8 Favorite Things About My 2014 | Seattle Pet & Lifestyle Photography

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Wishing for a new lens…

It’s the end of yet another year! Not quite sure how that happened! The older we get, the faster the years go by, don’t you think? And like me, I expect you have spent some time reflecting on what the last year has represented to you, what’s been great, what has been crummy, and what resolutions you are making for the next year. I’ve definitely been reflecting on this last year; actually I’ve spent months doing that, with a good chunk of time during my holiday back to England spent in reflection mode.

I have almost filled an entire Moleskine book with so many notes in the last couple of months, while I’ve been doing all this refocusing, reflection and rethinking. So I’m now waiting on a couple of Kickstarter projects – Spark Notebook and Passion Planner, to fulfill my important stationary needs (I’m kind of a stationary nerd). I have been rewriting an all-important new business plan, feverishly watching photography and business webinars, and reading all sorts of things, in order to reinvent my social media side, repackage my brand, and present the best photography session offerings that fit what I believe my photography stands for (I’ll reveal what’s new soon!). I want more people to enjoy and share what it is that I do, by way of having me capture their companion animals and families with beautiful images that they will hold on to forever. Since my actual business has taken a backseat in 2014, with me focusing quite a bit on rescue work as well family issues, I’m ready for this next year to be different!

8 Favorite Things About My 2014

1. First great thing was definitely getting a new laptop, one that could keep up with me and all my photos. I can’t express how much of a difference it makes having the technology to keep up with you when you’re dealing with and processing hundreds of large image files. I would definitely express this to a photographer starting out, when determining what gear to make sure they have. That, along with some good external hard drives for digital storage. Efficient digital asset management is so important!

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Rachael Hale McKenna with Katherine Moore

2. Being a part of the studio audience of Rachael Hale McKenna’s course ‘Animal Photography’ on CreativeLive. I felt so honored to be chosen to be on set for this course (luckily CL has a studio here in Seattle!), to get the chance to see how Rachael works her photography magic on everything from a rabbit, to a pot-bellied pig, to a pair of Great Danes. Being among my pet photographer peers was an added bonus; it woke me up to the importance of networking with your peers, which can be a bit tricky when people are working in home-based businesses. Rachael’s approach is one of patience and simplicity, which I also feel are paramount to good animal photography; patience is vital for connecting with your animal ‘subject’ and keeping it simple is definitely my style: I believe animals are beautiful in their own right and don’t need bells and whistles to make them shine.

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Our beautiful new sign at SAFe

3. This year saw the official opening of a new space for the rescue that I volunteer my photography for: Seattle Area Feline Rescue became the cat rescue so many of us imagined and worked hard for it to be, and it was and is wonderful. With a light and airy space, brand new state-of-the-art enclosures for the cats, new protocols for handling the cats, and it being so much easier for me to get good images in there without flash photography and such tight space limitations, I know it has made a difference to all of us volunteering, and ultimately for the cats. We are adopting out kitties at a much higher rate and morale is so much better. Cats being at the rescue for a shorter period of time before we get them new homes is just fabulous. More and more lives will be saved in 2015!

4. We moved. In my book, this was a personal victory. My family and I had been living in an entirely unsatisfactory living situation for way too long, and although this was just a move within the same zip code right here in Seattle, barely a 5-minute drive away, it had to happen. We moved away from landlords that didn’t care, and a nightmare of a neighbor, and gained a space that felt safe and clean and hopeful. I also finally got my own workspace, where I could keep all my gear and use my laptop in peace and comfort. I can’t even describe how good all of that was for my psyche and outlook. Never underestimate the need for a healthy living space for keeping you sane and productive!

