read the blog post, give me photo ideas, and those that participated and help me capture the photo creations throughout this project. It started as a fun idea and ended as a project I will be printing in a book to have a copy of "The Bump Cover's" Project Greatest Hits. I plan on taking this idea into Hank's Monthly Photos which will be different tracks each month.. followed by his Greatest Hits photo session for his first birthday. But before all that can be planned, we're sitting here patiently awaiting his arrival!
When I found out I was pregnant, I started going through my closet packing all the things I knew would not work for my growing belly, and hanging up all the things that would work. I was pleasantly surprised that 90% of the cute things I could wear were dresses and tops I got at my favorite local shop, Strut Boutique. Strut Boutique is owned by the fabulous Ashley Scanlin-Pignone. She's a mom, business owner, and one of my dearest friends. I told Ashley about how excited I was about being able to wear my Strut clothes during the pregnancy, and it gave me an idea... a maternity fashion shoot to share how cute, comfy, and stylish you can be rocking a baby bump, or like the title of this post " Strutting what your baby gave you!"
Before we dive into the photos from the shoot, I wanted to take a minute to share a little bit about Ashley and her mom advice!
What inspired you to open Strut Boutique?
Ashley: A passion for fashion is what inspired me to open STRUT. As a kid I'd go to Michael's and it started with me making clothes for my Barbie dolls then I took fashion/merchandizing in school and loved designing my own clothes. I've always liked wearing outfits out of the norm or when I did buy things I altered them to look different.Since I was a teenager it's been my dream to open my own boutique! Dreams do come true!
What has life been like being a Boss mom ?
Ashley: Being a Boss momma is hard work but very rewarding! I definitely have had to learn to balance every day Life better. I am thankful I get to bring my child to work with me everyday and I think I have it down to a science now. Some days are hectic, answering phone calls and emails with a 1 year old crawling all over you or having a temper tantrum is my norm now.. I can multitask like no other.. He may be climbing up my leg while I am cashing out a customer or trying to run into the dressing room ,But most times he is content being our entertainment and greets ever lady with a smile! I'd have it no other way.I work hard so I can give my child the best life I can!
What styles do you recommend for expecting mom’s?
Ashley: I recommend wearing whatever you feel comfortable in .You don't necessarily need to buy maternity clothing.I didn't buy one piece.Most the time a pair of leggings and a oversized shirt is the answer for a casual look.Most of my dresses became tops, add a belt to dress it up. Soft knit fabrics and breathable material are a must..those hot flashes get real serious. Maxi dresses or a fitted dress with a pattern can be super cute to accent that cute baby bump..Show it off!! Don't be afraid to take fashion risks, have fun with it!!
Can you give me your favorite mom styling tips?
Ashley: I can honestly say my style has changed a little bit as a mom..No more long dangling earrings, no more big statement necklaces, no more heels, not as much time spent on my hair and makeup. I keep it classy by adding a cute jacket, blazer or cardigan with jeans, leather pants or a dress!Lots of graphic tees and dark colors are my go to. Comfy shoes are a must.I keep it simple, but still stylish. Don't get it twisted though..when it's a mommy's night out I go all out!
"Strut What Your Baby Gave You" Photo Shoot
I set up the lighting and camera and had help from my hubby & Ashley to take these photos
Shop Strut Boutique!
Located at 308 State St. Watertown, NY 13601
Follow Strut Boutique on Facebook
Shop Strut Boutique Online
Hair & Makeup in Ashley's Photos by Angela at Elements Day Spa & Salon
Baby kicks woke me up this morning. Today is my first Mother's Day! My hubs and I have family plans this evening, but I have the entire half of the day to myself. I decided, I'm going to spend the day reflecting on the pregnancy journey with my feet up. They look rather fluffy these days.
Here goes my pregnancy journey....
September 19th, 2017
It was a Tuesday. I was returning to work from my trip to Tennessee to be there for the birth of my nephew followed by a newborn session in his nursery. My best friend Heidi knew I was late and she kept telling me to take a test. I picked up one at Rite Aid. I was already heading there for gummies and mascara. I never mentioned to Ken that I was taking a test, I thought I was late because of the busy weekend. And then I took the test... boom positive! And so, our adventure began...
That face and early signs of the bump!
Christmas Announcement.. IT'S A BOY!
These are a few of my FAVORITE THINGS!!!
Pregnancy Pillow & an overnight stay to wait out a snow storm, dino shoes, & baby books!
Zumba workouts made this momma feel her best!
My father-in-law found this awesome shirt!
I wore it when I performed at the Local Lip Sync Battle... Bruno Mars, "Uptown Funk"
Fun with friends from the Mayors Charity Ball to
Working at Tunes 92.5 radio station!
The Greater Watertown North Country Chamber of Commerce presented Intrepid Broadcasting, Inc. Tunes 92.5/104.5 with the 2017 "Business of the Year award. After 8 years working at the radio station, I continue to love the work we do for the community and appreciate the recognition from our colleges.
The bump... I can't stop taking photos of the bump!
Trinity & Dahlia love to cuddle the bump.
One Epic Rock Star Baby Shower!
An April ice storm didn't stop the event!
