A.M. La Hanko Photography: Blog http://amlahanko.com/blog en-us (C) A.M. La Hanko Photography info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Sat, 16 Sep 2017 01:06:00 GMT Sat, 16 Sep 2017 01:06:00 GMT http://amlahanko.com/img/s/v-5/u511581500-o726761092-50.jpg A.M. La Hanko Photography: Blog http://amlahanko.com/blog 80 120 Fall has arrived and so has a special offer http://amlahanko.com/blog/2017/9/fall-has-arrived-and-so-has-a-special-offer Autumn is here. What happened to summer? I feel like I blinked and suddenly all of the leaves had changed. Although, fall is my favorite season. The weather is cooler, nature is colorful and beautiful, the overcast skies make outdoor portraits spectacular. What's not to love?

How about a special treat? Your choice of outdoor portrait session (personal pet or headshots) for $75. Yes, you read that correctly. $75

Included in this limited time offer is (1) 8x10 print shipped directly to your door and a complimentary digital file for use on social media.

This offer will be available through October 15th. 

Click here to reserve your session today as space is limited













info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) autumn blog canon catskills complimentary digital photography dogs fall free headshots hudson valley new york new york photographer pet photography pet portraits pets photography portraits sullivan county http://amlahanko.com/blog/2017/9/fall-has-arrived-and-so-has-a-special-offer Sat, 16 Sep 2017 00:57:30 GMT
Memory cards and USB drives http://amlahanko.com/blog/2017/9/equipment-for-the-job I have been asked by newcomers to the photography world what brands of memory cards I use. Over the years as a photographer I have always been loyal to SanDisk memory cards and USB drives to ensure I will have no worries when it comes to uploading, downloading, and transferring files. SanDisk has been around for almost 30 years and they have never let me down. I have tried other brands but have always encountered issues with corrupt data or unresponsive cards. Why fix what isn't broken? 




info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) blog camera canon catskills digital photography hudson valley new york photographer photographer photography sandisk studio sullivan county http://amlahanko.com/blog/2017/9/equipment-for-the-job Sun, 10 Sep 2017 01:54:42 GMT
Tell me what you want to see! http://amlahanko.com/blog/2017/6/tell-me-what-you-want-to-see Something short and sweet today. Yes, I know for the first time in months! I apologize. Life has been a bit of a whirlwind. Had a few big contracts to complete. Oh, and I got engaged to a wonderful man, that's news huh? As cliche as it sounds, he truly is the man of my dreams. My knight in shining armor, as they say.

Anywho, lately, I have been doing a bit of thinking. How can I involve my clients, website visitors, friends, and colleagues in the day to day activities and adventures of A.M. La Hanko Photography. It then came to me, have you guys suggest the photo project!

For the month of July I will be taking requests for photo projects. Tell me what you want to see. What kinds of images would adorn your walls? Portraits, fine art, the bizarre, landscapes, modern. Use your imaginations (tastefully please, let's keep it PG)!

The possibilities are endless. Just leave a comment with your suggestions. I leave it to you! copyright A.M. LaHanko PhotographyMay not be copied, screenshot, saved, or used without permission.









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“You don't take a photograph, you make it” - Ansel Adams

info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Catskills Hudson Valley Liberty blog canon creativity digital photography dogs donations imagination new new york photographer pet photography pet portraits photos studio sullivan county york http://amlahanko.com/blog/2017/6/tell-me-what-you-want-to-see Fri, 09 Jun 2017 01:31:06 GMT
Tools of the trade http://amlahanko.com/blog/2017/3/toolsofthetrade I am often asked what kind of hardware I use for my sessions. Well, I have one main camera body that I use; my Canon 7D Mark II (Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)) and one go-to lens; my Canon 18-135mm (Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras). 

Of course I have other lenses for different occasions. But the camera body and lens mentioned above are my primary pieces for in studio work.

As far as lighting goes, I prefer to shoot with studio lighting as opposed to natural light as it is more easily manipulated. I can get the look I desire just by adjusting a few settings on my camera and my lights. (Always in Manual mode on the camera). 