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On the CreativeLive set with Kirsten Lewis

5. I was chosen for a second time to be in the studio for a CreativeLive course and this time it was for a different kind of photography that resonates with me and am passionate about, Family Photography: Modern Storytelling with the brilliant, talented Kirsten Lewis. This changed me…really changed me. It gave me the permission to move forward in the future with the kind of family and pet photography that I’ve always wanted to do. Since studying photography and journalism in college, I’ve been fascinated with photojournalism, war photography, and candid, lifestyle photography. It’s the raw, unposed, everyday moments that need to be captured on camera to tell our stories; our stories are important and they need to be captured, recorded and shared. So many memories slip by, our children grow up, our pets never live as long as us…moments are fleeting. Recording all of those things is what I know I am here to do.

6. Click Away Conference 2014. This was my first photography conference, and first trip out of town alone since having a child (7 years!). It was put on by the fab Clickin Moms forum that I belong to, which inspires, teaches, and encourages photographers the country and world over. Aside from getting out of town to Salt Lake City, which I so needed, and attending workshops that gave me lots to absorb, what really was wonderful was connecting with so many of the talented photogs, and getting to know some of the Seattle ladies, which I’d not had the fortune to do before. Extra brilliant part of the trip: seeing the Salt Flats. Amazing.

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7. I was able to go home to England for the holidays. My previous plan had been to go back again in the summer, but I felt my son and I really needed a trip home to see family sooner than that. We had had a tough few months at school, and my boy especially needed some grandparent time. I hadn’t spent Christmas back in the UK since 1999, so it was a treat, even if it was a bit crazy as compared to the usual holiday for us here. Being with family again, and around all things English (you know, castles, chocolate, biscuits included) made it really hard to leave…it gets harder each time we go back, it seems.

8. Ultimately, this year was one of great reflection and a time to refocus for me. I’ve worked on a business plan, reevaluated priorities in my life, and helped my son through some really tricky spots. These things have all been quiet, solitary and sometimes very frustrating endeavors, and from the outside, I could look at 2014 as a bit of a wash in some respects. I didn’t do the business I really wanted to, I let too many personal photos go unprocessed again (naughty me), and I discovered my first couple of grey hairs. Some relationships were really hard. But I’m trying to look forward, work on acceptance, and to embrace opportunity and change.

So, onto 2015! A re-launch and rebrand of my business is to happen, and there are tons of photos to be taken, and many cat’s lives to be saved. And I want to tell as many stories as I can with my images, so that they may be revisited and enjoyed tomorrow. I wonder what’s on your list…. Why not resolve to get your family and pet’s images taken by a photographer this year, for starters?! Make it the year you commit to preserving your memories for years to come.

Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale of all. ” ~ Hans Christian Andersen

Happy New Year!!

Home, where you are loved, is the best place to be... Copyright K.A.Moore Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Home, where you are loved, is the best place to be…
Copyright K.A.Moore Photography. All Rights Reserved.

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Instagram Contest Win | Seattle Street Photography

Originally meant to post on August 13th, 2014….

I’m writing this late, and I’ve had an emotional evening so maybe it’s not utterly the best time to write anything anywhere BUT I’m going to blow my horn for a moment. And in a moment…

I am at the end of Day 2 of being in the studio audience at creativeLIVE for Family Photography: Modern Storytelling with Kirsten Lewis (who I will have to say more about soon) and I have to say it has been an amazing course. Exploring the art and business of documentary-style family photography and learning from the best there is, from Kirsten Lewis has really got my ‘creative cogs’ turning. For some time now I have wanted to do sessions that are more lifestyle and documentary than posed, including ‘End of Days’ sessions for companion animals, and for families with pets included. This current course totally bookends the other Creative Live course I took part in, ‘Animal Photography with Rachael Hale McKenna’, along with my extensive pet photography work, and the style of shooting is just me. I’m at a crossroads with my business and so much more so I’m excited.
But my big deal today was winning 1st PLACE in the creativeLIVE Instagram challenge contest for Day 1 and I am thrilled. Stoked. Honored.
The challenge was this: Make a portrait of a stranger. You must take the time to talk to them, connect with them. Get to know them and share their story. This is to challenge your fear and reinforce how just taking the time to connect will gain you access and trust. Don’t forget about finding good light.
Well here’s the story and photo I posted. I received such overwhelmingly great feedback on Facebook and Instagram about it that I am genuinely touched and honored. Please feel free to leave any comments and feedback here – it’s utterly inspiring to hear from people!