The Beatles greeted all attendees with VIP Passes & sheets for them to draw a letter for Hank's Alphepbet book
This journey has been incredible. From feeling his first kicks to watching my hubby talk to my belly, I have loved the time I have spent creating new life. I love sharing the excitement with friends, family, and clients.
For years, I have taken photos of expecting mom's from bump, to baby, to first birthday's. Seeing children grow up through each session has been one of the main reasons I love being a family photographer. I love being a part of a families journeys and helping them document their children's growth. I know that when the kids have grown and started families of their own, they will look back at photos. Those photos will become family heirlooms, treasures to look back on, photos that will be here beyond my years.
Thank you to all the families that have let me into your life and let me capture special moments for you. It has truly been an honor. I look forward to many more sessions, capturing new life and laughter, and sharing my story and photos as my little one grows.
Thank you to all the mom's who have giving me the honor of photographing you and your families.
You have all been a true inspiration!
Happy Mother's Day!
Thank you to my friend Ashley for helping me capture these lovely photos in celebration of my baby boy Henry (aka Hank)
Baby Henry is due May 20th. This week, I will be celebrating by updating the blog with new Bump Cover Photos leading up to the grand finally photo!
Also, I will have a special post going up about being pregnant and fashionable with help from Strut Boutique!
Mom's, I would love to hear about your first Mother's Day! Leave a comment below with your story!
These two weeks where possibly the longest, toughest weeks of the pregnancy. I started to really feel that I was pregnant. I mean, I knew it all this time, but between my work schedule at the radio station, photo sessions, and online meetings, I was running myself like a mad woman. Week 37 I really realized.... I need to make detailed to-do lists and get the important things done first and foremost. I worked in my cloffice (closet-office) to get things done for business while trying to get all the things ready for Hank.
Prepping my work for maternity leave has been an adventure the past few months. I have started booking August and September sessions, leaving openings for July. Which was a good thing, because by the end of week 37, I started getting requests for July session. This is going to be one busy momma!
Am I crazy? Maybe? I have been trying to relax but I secretly love doing all the things!
INSPIRATION--> "AMERICAN RECORDINGS"
I wanted to have a photo with my furbabies so when I saw this cover I nearly jumped out my chair. THAT ONE! Yes THAT PHOTO... It's happening! This photo was taken in my back yard. I had to keep the girls on the leashes, as they love to run off. Notice Trinity's border collie, distracted face! On the other hand, we have Dahlia posing for photos. Pretty sure we mentioned food, and that's the only reason why she's posed so nicely!
INSPIRATION--> "UNAPOLOGETIC" RIHANNA
Hubs shot this photo of me in our living room. I wore a strapless bra I colored in. I didn't want an exposed boob on the blog so I extended the shade. No tattoo on the belly because I didn't want to hide that bump. Hank's Auntie Sandy was the inspiration for this photo as she is a huge Rihanna fan. Auntie Sandy is such a fan she's got the Rihanna highlighter. You know, "Trophy Wife", the one all the kids are raving about. It's gold, hence the title of this blog! Because of her love for Rihanna, I gave her the task of coming up for the words that I would wear in the photo.
Week 32 & 33 have been a bit nuts! I went from high energy to bye energy. On top of it, I had a bunch of sessions and meetings. Week 33 was VERY exciting! My super amazing mother-in-law helped me get the nursery up in business. I was feeling like a bad mom. I had a corner in my office of Hank's goodies and no nursery, meanwhile, I'm reading all this stuff online and seeing all these mom's with pimped out nurseries.
Well, this weekend, we did it all! Amazing Mother-in-law shampooed the rugs and moved furniture and my collection of stuff that was in the office. O boy, does this girl have stuff! My father-in-law came over during the process and he put some hooks on a shelf he made Hank, got a rod up and BOOM.. instant closet. My father-in-law is the real life Macgyver! It's great! But I make him twitch whenever I mention my ideas I saw on Pinterest. I'm pretty sure I have mentioned this before.. but I have mom brain so that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it... like when I got pulled over this week and said I'm pregnant and I need to go home pee and rest and got out of a ticket!
INSPIRATION--> "JOANNE" LADY GAGA
Week 32 I have always LOVED lady Gaga.. so it was a given that I would include her in the blog. Joanne is her latest album and boy oh boy... my girl does not disappoint. This one might be my favorite album of hers to date. It's raw, it has grit, the songs have great layers, and it shows off her voice and talents.
INSPIRATION--> "THE FAME MONSTER" LADY GAGA
Week 33 Hands down, my favorite album to blast when I'm getting ready for a girls night out. It's going to be a while till I have one of those again. I might just have to jam this on a family night in and subject my hubs and Hank to some Gaga!
Lastly, I want to thank everyone who has been following the blog and joining me on this photo and life journey. I took on this project thinking it would be something fun to do but it has become so much more. I have been able to try new photo tricks and techniques. Some of the images I share are out of the box for me, like The Baby Monster. I look kind of scary but it's hilarious. The moral of the story... don't be afraid to experiment with your craft, take chances, and be weird!
Speaking of being weird, check out the Sunshine Belly Photos from the Illumination party at Focus. This costume was inspired by Sunshine Care Bear!