I also use seamless backdrops in the studio of either white or black depending on the coat color of the animal I am shooting. Savage is the brand I use for my backdrops. (Savage Seamless Background Paper, 53" wide x 12 yards, Super White, 1) . The seamless does not become the final backdrop in the shot of course. It simply makes masking and editing a digital backdrop much simpler in Photoshop. 



info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Amazon Catskills camera equipment canon camera canon lens digital photography dogs hudson valley photographer new york photographer pet photography pet portraits pets photo manipulation photography seamless backdrop sullivan county pet photography sullivan county photographer http://amlahanko.com/blog/2017/3/toolsofthetrade Sun, 19 Mar 2017 19:11:31 GMT
Flea and Tick Prevention in Winter http://amlahanko.com/blog/2017/3/flea-and-tick-prevention-in-winter Yesterday it was bitterly cold. Too cold, you would think, for fleas and ticks to be out and about. Wrong. After Tucker came inside from his afternoon frolic I pulled a tick off of him. It hadn't been imbedded very long as it wasn't engorged but thankfully it had already died. 

People often believe that flea and tick preventatives aren't needed during the winter months. This is a myth. Fleas, and we all know it only takes one to begin an infestation, can survive in temps as low as 33 degrees for as long as 5 days. Ticks, similarly, are active in temps as low as 32 degrees. Shocker right? On nicer winter days, we often take our pets out to enjoy the burst of warm weather. So why risk exposing them to active fleas and ticks during this period? 

Just like you would protect your child in every way possible from germs, it is the same with pets.

Social settings are also a breeding ground. Dog parks, kennels, grooming facilities, etc. These places, like our human doctors' offices, go to extreme lengths to protect their clients from exposure. It only takes one animal carrying fleas, or ticks for that matter (or one child carrying an illness), to infect the rest.

You wouldn't unnecessarily deny your child the appropriate vaccinations and illness preventions to help them live long happy lives would you? It is the same for your pet. 

Yes, preventatives can be expensive. But by researching, speaking to your vet, and selecting the right brand and type best for you and your pet, you will help ensure their long, enjoyable, illness free life.

Some well known brands include: Frontline (liquid), Advantix (liquid), Seresto (collar), and Bravecto (chewables).

Some natural remedies include essential oils such as: lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, and cedar. But these must be diluted in a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil before application to avoid skin irritation. 

Rubbed on your pets coat daily or given as a supplement, coconut oil is also a great flea repellant.

Like with all medications, for pets and humans alike, they all come with their own set of risks and warnings. I cannot stress enough the importance of discussing all options available to you with your veterinarian. 


info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) advantix bravecto fleas frontline new york photographer pet health pet photography pet portraits prevention seresto ticks winter http://amlahanko.com/blog/2017/3/flea-and-tick-prevention-in-winter Sun, 05 Mar 2017 14:27:53 GMT
Importance of pet oral hygiene http://amlahanko.com/blog/2017/2/importance-of-pet-oral-hygiene Today, I want to discuss the importance of oral hygiene for our dogs and cats. You brush and floss your teeth every day and visit the dentist twice a year, right? Well, your pet's teeth are just as important as your own. Like humans, pets can suffer from periodontal disease if their teeth and gums are left uncared for. Let me give you a quick little back story as to why I want to discuss this today.

Recently, my baby had to go to the vet for tumor removals (non-cancerous) and a teeth cleaning. Unbeknown to me, he had to have several teeth removed including a broken one that was becoming infected and causing his horrible bad breath. I had no idea! (Our pets are remarkable at hiding their pain and discomfort). I felt like such a bad mom for not knowing. Had he not had this procedure, under anesthetic of course, he could have suffered severe health issues later on.  Thankfully now he is in good health with just a slightly crooked smile.


"Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition in adult dogs and cats. The disease includes gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (loss of bone and soft tissue around the teeth). If left untreated, the effects of the disease include damage to or loss of gum tissue and bone around the teeth, development of a hole (‘fistula’) from the oral cavity into the nasal passages causing nasal discharge, fractures of the jaw following weakening of the jaw bone, and bone infection (‘osteomyelititis’). Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and are carried around the body. Studies in dogs have shown that periodontal disease is associated with microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys. " American Veterinary Dental College

If your pet has severe tartar or large amounts of plaque build up, professional deep cleaning, scaling, polishing, and sometimes removal by a vet are often the necessary courses of action. Home care too is essential in helping to prevent periodontal disease and keeping your pet healthy and happy.

