Creating Photography Memories of Your Pet

March 26, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Pets…. Dogs, Cats, Birds, Bunnies, Guinea Pigs, Snakes, Lizards, Rats oh my….. yes, even rats. Not all people are alike and not all pets are right for people but what is right is we all LOVE our pets. Whether they bark, meow, squeak, or slither they make us smile. They are our sunshine on a grey day. And PETS make When Skies Are Grey Photography by Denise HAPPY any day. I am that crazy dog lady and maybe one cat away from Crazy Cat Lady! I love my pets. Often my daughters say I love my dogs more than them…. Ummmmm well…. okay maybe not more but definitely the same amount. Sorry Girls they don’t talk back!

Dog Photographer Black Labrador Headshot Black Labrador

That wet nose, those perky ears when you say their name….the toy they bring to you when you come home. They pull at your heart strings just looking at them. I warned you I am that crazy dog lady! But honestly pets add value to our life. They are good for our health, really, like just rubbing them for 15 minutes releases feel good hormones. They offer emotional support and can even help you stay physically health… how you say??? If you own a dog, you probably walk them at times and wait what…. That means you are walking. Now I know you do not take medical advise from your photographer so why am I over here talking about the health benefits of pets. You know what makes you smile, and I know how to capture them to keep those memories forever. The average dog is with us between 10-14 years. Our average life expectancy is 78 years, so we have many years to immortalize those pets of our life in memories.

Cat Nip Kitty Cat Photographer Cat Nip Kitty CatCat Photography

When my daughters were young our family dog passed away, my girls were 7 and 14 and now are 19 and 26. Still to this day they can tear up thinking of Abby. The impression of a pet is everlasting. Every year when I break out the Christmas ornaments, they both look at each dog and cat of their childhood in photos on the tree and tell a memory. These pets are our family. Often pets are the first experience we have with loss. Valuing the pet and capturing their face in professional photography from the puppy days to the senior age is a way to memorialize their importance to your family.  Adding those ornaments to the tree, creating calendars with your pet’s, hanging a beautiful print over the fireplace of Fido. Treasures for you and your family to look at while that precious pet is in your life and to honor after they are gone. Capturing your pet in a photograph making art for your home is my specialty. My love for pets does not stop at my own. I love your pets too and I love creating your memories of them for you. Let’s create a digital art image of your pet to add to your home décor from one of your favorite portraits.

IMG_3429Digital Art Print Black Dog Digital Art Print

I spend time volunteering at local animal shelters capturing photos of the homeless pets to assist in getting them their furever home. Let me create your pets’ memories in our premiere studio in Chesapeake and if you do not have a pet follow me! I share local homeless animals from shelters and rescues weekly.

 As always you make me happy when you choose When Skies Are Grey Photography by Denise. They say a picture is worth a thousand words let me capture a thousand memories for you.

Cockapoo PuppyCockapoo PuppyDog Photographer in Chesapeake, Virginia Pet Photography Studio in Great Bridge

Why Your Photographer Charges Their Prices

November 10, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

I know boring stuff... Why someone charges their prices! Money is money and who really likes to part with their own $$$! I get it but the value of the why is the value the photographer values you. Say what? It all boils down to the CODB. What's CODB you ask? It's their Cost of Doing Business. Yes we all know everyone does a job to make some money but sometimes in art and creating people do not realize the actual cost that goes into being that artist. 

Bryant & TigerTiger nd Baby Sailing the Ocean

Being a photographer is just buying a camera, taking pictures, then giving me those pictures and BOOM that's all. So once the photographer pays for that camera...okay and maybe some extra lens... a few lights.... a backdrop or two and some props here and there they are done. So WHY should they charge sooooo much when heck they've been doing it long enough to already pay for the stuff they have.  IMG_7616Digital Media ImageDigital Media Nikon Photographer


Boy do I wish that was all it was BUT there is so much more! The first most valuable expense that truly shows your photographer values you is they are insured! That means every month they are paying for insurance to cover their equipment and general liability insurance. So without once session dollar coming in they are spending money to value their clients and protect their clients memories. So okay 1 expense that doesn't explain these $$$ they charge. Next you know those images you love.... well storage of them is NOT free. Monthly subscriptions to storage, editing and professional resources are a monthly expense again NO matter how many sessions they have in a month this is an ongoing every month expense. The only way for your images to be available, edited, and saved for any period of time involves MONTHLY ongoing fees. No matter if they are a natural light photographer only working on location or a photographer with a studio and monthly rental or ownership fees they MUST incur these monthly professional fees. That is if they are a Professional Photographer. Now there are many people with a camera collecting fees from people that do NOT incur these fees but they also aren't Professional. They probably are not licensed, not insured and not a true Professional. You want your doctor to have that license and insurance right? So why wouldn't you want your Professional Photographer!