I feel like I hit #kirstenoncreativelive1 contest gold this evening. When I heard we had a CL Instagram challenge: great. When I saw that it was to introduce myself to a stranger to get their portrait and ask them their story: yikes. I’ve always wanted to do such a thing but honestly never had the gumption. But I couldn’t have been happier that I did. While at the farmers market with my boy, eating freshly-made quesadillas and ice cream, this street musician with a kind face and one of those boots on for a hurt foot, played his guitar, and I finally got myself up to talk to him. Within seconds of me talking, he asked if I’m English (which I am), immediately recognizing my accent and from then on he couldn’t hold himself back on sharing his story. In his own muddled English/American accent, he told me his name is Joel Fleming, “but really I’m a ‘Davis’, of Welsh descent”, and he turns 60 this year. His military father had moved their family to England when he was a teenager and he spent the early 70’s there, a time that impacted him greatly. He told me fond tales of going to the summer solstice festival at Stonehenge with his friends. About meeting numerous musicians he admired (still to this day) at concerts. About hanging out at Hyde Park in London, and calling into a radio station and getting to say hello to John Lennon. He talked with fondness about the country that I love and miss myself, and how desperately he wishes he could visit again and find a way to stay there. Joel wanted a portrait of himself holding his new Stetson hat that he had saved $230 for, something he was obviously proud of. He showed me where in his jacket he’d hide his money so it wouldn’t fall out and also explained to my inquiring son about why he had the protective boot on: he’d had the tip of his big toe removed because of diabetes. He bared so much of himself to me with his stories, his openness, and probably spoke for half an hour or so. I don’t know if he’s homeless and I’m not sure that it matters, but I feel like many pass people like Joel by and never give a second thought to that person. He just wanted to share and for that I’m grateful.

I hope you enjoyed this post, the workshop (if you saw it) and I am excited to see where my new inspiration leads me. I’ll be back on here soon!

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My Favorite Photography Gear

If there’s something that makes a photographer tick (and drool), it’s looking at photography gear and gadgets, most of the time while online. Who doesn’t go ‘window-shopping’ online for their favorite hobby, obsession or lifelong pursuit? If there’s anything that the web has done, it has made clicking and shopping so easy, it’s scary. But it has to be said, that this ease has made it so that you can potentially get your hands on something that you actually need the very next day, if you wish…and so revolutionize your photographing power that much sooner!
Me and my fellow Clickin Moms photograp(her)s somehow always manage to mention photography gear and tools at every photowalk or meetup, so I love hearing about others’ fun purchases too. I don’t have much extra money, and nor am I a spendthrift, so my shopping usually goes along with a lot of deliberating and comparing, and this usually means I’m a happy customer. There is now a huge market for women photographers out there, so I have featured a number of items here that reflect that.

Thanks to Pinterest (and sites like Amazon and Etsy), many of us probably spend entirely too much time gawking at things we can’t afford or don’t need, but here are a few choice photog purchases I have made, that I love, love, love. This one is for the lady photographers!
*Note: I have not been asked or paid to write about these products by the business owners, so they really are things I love enough to write about…