Regular brushing with pet-specific toothbrushes and tooth paste is the front line of defense. Toothbrushes designed for pets are soft and angled to help reach the back teeth. Some prefer finger brushes, which are pretty self explanatory, little rubber brushes that slip on your finger.

Toothpastes come in tasty flavors such as poultry and seafood. Single use dental wipes are also available to remove plaque from the outside of the teeth. Some pets won't accept brushing right away, (did you as a kid?), but with gentle, gradual approaches, they learn to tolerate it. Don't give up, just be consistent and gentle. However, if they continue to resist, there may be underlying health concerns that should be addressed by your vet.  

A final note on home care: do NOT use toothpastes designed for humans. These contain abrasives and high foaming detergents that pets should not ingest. 

As always, discuss all treatments and processes with your veterinarian prior to beginning any regimen.

info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Hudson Valley Sullivan County dental care new york photographer periodontal disease in pets pet oral hygiene pet photography pet portraits pets photographer http://amlahanko.com/blog/2017/2/importance-of-pet-oral-hygiene Sun, 19 Feb 2017 16:53:39 GMT
Upcoming Events http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/8/upcoming-events There are several "end of summer" events that A.M. La Hanko Photography and A.M. La Hanko Fine Art will be participating in. 

August 20th - Pours for PAWS at Christopher Jacobs Winery at Pennings Vineyards (320 Crawford St, Pine Bush, NY). $20 tickets, complimentary wine glass, and four tastings. 1pm - 5pm

August 28th - A Dose of Kindness End of Summer Blowout, Liberty elementary school and Lapolt Park (Main St, Liberty, NY). A free community event! 10am - 2pm

September 18th - A "Bark in the Park" at the Town of Thompson Park (179 Town Park Rd, Monticello, NY). A free community event! 1pm- 5pm

Stop by our booth at these events for special offers, gifts, and samples of the various keepsakes you could get from your personal pet portrait photo session. 






info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Catskills Hudson Valley Sullivan County digital photography dogs fundraisers new york photographer pet photography pet portraits pets photographer photography http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/8/upcoming-events Wed, 10 Aug 2016 22:38:58 GMT
Before and After Part II http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/7/before-and-afters-part-ii Sharing some before and after photos seem to be very popular and I am happy to give an insight into how I transform a SOOC (straight off of camera) image into a timeless treasure.

Phoenix and Izzy came to the studio for a session. Their mom wanted a photo of them together, and as we all know, it is often tough to get multiple animals to look at the camera at the exact same time or to have them sitting close and cozy together. That's why God invented composites. Ok so maybe God didn't event them, but the person who did is brilliant. 

Anyway, we got lucky with Phoenix and Izzy both looking at the camera at the same time. However, they weren't as close together as I would have liked. No problem though, we fixed that in post production.

All editing/compositing occurs in Photoshop.



The process involves adding a new background layer, cutting each dog out of the original photo, adjusting the lighting, blending, shading, and sizing of each dog to match the background.

Another example may be seen below of a dog named Rufus (who is up for adoption at the Walden Human Society). The kennel, dog house, and other distractions were removed and the dog was placed in a virtual backdrop. Adjustments were made to the details and sharpness of the dog's coat. Tears were removed. Eyes brightened. And lighting adjusted.



Depending on the amount of work that needs to be done, I tend to spend no more than an hour on an edit. If it takes longer than that, I did something wrong during the session that could have prevented the longer editing time. 

info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Catskills HDR Hudson Valley New York Photoshop Sullivan County blog cats composites dogs horses masking new york photographer pet photography pet portraits pets photography http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/7/before-and-afters-part-ii Fri, 01 Jul 2016 13:43:09 GMT
Pricing Changes and New Keepsakes http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/6/pricingchangesnewkeepsakes A few changes will be occurring at A.M. La Hanko Photography beginning July 1, 2016. 