Now on to the next part of the cost.... So we talked about the FEES... now those all important digital images. Some photographers do not give an option to buy AT ALL while some offer them but the cost may seem much to someone that doesn't think about what they are receiving. Photography is art.... a true photography enables many factors that most people would not notice but lighting, composition, the subject  and everything in the detail of a photograph is the art of photography. A photograph tells a story. With every client I ask for a Client Questionnaire this is to assist in the telling of your story. The detail in your session is a part of the professional process of telling your story. Creativity and imagination for telling your story goes into your photographs. So how much is that worth? If you receive the digital file from a photographer you are receiving a piece of art. Art cost money. So while you can purchases a copy of the print for less the actual piece of art of the digital file allows you to continue to reproduce the photograph so it will have a higher value which results in a higher fee. Advanced post production often adds more to the fee. I say if an image takes a trip to Photoshop then it now is valued more. This is an extensive process .... and nothing that is extensive is easy. This type of post production is extremely time consuming and has a higher value. Editing vs. Advanced Post Production Editing is a entire blog topic! 


So the next time you think WOW why is that so much remember you are the art the photographer is capturing and it's not going to cost "your arm or your leg" because well your photographer can't pay with your arm or your leg to get their groceries or pay the mortgage but they value you and we hope you value the art we are creating!

QuinnQuinnChildhood Beach Scene

As always YOU make ME HAPPY when YOU choose When Skies Are Grey Photography by Denise!



Holiday Portrait Preparation in 3 Easy Steps

November 03, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Preparing for your Holiday Portrait Session


1. Arrive 5-10 minutes early... this gives you plenty of time for last minute issues that may arise. 

No need to be too early you want everyone to be fresh and ready.

Holiday 1Holiday 1Family Photo Card


2. What to Wear.....this can be really stressful for some but DON'T STRESS! When picking out outfits,

pick out the outfit for the most difficult person to dress first & then plan everyone else's outfit around theirs. 

Plan like it one person's outfit.

Too many patterns can be too busy for the eyes but still let it be an expression of YOUR FAMILY!

Check out my Color Palette guide to help you style your family. 

For extended large family sessions dress each family group in their own color or color palette. 

If you have any questions or need guidance that's what I am here for please ask!

Holiday 11Holiday 11Family Tree Farm Holiday Session


3. Don't stress...

laughing+ loving+ calm = BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS!

Not every beautiful photo is cheesy smiles...

in fact the ones that are often the most touching are those natural looks. 

So don't point at the camera to get your little one looking then all we have are fingers pointing!

I may have a little pocket of treats to hand out to age appropriate children

but if you prefer me not to, just let me know. 

Remember if you are not in the picture and are helping to make the children smile or a pet look make sure to  stand nice and close to the camera .... right behind me is the best!

And don't leave the pets at home! If you want to include your pets, dogs or cats let's talk we can capture your family including the furry ones!

Holiday 13Holiday 13Pitbull with floral crown Holiday Photo


After your session your gallery will be available for gallery purchases 2-3 weeks from your session. If you are interested in a RUSH please reach out to have a RUSH payment added.


And don’t forget to order you holiday cards…. Check out our custom card creations or choose option thru your gallery shop.



~Denise, When Skies Are Grey Photography by Denise


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The Value of Generational Photography Sessions

September 10, 2021  •  2 Comments

DSC_0207Family Family where life begins and love never ends.

We all know the more people involved in anything the more stressful the planning can be! As a KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetie) kind of girl, I am the first to shy away from the big plan of getting the entire family, the his… the hers…the theirs….the thems…the everybody…. all together for that BIG production of an event with one exception…….. a portrait! The generational portrait is one big production that the benefit and value outweigh the stress and complication. And what if the stress and complication vanished and all that remained was this big 16X20 Canvas of the entire family … laughing … all together … and having fun? Sound impossible? Well, it’s not and the value is immeasurable. 

So, what’s stopping you?

The where? 

The when? 

The what? 

The who? 

The how to? 

Enter …. ME!

Let me guide your family thru the process. From the color scheme to the laughs, let me take you to the immeasurable portrait in every family members’ home. This treasure isn’t just for the family of today either it’s a legacy for generations to come.  


