Spring has Sprung

I named this blog post “Spring has Sprung,” as I feel like I have been really busy photographing all the seasonal flora around lately, but perhaps a more accurate title should have been, “Hey, I’ve totally been slacking with this blog, so here’s 4 months’ worth of Stoli photos”.

I’ve been extremely busy with work and wedding planning these last couple of months. With the wedding, I am actually really far ahead of schedule. That’s one good thing about being 1,000 miles away from everyone you know–you have all the time in the world to plan with no distractions. I have the wedding and reception venues as well as a photographer booked (Photographer was obviously the most important part, haha), I hand made all the table decorations, and most recently bought my wedding dress!!

My parents came out to visit me earlier this spring. It was great to see them again, and I didn’t realize how much I missed my mom’s cooking! They were only in town for four days, so we didn’t get a ton of time to hang out, but it was still nice to be together again. They loved the Ohio weather (it was cold–50-60 degrees everyday, but they left snow to come out here, so they were sweating while I was in my winter coat still!) I took them to Inniswood Metro Park one nice evening and they walked around with me while I took some spring foliage photos.

Tulips © Holly Hildreth 2013

Tulips © Holly Hildreth 2013

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Besides photographing the spring flowers, I have been trying to shoot other subjects to widen my portfolio. I still don’t really know anyone out here, so Stoli is usually my go-to model. I recently discovered a dog park about a 1/2 mile from my house, so I started taking Stoli (and my camera) there after work a few nights a week. I always get the weirdest looks from people there, but it’s fun and challenging to try and photograph new dogs.

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German Shepherd © Holly Hildreth 2013

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I’ve also started volunteering to photograph homeless animals at the local shelter. It can be quite challenging as some of the animals are feral or came from abusive situations. I am happy to do what I can though, to help them get adopted. Plus, it makes me really thankful to have such a patient model waiting for me at home!

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And of COURSE I have been photographing Stoli, and he’s been taking it like a champ. I’m sure there’s a large amount of people who think I’m the “crazy dog lady” because of all the photos I take of Stoli. The thing is Stoli loves it (he thinks it’s his job,) and it’s a huge stress reliever for me, so I’ll keep on doing it!

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Our Mock "Save-the-Date" cards. My Fiance wasn't too impressed, but the Stoli was just too cute, so I had to share

Our Mock “Save-the-Date” cards. My Fiance wasn’t too impressed to see a giant picture of Stoli rather than us, but I thought was just too cute, so I had to share

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Stoli’s faster than a speeding corn dog.

One other piece of good news: I have another Hallmark Card! I don’t know for sure when it’s coming out, so I will pass the details on to you later, but I know for sure it’ll be available to buy online this Summer. As far as an in-store date, I am unsure. They haven’t told me whether it’ll be distributed in stores yet, so I’ll keep you posted.

All Content is © Holly Hildreth 2013 | http://www.hhildrethphoto.com

No Content may be taken from this page without direct written consent. 

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Two Kinds of Stoli

First off, I want to apologize for not posting in a month. Things have been absolutely hectic around here, and as a result, my blog got put on the back burner. (I’ll go into all the fine details in the next post. This post is mainly about showing some old work that got hidden in all the hustle ad bustle of this semester.)

In one of my last posts I promised you more Stoli pictures. Well, now I’m giving you two types of Stoli. The first type of Stoli is a last minute photo shoot in the studio. I had a model booked, but she didn’t show up, so I used my studio time to do one last Stoli shoot just for fun. Stoli has a love/hate relationship with the studio. On the one hand, he knows he gets a car ride, gets to see people who fawn over him in the equipment check out area and print lab, and if there’s anyone else in the studio while I’m shooting, they usually give him some belly rubs as well. Stoli also knows that the studio means he gets a ridiculous amount of treats and peanut butter straight from the jar. Now on the other hand, however, Stoli knows he’s got to be a good boy in the studio and listen to me while I take forever getting “the shot”. He is also subjected to being dressed up, and he is definitely not a fan of that. All things considered, he usually likes getting his photo taken. Our dog is a bit of a diva. So without further ado, here is our little ham.

Stoli's unhappy birthday © Holly Hildreth 2012

Stoli’s not excited for his impending 2nd birthday on May 31st.

We have the world's most patient dog © Holly Hildreth 2012

We have the world’s most patient dog…

Happy Birthday, Butthead.  © Holly Hildreth 2012

Happy Birthday, Butthead.

My favorite shot of the session   © Holly Hildreth 2012

My favorite shot from the session.

Surprise!! © Holly Hildreth 2012

Surprise!!

Stoli belongs in Grease © Holly Hildreth 2012

Stoli belongs in Grease. Also, despite looking angry, he’s actually just licking peanut butter off the roof of his mouth.