  • *NEW* Pet Portrait Painting sessions will be added
  • 5x7 prints will increase to $12
  • 10x15 prints will increase to $32
  • *NEW* Cutting boards will be added 
  • *NEW*  Tote bags will be added
  • Galleries will be available for 30 days
  • Adopted Pet Portrait sessions will be discontinued and will be replaced with 10% off keepsakes with proof of adoption with a Personal Pet Portrait session
  • Think of Me sessions will be discontinued and will be replaced with 10% off keepsakes for senior pets with a Personal Pet Portrait session
  • 30% deposits will be required to reserve your session date
  • Cancelation/reschedule notices must be given within 24 hours to avoid session billing

Please visit the Creative Fees page for complete details on sessions.

info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Catskills Hudson Valley Pet paintings Sullivan County blog creative fees dogs new york photographer pet photography pet portraits pets photography prices session rates http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/6/pricingchangesnewkeepsakes Tue, 28 Jun 2016 12:00:00 GMT
Celebrate FREEdom http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/6/celebrate-freedom Throughout the month of July, all pet portrait sessions will receive $25 off their total session plus a complimentary 5x7 print of your favorite photograph.

This offer is valid on all session types (personal pet portraits, adopted pet portraits, and farm/equine sessions, in studio, and on location). 

Sessions are by appointment only. Weekday and weekends available. 

Contact now to book your session.

48 hour cancelation/reschedule notification is required; failure to notify and/or a "no show" will be billed half of your originally scheduled session. 


info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Catskills Hudson Valley New York Sullivan County blog canon digital photography new york photographer pet photography pet portraits pets photographer photography studio http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/6/celebrate-freedom Mon, 20 Jun 2016 22:08:24 GMT
Behind the Scenes with a Local Vet http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/5/behind-the-scenes-with-a-local-vet Friday was quite the experience. I had the honor of spending the day with our local mobile veterinarian; Dr. Joseph D'Abbraccio doing behind the scenes photos for his website, Facebook page, and marketing efforts.

Doctor Joe, as he is lovingly referred to by his clients, has been our local mobile vet for about four years now. What sets Doctor Joe apart is that he services large and small animals and will make house calls for your dog, cat, bird, lizard, whatever. He is affiliated with a local clinic as well where he performs surgeries and the necessary treatments that cannot be performed during a house call. 

During our day, we traveled from one end of our county to the other. Our calls consisted of horses, cows, birds, alpacas, and cats. It was quite an eventful day. By the end of it, I was pooped. 

I used to dream of becoming a vet until I realized that sometimes you have to put the animals down (I was young, what did I know). Even thought the majority of the euthanasias are warranted, I still don't know that I could do it. 

Every case that we visited tugged at my heart strings. And they were all relatively basic, normal calls. Nothing bad or life threatening and I still felt love and compassion for the animals. I'm a softy for animals, what can I say (one of the reasons I became a pet photographer). 

To witness and photograph the day to day operations of a mobile vet is, quite honestly, astonishing. Doctor Joe's beside manner with all of the animals he treats is calm, warm, and he is soft spoken to comfort the nervous animals. Even the way he communicates with the pet parents is the same. He speaks to you like you are human and passes no judgement. He takes the time to explain what is going on with your pet and the recommended next steps needed for their treatment. 

Having never spent a significant amount of time with veterinarians I can say, that after 8 hours, I have a new found respect and deep appreciation for all that they do. Their jobs are not easy and sometimes difficult decisions need to be made. God bless all veterinarians who love their jobs and the pets they care for. Thank you for all that you do. 



info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) behind the scenes hudson valley new york new york photographer pet photography pet portraits photography sullivan county veterinarian http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/5/behind-the-scenes-with-a-local-vet Tue, 24 May 2016 22:26:59 GMT
Digital Pet Portrait Paintings http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/5/new-keepsakes I am constantly looking for fun and unique ways to display and memorialize your pet. My newest endeavor is digital painting. I take your favorite A.M. La Hanko photo, turn it into a digital painting, and print it on a 16x24 canvas for you.

What is a digital painting? Well, thanks to the beauty of modern technology, and lots of practice, essentially the photograph is "painted" over using different softwares and "brushes" to make it look like an impressionistic painting, watercolor, or colored pencil drawing. 