As a memory maker, I value photos of the past possibly more than the ones in the moment. A photos power stops time. It allows for the viewer to go to that moment to react and take in the details of that second in time. Who hasn’t looked at a family photo and said oh my goodness look what dad was wearing or can you believe how small I was now I’m 6’ 7”…. all my clients just chuckled as they envisioned me on my stool all 5 feet three quarters of an inch of me! A generational photo allows future generations to take in the culture, the fashion, and trends of the time as well as see their family.  I know you all love that feeling you get when you see that Facebook memory or TimeHop reminder come up from 5 years or 10 years ago. Sometimes just looking thru a photo album … (hopefully you still put your photos in albums) can remind you of Grandma’s perfume or Grandpa’s cologne. It’s amazing how the brain works! A photograph can literally trigger the 5 senses of a memory. 

DSC_0780-18Grandparents are a delightful blend of laughter, caring deeds, wonderful stories, and love.


Now I’ve convinced you …. What next? 

Step 1 Let’s chat

Step 2 Contact the family! Put that Family Group Messenger in action. AND don't forget the PETS! Schedule the date. 

PRO TIP… if little ones are involved consider nap times, if pets are involved take them for a walk before to get their energy out. 

Step 3 Check out the color palette guide. The last thing you want is everyone wearing clashing clothing! 🤣 Consider having each smaller family group wearing their own color. Of course you can go with neutrals tans, white,  grey & black to show cohesiveness. But don’t be afraid of adding color and complimenting colors to show the personality in your family dynamic. You can even have family shirts made. Whatever choice you make I am here for guidance along the way so the end result is valued by all. 

Step 4 HAVE FUN! I know I know we all want that perfection but remember some of the most perfect photos are the authentic in the moment ones where you aren’t trying so hard.

So RELAX … laugh a little and have fun! 

DSC_6748Pets are Family tooTime Spent Together Creates Memories


As always YOU make me Happy when YOU choose When Skies Are Grey Photography by Denise 

Tips & Tricks for Capturing that First Day of School

August 17, 2021  •  1 Comment

Calling all MOM-arazzi's & DAD-arazzi's!!!

They are already starting whether it's the College Students heading into their dorms or Pre-K thru Seniors our social media feeds are filling with those soooo important 1st Day of School Pictures!  We all know how much we treasure looking back on those first day of school pictures but we really realize how much we love them when we don’t get to take them anymore. 

So here’s a few tips and tricks to capture those moments and make the memories of your child’s school career! Because before you know it those 12+ years will be gone. 

  1.  For little ones maybe have them sit on a step or lean against a wall. This helps the antsy moves and any first day nerves. BONUS… stairs   are a great place to pop a sign up with all their first day stats! Looking for a sign, check out this  Chalkboard Back to School StatsDon’t fear the close up! Have them sit down and prop their hands under their chin and look up at you! First Day of SchoolFirst Day of SchoolFirst Day of School Photo
  2. Now you don't just have to focus on that crazy hectic morning. Make it a full day theme and snap candid pictures from the clothes laid out to the goodnight kiss! Sometimes the best moments you capture are the candid ones where you aren’t saying say Cheese….PRO TIP…. stop saying cheese! 😆 it actually makes the face unflattering in lots of cases. 
  3. Don’t think the front door is the only place … Use a tree, garden  or florals to spruce up the scene. Make sure to put the sun behind your child if you don’t have a shaded spot. No one wants squinty eyes or worse yet a child yelling the sun is in my eyes. 
  4. If taking inside shots try to position by a window or with a doorway. This allows for natural light.
  5. Get some Props! Get a Custom Sign or try a little nostalgia and each year have your child hold their first first day picture and watch that growth from the first year to the twelfth year. Wanna try something so fun, grab an Adult Sized Shirt with their Class of and each year let them grow into it! 
  6. No one says mom, dad or the siblings can’t crash the 1st day picture party so grab a selfie when you have a silly moment. and bring in the whole family or some of their friends at the bus stop. DON"T forget the pets!
  7. School PhotosSchool Photos Don’t just put them up on social media and let them fade away in the virtual world print one from every year and display them BONUS you now have your first decoration for their Graduation Party!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Last HAVE FUN with it! Last year we became Empty Nesters … insert crocodile tears….while it was a super emotional moment seeing my baby leave nest and head to college I played it up big getting her sister to take some silly pictures of us to make the transition a little more   of a laughable moment! So grab that BYE BYE sign or bottle of wine and make those moments laughable.   Empty NestersEmpty Nesters

    Now there’s always a moment we want captured by a professional. If you want some Back To School professional images Let's Chat! If you are homeschooling or looking for a little more in those school pictures this year we can create some wonderful memories for all ages. And don’t forgot those Senior Experiences. From the Snappy Quick to the Paparazzi Package When Skies Are Grey Photography by Denise can create those Senior Moments tailored to your Senior.

         As always you make me happy for choosing When Skies Are Grey Photography by Denise !


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