Cool Kid Stoli © Holly Hildreth 2012

Now onto the other type of Stoli. For one of the last assignments in my advertising class, we had to shoot something and make a billboard advertisement out of it. I wanted to do a product since my portfolio has a lot of animals and people but is thin in the still life part, (not because I don’t enjoy shooting product! It’s because my style of photography is so clean and often minimalist and many times advertisements require a well-designed and hand-built set, which I struggle with on occasion.) Since I am a dreadful cook, I decided to just buy something to shoot instead. I also wanted to try something a bit different. I found flashing LED light sitting around at my boyfriend’s house and decided to use it. It was originally a part of his roommate’s beer glass that lit up and flashed, but I just took the bottom part and played around with it. Here are some of the results:

Before the party light  © Holly Hildreth 2012

Before the party light

After playing with the party light  © Holly Hildreth 2012

After playing with the party light.

Favorite shot of the session.  © Holly Hildreth 2012

Favorite shot from the session. © Holly Hildreth 2012

For the ad we needed to design a piece that was 12’x48′. This is such an odd ratio that it was really difficult to design something that looked half-way decent. Also, we were limited to ten words or less of text, as when you’re driving down the interstate, you only have 8 seconds to read something. We had to design absolutely everything on the billboard from the image to the slogan and beyond. Here’s my submission:

Stoli ad  © Holly Hildreth 2012

Stay tuned for a big update on what’s going on in my life and more photos!

All Images  © Holly Hildreth 2012 | http://www.hhildrethphoto.com

Macy

I was recently contacted by a fellow photography student about photographing her roommate’s dog. I agreed, as I am always looking for new models. I had no idea what kind of dog I would be shooting this week, so I wasn’t sure what all to bring and how to prepare. Luckily, Macy, the dog in question, was a natural.

Macy is a (shepherd?) mix adopted from Wayside Waifs. She is 16 months old and loves people. Macy has a lot of energy and was easy to photograph. Dogs with a lot of personality usually yield better results than ones who tend to just lay still and fall asleep. I’ve seen all types of dogs in the studio and one question I always get from owners is, “was my dog bad?” I  find it funny when puppy parents think their dog was bad, when in reality, they are just being a dog, and I got awesome shots. Sometimes it takes a rowdy dog to get a dynamic image. I work with all types and know the tricks to getting them comfortable around the camera. I’ve photographed 8 week old puppies to 15 year old senior dogs, so there really are no surprises left. Macy had typical adolescent/puppy behavior, but she was very sweet and was eager to please, so of course she wasn’t “bad”!

Here are a few of my favorite images from the shoot. Like always, check my flickr for the full set: HERE

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2012 | http://www.hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

Fatz Meow

Going through my portfolio photography class this semester, I have come to the conclusion that I need to expand my shooting away from just dogs. I decided to ask a photo friend to help me out. Tara was a graduate student at UCM in the photography department. She graduated this December, but is still in Warrensburg, so I asked her to bring in her cat, Bonnie. Bonnie (aka “Fatz Meow,) is a 16-year old Maine Coon/calico mix.

I grew up with cats my whole life, so I was nervous about bringing one into the studio. Whenever we’d take our cats anywhere, they’d run away and hide. Not Bonnie. Tara walked into the studio carrying her, and she seemed chilled and relaxed like it was no big deal. I set up a table top with black plexiglass, and Bonnie immediately flopped down and made herself at home on it.

I soon learned that photographing cats is much harder than dogs. Dogs are constantly on the go, bursting with energy, which makes it easy to capture dynamic and humorous images. Cats, however, do what they want, when they want. Bonnie was displeased whenever we made her be upright for more than 30 seconds. She just wanted to laze around on the table. I think it’s much easier to create serious, dramatic portraits with cats, but it’s not so easy to get images that make the viewer laugh.

I also had to revamp my approach to photographing cats. With dogs, if you make an odd, high-pitched noise, they instantly grant you their attention. Cats, however, could care less that you’re making a fool of yourself by squealing at them. Also, dogs will do ANYTHING for peanut butter. Tara brought in tuna for Bonnie, which she liked, but she still wouldn’t really do anything other than sit still, looking pretty for it. It’s a different world with cats, but I still really enjoyed the photo shoot. I always like to challenge myself by trying new things. You never know what you could end up with.

The whole set can be viewed on my Flickr page: HERE

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2012 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

Little Nickey

Last week a fellow photo student, Laura Phillips, approached me and asked if I’d like to photograph a shih tzu. Of course I said, “yes”! Her family had just adopted Nickey from a local animal shelter. Laura is the owner of Buzz and Pickles, the St. Bernard + chihuahua pair that I photographed last year. (HERE’S a refresher) Laura went on to explain that Nickey was in desperate need of a haircut, but she wanted to wait until after the shoot to give him one. As soon as she showed me pictures of him, I knew he was going to be a fun subject. Laura wanted to shoot Nickey on the gold background I photographed Buzz and Pickles on. She had made some large prints to hang in her girls’ rooms and wanted something matching for Nickey. Photographing on yellow/orange/red is always difficult with light colored dogs. The background  color will inevitably reflect into the dogs fur, making them match (which is a headache in Photoshop to correct.) We did some shots on the gold paper and then switched out for a more neutral pastel blue for the remainder of the shoot.