When you select a photo for painting, you will get a digital proof when it is completed before it is sent to print. Typically, it takes 2-3 days to complete the painting. Here are a couple of examples.

info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Catskills Hudson Valley New York Sullivan County cats digital paintings digital photography dogs new york photographer painting personal pet portraits pet photography pet portraits pets photographer photography http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/5/new-keepsakes Sun, 15 May 2016 15:46:24 GMT
Pet Portraits: Before and After http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/5/pet-portraits-before-and-after When you hire A.M. La Hanko Photography as your personal pet portrait photographer, you are not purchasing a picture; you are purchasing a luxurious and timeless treasure of your pet's unique personality. 

I do not deliver photos to you straight off of the camera. After all, you are paying me for my talent in camera and off camera. In camera, I shoot RAW images with more detail and profile information than a compressed JPG image. I do not deliver RAW images to clients as they are simply the foundation for the finished keepsake. (I will get into more details regarding RAW and JPG files in a future blog post)

You wouldn't deliver a floor and roof to someone and call it a finished house would you? The same applies to photography. The RAW images are finalized in post production and converted to keepsake quality JPGs for gallery viewing. The delivered photographic keepsake (framed print, canvas, pillow, throw blanket) is a piece of fine art that you will cherish for a lifetime. This is why my clients choose me, because I take great pride in ensuring the keepsakes delivered from my labs are of the strictest and most professional quality available. No Walmart or Sears prints here. 

Anyway, I wanted to demonstrate a few "before" and "after" images to help give you a feel of what I do.













info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Catskills Hudson Valley JPG Photoshop RAW SOOC Sullivan County before and after composite photography digital photography dogs editing photographs new york photographer personal pet portraits pet photography pet portraits pets photographer photography timeless treasures why I don't deliver straight off of camera http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/5/pet-portraits-before-and-after Tue, 10 May 2016 14:39:39 GMT
My Pet is Skittish Can You Still Photograph Him? http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/5/my-dog-is-skittish-and-wary-of-new-people-can-i-still-schedule-a-shoot Many times I have heard people say, "my dog is too skittish, he won't cooperate for a photoshoot." Or "my pet can be aggressive towards new people, I don't think he would do well with a photoshoot." Let me dispel these fears.

Since I was a child, animals have been a part of my life. I grew up learning about their mentalities, how to approach them, what to do and not do when an animal may be feeling fear. I have also taken pet psychology courses to help me better my abilities in animal communication and understanding. 

I have had pets come to the studio nervous and afraid. And after applying some techniques I have learned over the years, I am able to capture the perfect shot. 

"But what if my pet bites you?" Listen, if I get bitten, as I have said in previous blog posts, it is because I did something wrong. Not your pet. Animals are not dangerous, they are instinctive (I think I've said that before too). Should I get bitten, it is because I did something that made the animal feel uncomfortable. It's that simple. 

"I'm still nervous that my pet may not be comfortable." Ok, that's fine. During the shoot, you are there to help comfort your pet. Many times, I request the assistance of the owners to help pose the animal and just before I take the shot, I instruct them to move away. 

I have had owners actually make sessions worse for their pets by trying to get them to do too many things at once. It confuses the animal and makes for a stressful situation for them. They pick up on the slightest changes in our attitudes and body language. When you're calm, your pet is calm. Should more than one owner be present, I will ask that one of you simply sit on the couch while the other assists me. As I've said, too many different cues are not helpful. 

The same applies to treats and toys. Yes, you may bring them. However, unless absolutely necessary, we likely won't need them. They too, can over excite the animal which makes the session more complicated than it has to be. 

The bottom line, I ask that you trust me and my abilities. After all, that is what you're paying me for, right? :)

info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Catskills Hudson Valley New York Sullivan County aggressive pets nervous pets new york photographer pet photography pet portraits photographer professional photographer http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/5/my-dog-is-skittish-and-wary-of-new-people-can-i-still-schedule-a-shoot Mon, 02 May 2016 13:50:45 GMT
Sadie Needs a Home http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/4/sadie-needs-a-home Earlier in the week, I had the pleasure of photographing a very special dog named Sadie. She is currently in a foster home through PAWS of the Hudson Valley, Inc. And she is looking for her furever home. From all appearances (I think her ears give her away) she looks like a Basenji mix and it has been determined by the vet that she is approximately 9 months old.  She adores carrots and is on a grain free diet. She prefers to be loved and spoiled as the only pet in the home. But her complete history and how she handles being around children is unknown.