1) Custom camera strapSomething Strappy, $28

Camera Strap, Something Strappy

Camera Strap, Something Strappy

Now maybe I should join the Black Rapid gang and get one of their straps, but I like to be more unique than that, getting something that says me a lot better. The strap on my main camera, my Nikon D7000, is a custom strap by Something Strappy on Etsy. I spent hours ogling straps, deciding a camera strap cover wasn’t for me; although I like the idea of changing designs more easily, they never stay in one spot and bunch up, making my strap not looking as awesome as it could. My custom strap does have different prints on the two sides, as well as my photography business name embroidered on it (marketing tool!), so I at least fulfilled two design choices with it. Kimberly K was easy to chat online with to get the strap as I would like it, and I can tell great care was taken in making it just as I wanted.
It can be attached to the camera just as any strap would, but I use a Strap Buddy on the base of my camera, so that it can hang more easily on my side (take that, Black Rapid) and so far, it has been the perfect combo. The Strap Buddy was bought on Photojojo‘s site; quite possibly having the coolest collection of fabulous photography gadgets anywhere on the web. But naturally, many many things on there that I don’t actually need, alas.

*Baby Crown prop: JBPLove, also on Etsy

2) Lens cap keeper strapEverlee Designs, $5 (CAD)

Owl Lens Cap Keeper, Everlee Designs

Owl Lens Cap Keeper, Everlee Designs

This little handy dandy gadget is also the cutest little gadget, thanks to Megan Lee, based up in Ottawa, Canada. Also bought on Etsy. And I kind of fib here by putting this in the singular, because I have kept on going back to Everlee Designs to buy these for all my lenses and have just bought myself a backup. Having your lens cap staying attached to your camera instead of setting it down somewhere or putting it in your pocket (for it to fall out) is more than handy. That’s one less thing to worry about when you’re shooting a session. I suppose this is unabashedly one for the girls, because I have a couple of owls, a ladybug/bird, a flower and I have a pink mushroom coming. Beyond cute, and also serves to help capture the attention of many a photographed cat with the dangling of my camera cap.
Megan also includes with my purchase, the cutest notes to me and some blank tags that I use on client packaging.

*On the above photo of my camera with the strap and crown, you can see another of the owl lens cap keepers!

3) Rose Bronze camera bagJo Totes, $89, and Urban Photo sling bag – Lowepro, $76

Rose Bronze camera bag, Jo Totes

Rose Bronze camera bag, Jo Totes

Now these are two things, yes, but one can’t go anywhere without a bag to carry everything in, and these two serve different purposes. I’m actually cheating here, because these were both bought as gifts for me (although I picked them out).

My Rose is the larger bag as well as the prettier one, and holds a good load of gear safely: camera body with lens attached, 2 lenses, external flash and some other gubbins like an extra battery, filters, cell phone, etc. Sometimes it feels a bit too bulky and pretty to take along to a shoot, so I often use my Urban Sling instead (photos below). It’s boring black, but sometimes inconspicuous is good. It’s also very easy to pull round to my front to change out lenses and so forth, is very comfy and light, and I stuff a fair amount in: camera plus lens or two (depending on lens size) and my flash-gun.

I have many other bits and bobs that I use and love, aside from my actual kit, but these are things that I get asked about when people see them, so I thought I’d share. I definitely support the little businesses I find on Etsy for buying unique custom items and there’s a plethora of cool photography products out there that aren’t just black and grey and advertising your camera brand. If you buy through Etsy, tell them I sent you, and get customizing!

Photos on the blog soon of my recent wedding photography session. Excited to get them done! Catch up with me on Facebook too: K.A.Moore Photography on Facebook