Being back in the studio with new dogs is always exciting. You never know the dog’s personality until you’re laying on the floor, with one hand on the camera and the hand other waving treats around.  I was used to Stoli’s relaxed demeanor–he is getting bored with the studio. Nickey was very excited about this new experience, and he still had his puppy energy (the vet guessed him to be about a year old). Keeping up with what seemed to be a bouncing mop was  challenging, yet fun. Maybe in the future I will do a shoot with him with his haircut. He won’t even look like the same dog!

As always, the whole set of photos can be viewed on my FLICKR

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2012 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

 

Stoli’s January Debut, Part II

Every Thursday this semester is a free day for me. It’s the one day a week where I don’t have any classes, and so far, I have made it one of the most productive days of the week. Today I decided to have Stoli in the studio again. I am trying to beef up my portfolio and make more potential winning Hallmark card images.
Last week during his shoot, I discovered Stoli will not move if there’s something secured to his head. I used this newly found wisdom to my advantage.

I came away with a LOT of cute and funny images, but I am only going to post a few here. In order to see them all (which I highly recommend,) you’ll have to visit my flickr page HERE.

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2012 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

Stoli January Debut

The semester started back up on 1/9/12, and as a result, the photo lab and studios finally opened up this week. Since it’s only the 2nd week of classes, not many people are signed up to use the studios. I don’t have any classes on Thursdays, so I took advantage of the situation and decided to go into the studio for a fun shoot with Stoli. I didn’t have anything particular in mind when I went in. Mostly, I just wanted to get back into the swing of things and get myself used to shooting in the studio again.
During the shoot, I felt like nothing was going right. I tried a new lighting setup and used higher powered strobes, and Stoli was not having it. I’m not sure if he was scared of the new lights or if they were too bright for him, but he would not cooperate. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when I came home and started reviewing images to find that there were a lot of ones that turned out rather well. I have around 50 good proofs of him from this shoot, and it’s incredibly hard for me to narrow it down to just a few to post to my blog, so if you get a chance, visit the whole set on my flickr page  HERE.

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

He does NOT look happy!

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

Stoli is the World's most interesting corgi

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

All Images are © Holly Hildreth 2012 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Today in advanced studio, we were to shoot either food, beverage, or tobacco. I honestly had no idea what to photograph for this assignment, as my cooking skills are on par with most college kids and are basically limited to pre-packaged foods only. So, to get some inspiration for the project, I wandered around Walmart for about an hour last night waiting for a flash of genius to hit me. I wound up in the Christmas aisle, where I finally decided I would try to expand my set-building skills by making a Christmas scene while photographing food….and what (conveniently pre-packaged,) food says Christmas like candy canes?
Originally my idea was to have a Christmas tree branch with a stocking stuffed with candy canes. Well, when setting the scene up, I failed to take into account that the high quality 97 cent stocking I bought was not well-built and did not support anything heavier than its own weight. I attempted a few stocking shots, but wasn’t very successful.

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

My next attempt was to hang the candy canes on the trees.  This too proved to be next to impossible to pull off. I got a few all right shots, but nothing too earth-shattering.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

I was starting to get discouraged by this point, as it seemed that nothing was working for me. Finally, I made a “peppermint martini” from water and red food coloring. I started liking the results I was getting with the “martini”. Toward the end of the shoot, I had a classmate sprinkle the fake snow while I shot, making it look like it was actually snowing.

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

All Images and Content © Holly Hildreth 2011 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

 

Buddy and Maddie

Today, one of my photo friends,Anneka Clock, brought me her grandma’s Sheltie dogs to photograph. Buddy, the male, was very excited and happy to be in the studio. Maddie, the blue merle female, was a retired show-dog. She was very skittish and frightened of the studio. This made photographing a bit challenging, as most of the dogs that come in are bouncing off the walls and love to be fawned over and given treats. Luckily, another friend, Charlene Champion, joined us for the shoot and helped wrangle the dogs.

I was excited to photograph the Shelties. I had never shot a similar dog breed, and I figured it would bear some unique photos to beef up my portfolio.

(PS: If you are in the Kansas City area and have a dog or know someone who does, get in contact with me and we’ll try and set up a shoot. I am always looking for new models!)

Here are  few images from today’s session. You can check out all the proofs: HERE.

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Buddy

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Maddie

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

All Images are © Holly Hildreth 2011