When she first walked into the studio with her foster mom and PAWS representative, she was very leery of me. I let her sniff my hand and she barked. Wouldn't you? Being in a strange place with a strange person, not knowing what is in store for me, would make me bark certainly. So, I ignored her and let her get used to the studio space. After about 5 minutes of sniffing and scoping things out in the studio, Sadie began to warm up. 

I sat on the floor with her and let her approach me. I find that if you ignore a pet and allow them to approach you on their own terms, the easier it is to gain their trust and work with them. Animals are instinctive. If they feel they are being threatened, they will respond accordingly. In my mind, should I be bitten by an unfamiliar animal it would be my own fault for not taking proper precautions. Common sense? Hello. I wish more people understood this. But I digress. Back to Sadie.

Once she became familiar with me, she was the sweetest and most loving little girl. Her kisses are very special. You can feel the love that she has to give but is unsure of the right people to give it to (I hear you Sadie and don't blame you in the least).

We shared some carrots, laughs, and captured a few amazing photos to help promote the adoption of Miss Sadie. She is a quick learner and ready to fill that special place in your heart, your mind, and your home.

To fill out an application please contact: PAWS of the Hudson Valley, Inc. Or contact me and I will get you in touch with them. 

info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Catskills Hudson Valley Sullivan County adopt don't shop blog canon digital photography dogs in studio photography new york photographer pet photography pet portraits pets photographer photography studio http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/4/sadie-needs-a-home Sat, 23 Apr 2016 15:14:09 GMT
National Kids & Pets Day http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/4/national-kids-pets-day There is just something so magical about the bond between and child and their pets. Pets really are our first best friends. They grow up with us, learn with us, cry with us, and comfort us. The love us unconditionally, even when we think our world is falling apart.

I want to help capture that bond for your child and their pet with a mini in studio portrait session. After all, April 26 is National Kids & Pets Day. Why shouldn't we celebrate it? 

And, since the 26th is a school day, we will honor this special day by holding the sessions on Saturday the 23rd. Appointments are necessary to reserve your spot. 

Your mini session of $65 plus tax will include the following:

  • Your child and their best furry friend
  • Up to 4 retouched images in an online gallery with keepsake ordering capability
  • 1 medium resolution image digitally delivered to you for social media and online use

info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Hudson Valley Sullivan County bond between child and pet digital photography dogs in studio photography national kids and pets day new york photographer personal pet portraits pet photography pet photography marketing pet portraits pets portrait specials http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/4/national-kids-pets-day Tue, 05 Apr 2016 14:45:02 GMT
Face Your Fears http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/3/faceyourfears First of all, let me start by saying all pets are welcome in my studio. Common and exotic alike.

And I am proud to say I conquered a fear today of an exotic type. Here's a little back story first...

Ever since I was a little girl (probably around 5 or so), when I put a rain boot on and my foot found a large fuzzy rock in the bottom that turned out to be a big black spider, I have been petrified to the core of them. I mean, this thing was the size of a house. C'mon, to a kid it seemed that way! Needless to say, I turn all of my shoes upside down and shake them out before I put them on now. Even the smallest spider sends me climbing on the furniture. (Remember the Dumbo cartoon when Timothy the mouse enters the circle of elephants and they all turn tail screaming completely terrified of him [check it out if you need a refresher, about 2 minutes and 30 seconds in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CzRgEAZkN0]? Yeah, that's me with spiders.)

Zeek the Tarantula

Well, after many years of being ridiculously afraid, I made it a point to bring a spider to the studio for a portrait session. I know what you're thinking, she's nuts. Perhaps you're right. But I am tired of being fearful of something so small. Ok, granted some are extremely poisonous and could land you in the hospital. But let's face it so could driving your car.  Now, I'm not saying go out and do the most dangerous things you can think of, let's be real. But with proper precautions, education, and care even the most venomous spiders, snakes, etc., are handled. But I digress from the main point.