xo ~ K

PS. Follow me on Pinterest here: kamoorephoto

Maid in England | Reflections

I’ve been back in my home country of England for ten days now, and we have hit our half way mark already. We make it over from Seattle only about once every two years and then 2-3 weeks go by in a flash. Half way means that my man has just gone back to Seattle (so he can get back to work), and it means that the rest of my time will evaporate way too fast…
I’ve been living in the States for just about 19 years now, from exchange student, to college student, to movie-maker, and now mama and photog. That’s a long time, a long history. But I’m always homesick for England, as much as I love my adopted city of Seattle. So when I come back here, I start wondering what my life would’ve been like had I stayed, how it could be if we moved back, and I appreciate the little things so much more.
I love how so much stays the same, how the countryside is still pristine, how London still speeds ahead in the midst of all that culture and with its historical landmarks all intact, how I can feel at home as soon as I land.
They say you don’t appreciate something (somewhere?) until it’s gone; I suppose my absence from the UK has made my love for it grow. I can hear now the echoes of those who say ‘well, why don’t you just move back then?’. That’s a big move and it’s not easy. There’s a lot to consider when you make a huge move, and this time I have a family to consider, animals who would have to sit in quarantine, belongings to ship, new immigration dealios to contend with…the list is long.
I don’t travel much anymore, alas, and while these may be akin to someone’s vacation/holiday photos, they hold more sentimentality for me. They aren’t just travel photos or a documentation of ‘been there, done that’; they are pieces of me, things that I hold in my heart.
When you adopt a new country as your home, you still hold pieces of other places you have lived close to you. Born in England, but raised chiefly in Hong Kong, those countries are a part of me. And I’ve been in the Pacific Northwest for close to 20 years now, longer than anywhere, so then I wonder how I might feel should we move back across the pond at some point.
This is the first trip back here to the UK where I have been struggling with emotions that are saying I wish I could stay, if only it weren’t for some friends back in the States, my beloved animals and a slice of the amazing Seattle. I see the excitement in my 5 year old of being surrounded by family here (family on both sides are in the South East of the States and in England, so all of them are far).
I had far less fear when I made the move over here when I was 20…I have different fears for myself and my child today. I’m impressed by those who can take the leap of a big move; my parents did that with us when we moved from England to Hong Kong, when I was just 4, and my brother was 2. My life would be very different today if my parents hadn’t been so bold, and I feel so fortunate that they did what they did.
Great changes happen when you make bold decisions and take risks (calculated or otherwise!).
What I must do at the least when I return to Seattle, is have us at least move house, amongst other things. Being away gives me perspective on the things that are to be put on my
‘action’ list, so while a big move back here may not happen just yet, I do now at least have renewed energy for quite a few things…and I plan to go home with a fair amount of English chocolate and sweeties to tide me over…until next time.
Some iPhone moments from me to you…
Cheers from England! Xo ~ K

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Photo Session Blog: Spidey in Seattle

I thought I’d post a wee kiddie session that was fun and colorful that I did just recently…

To raise some funds for my Walk MS efforts (the walk is in a week!!), I have been offering mini sessions. I think this was our first truly warm and sunny Spring Day here in Seattle; if you’re from here, you know that means while we have clear skies and sun, it could well be  just in the 60’s, and suddenly everyone and their grandmother is out in shorts and T-shirts, and busting out the SPF.

For some 4 year-old’s pics, we went over to Queen Anne to Bhy Kracke Park (yes, really), where there’s a small playground with a path that leads up to another area where you have insane views of Seattle – from Lake Union to downtown to the Space Needle and West of that. That’s quite the panorama. Our Spiderman did some wall-balancing with the skyline behind him, and then we went to Wallingford for some wicked bunny mural shots (appropriately it was Easter Sunday) by Archie McPhee. It’s just about the coolest store ever, where you can find everything from unicorn masks to yodeling pickles and toupee tattoos. Sadly the holiday meant it was closed but I at least didn’t have to drag my son in there (he’s always worried that the freaky Halloween decorations will still be everywhere) or have to drag him out (because there are way too many sweets and plastic toys to tempt him with).

I’m still fundraising for the walk, so if you do want to stop by my fundraising page and sponsor my TENTH year of doing it, please do!! Raising money for the National MS Society is a super important cause for me, and every dollar helps; my story and why I keep on doing the walk is all on my page. I truly appreciate the support.

Must go and edit baby photos; hoping to do cat photos next week! Busy and tired but must keep on…

xo ~ K

“A bee is never as busy as it seems; it’s just that it can’t buzz any slower.” ~ Kin Hubbard

Seattle 'Queen Anne" photo