This fear of spiders is silly. The majority we have in the Northeast are fairly harmless to us, so what makes them so scary? Is it because they have so many legs? That they scurry quickly from under the furniture or from out of our shoes? That we never know where they are lurking? That they can drop from the ceiling at any point? That they are associated with Halloween and getting the webs caught in your hair just gives you the willies? I don't know. All of the above maybe. Seems kind of ridiculous doesn't it? Enough is enough for me.

Yes, I did it!That's my hand holding Zeek the tarantula.

Today, a Brazilian Salmon Birdeater tarantula, named Zeek, came in with his owner, Sarah. Before shooting we set Zeek down in his portable terrarium and, knowing nothing about tarantulas, I proceeded to ask Sarah a variety of questions about him. Zeek's species is considered "new world". The "old world" tarantulas are more aggressive and colorful. While the "new world" are more docile and neutral toned. When Zeek is full grown (he's only about 2 1/2 now), his legs will be about 8" long each. As it was, he was the size of my palm now. He also has several defense mechanisms; his fangs, the little barbs on his feet that release toxins, and his hairs which is kind of shakes and throws at you when he's feeling nervous that could also cause a mild reaction.

I was completely fascinated by the amount of knowledge Sarah had about the tarantulas and that she was willing to share it with me. It's amazing how once you learn more about a subject (big, hairy, scary eight-legged creatures, in this case), the less frightening they become. I knew that at the end of the shoot I wanted to hold him and really face the fear I've had since childhood. And, I did it. I thought he would feel rough but he felt like velvet. I felt the little barbs on his feet too as he gripped my hand, but the only reaction I had was my skin was a little itchy for a while. His movements were soft and graceful. Yes, I'm describing a spider as elegant and quite beautiful. Honestly, I would do it again in a minute.

To be able to face and overcome something you're deathly afraid of is an amazing and euphoric feeling. A bit of an adrenaline rush too of course.

The moral of the story? Life is too short to live in fear. Liberate yourself from your fears. 


Zeek's Closeup

info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Brazilian salmon birdeater Hudson Valley New York arachnid childhood fears digital photography exotic pets new york photographer pet photographer pet photography pet portraits photographer psychological fear spiders tarantula http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/3/faceyourfears Tue, 29 Mar 2016 02:00:14 GMT
Happy Easter http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/3/happy-easter Easter has arrived! I want to wish all of you a blessed and beautiful day.

The weather here has been gorgeous the last few days which has allowed the flowers and buds to really come out. Even the peepers are singing when the sun sets. This is one of my favorite times of the year. The smell in the air, the sunshine, and even the mud. All mean that summer is coming and the earth will be green and bright again after a long, cold, but blessedly snowless winter. 

Now, being an animal advocate, you know I have to say this...

We all know that pet stores are FULL to the brim of bunnies, chicks, and ducklings around Easter time. But please, please, please, do not buy your children one for Easter. If you cannot commit to 10-16 years of care for an animal (bunny, chick, puppy, kitten, duck, anything), get your children a yummy chocolate version or the stuffed toy version instead. Too many animals, like with Christmas time, are bought as babies for Easter and when they grow up are abandoned, neglected, or tortured.

Take your children to a local shelter and show them what happens to animals who get thrown away; these animals are living, breathing, feeling souls. Have your children volunteer their time to the are and wellbeing of these mistreated babies. They will have more respect for living creatures and they will grow into caring, beautiful people themselves.

You wouldn't throw your human child away, don't do it to your furry, finned, or feathered child either. 

info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Easter adopt don't shop new york photographer pet photography pet portraits http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/3/happy-easter Sat, 26 Mar 2016 23:38:04 GMT
A Day of Bliss http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/3/a-day-of-bliss When you own your own business, you never know the kinds of people you're going to meet or the opportunities that will be given to you. I was fortunate to have a client come to the studio earlier this year with her two dogs; and after conversing with her, discovered that she also owned several horses. Needless to say, a friendship was born. 

Yesterday afternoon she messaged me and asked me if I wanted to go riding with her. As it turned out, my evening plans had fallen through unfortunately, and I didn't have anything else going on so I said yes. That was kind of a no brainer. So off to Livingston Manor I went. 

Now, mind you, it has been years (like nine) since I have been on horseback. Sahir is too young to ride yet and Dafina is nearly 28 and is retired. So, after brushing down, saddling up, and pulling myself into the saddle (holy crap that's a long way up...and...gulp...down) my horse, of course, tested me to see how much he could get away with. 'New person on my back? We will see about that.' Ok, I exaggerate a little bit. He was a bit testy and feisty at first, dancing around, pinning his ears back some, but after a few laps in the round pen, we were ready for action. And off we went.

Cell phone shot from atop my steed

The trails were wide and diverse. Little streams to cross, hills to climb and descend, wide open fields, logging trails, it was heaven.  Though our initial trot made me realize how out of practice I was. But, after about a half hour or so, my horse and I were like one and staying seated in the saddle was a piece of cake. As it should be. Like the old cliche (yes I know I use a lot of cliches), it was just like riding a bike. He was attentive to my cues as I was to his. He reminded me of the horse I grew up riding, it was powerful and emotional at the same time.

With horses, if you are nervous, scared, or unsure, they sense it and will respond accordingly. They will be nervous and unsure too. When you are calm and confident and can give them the guidance and reassurance that they need, you can basically achieve anything with them.

When we got back to the barnyard, and dismounted, yup I was a bit sore, walking like a bowlegged cowboy. haha. 

I gave my horse some lovings and thanked him for a great ride and he was turned out into the paddock with his friends. 

Looking forward to another ride and cannot wait until Sahir is ready for it. I have missed it.

info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) Hudson Valley Livingston Manor digital photography draft horses forest horseback riding horses new york photographer pet photography pet portraits pets photography trail riding http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/3/a-day-of-bliss Mon, 21 Mar 2016 14:16:18 GMT
Consultations, what's the point? http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/3/consultations-whats-the-point I invite all of my potential clients to come to the studio for a complimentary consultation prior to booking their sessions (of course telephone consultations are available too). It helps prepare you and me for your personal session. It also allow us to get right to work the day of your session without having to worry about the "formalities".  

During the consultation we discuss the following:

  • The type of pet portrait session best suited for you and your pet
  • The location of the session (in studio or on location of your choice)
  • The number of pets to be photographed
  • If you or other members of the family will be in the photos
  • Appropriate attire for the session should you decide to participate in the photos
  • The pets' names, ages, breeds
  • The priority of photos to be taken
  • Any allergies or medical conditions the pets may have (Huh? Why is this important? Because it helps me plan the layout of the session. If your pet has a bad back, I'm not going to make them jump up on the couches. If they have an allergy or are vegan (yes some pets are vegan) I'm not going to give them treats that will aggravate their allergy or upset the vegan diet)
  • Where you envision your keepsakes to be displayed in your home
  • What to do/not do the day of your session
  • How I approach each session and pet from a creative and psychological standpoint
  • If you would like a personal keepsake ordering session to help decide which keepsakes will be best for you (these are also complimentary and can be done in studio or in your home)
  • Enrollment in the ReFUR a Client program
  • Any questions you may have

Pet Photo Pillow During your consultation, you will also have the opportunity to see and touch several of the keepsakes that I offer such as the throw blanket and pillow. We will also set up your session date and time and make the session payment, should you decide to book. Model releases for the participating pets/people will also be signed during this time.

Holy cow, that's a lot of stuff to go over! Yes, it is. I'm not a commercial JcPenney or Sears that takes your money and sends you on your way with a couple of standard "stock" photographs and "packages" (I don't offer "packages" - see yesterday's blog post as to why)

All of my work is done boutique style. Which means every client and pet gets a custom tailored session and constant communication from me prior, during, and after the session. I am always available to answer any questions you may have whether it be through e-mail, text message, phone call, meeting, or Facebook message; you can reach me.

I take great care in ensuring your experience with me is personal, professional, and posh.

info@amlahanko.com (A.M. La Hanko Photography) consultation digital photography dogs hudson valley keepsake new york photographer pet photography pet portraits pets pre-session sullivan county http://amlahanko.com/blog/2016/3/consultations-whats-the-point Fri, 18 Mar 2016 14:26:21 GMT