From Portrait to Products: Marcel & Penelope’s Fall Session at Phipps Conservatory

You’re going to hear me ask it every during every pre-session consultation: “How do you plan to enjoy your images after your session?”

Although some may know exactly what products they want, I’ve found that most people have no idea where to begin or that they haven’t given much thought to how they want to display their images throughout their home. While I can suggest some product recommendations, sizes, and finishes based on your home decor, your location, and the number of images you think you may want to purchase, I know many people find it helpful to see how other Bark & Gold Photography clients choose to feature their pet portraits That’s why I’m starting this From Portrait to Products series. You’ll see how we go from RAW files straight out of the camera (SOOC) to professionally digitally enhanced edits and actual client products handcrafted with archival quality in mind, sourced from around the world to bring you the crème de la crème! And what better way to kick off this series than with Marcel & Penelope’s fall session at Phipps Conservatory and the focus of this week’s Photography Blog Circle.

Meet Marcel & Penelope

“Marcel was our first dog together,” explains Natasha of her husband and hers seven-year-old Shiba Inu. “She came from a farm in Indiana, and it was love at first sight between her and my husband. Due to Marcel having eyes only for Nick, we opted to get another dog for me. I had met a Samoyed at the dog park and became rather obsessed with the breed. Not long after Penny was procured.”

Natasha told me that Marcel, who is usually quiet and observant, gets very excited to meet new people, especially children, and that Penny loves to meet new people and new animals, adding, “She thinks everything and everyone is a potential new best friend. She is in a constant state of wonderment and tugging in every direction.”

Shiba Inu and Samoyed in flowers at Westinghouse Memorial in Schenley Park

When asked about her favorite traits of Marcel and Penny, Natasha was quick to answer that “Marcel, she is very foxlike. She is basically a cat trapped in the body of a dog that resembles a fox. With Penny, [it’s her] kind eyes [that] are my favorite and her all-loving personality.”

The Session: Phipps Conservatory & Westinghouse Memorial

Marcel and Penny’s session included a few special requests from their mom, including capturing both dogs in action running through fall leaves and portraits in high grass or surrounded by flowers. Knowing that we’d find all three of these elements at Phipps Conservatory and around Westinghouse Memorial, we met there in late October to bring Natasha’s vision to reality. Penny happily bounced from location to location as the furry land cloud of happiness that she is while Marcel showed off that irresistible Shiba smile.

Shiba Inu and Samoyed at Phipps Conservatory along cobblestone path

Natasha also hoped for, as she put it, “one where the dogs are looking derpily at the camera,” specifically a closeup with just their noses in focus. How’s this for loveably derpy?

From Portrait to Products

With COVID-19 still in full swing at the time of Natasha and Nick’s reveal and ordering appointment, we opted to hold our meeting virtually rather than in person. While Natasha was initially leaning toward a digital collection and possible signature wall art piece, she quickly determined after realizing she wanted almost every image, that my silver collection, which included a standard size signature wall art piece, 10×10 fine art album, a gorgeous acrylic block, two gift prints, and a level two bonus that included the high-resolution digital files of all ordered product images, was a better fit.

The couple selected a reclaimed two-tone barnwood frame for a portrait of Marcel that now hangs in their entryway. Work your magic and transform this image from SOOC to the master retouched portrait featured in the frame. (Hey, look at you nailing that exposure, white balance, eye brightening, crop, and leash removal! You’re pretty good at this!)

Shiba Inu smiling in tall dead grass
Shiba Inu smiling in tall dead grass
raw image of Shiba Inu in tall dead grass

A simple black linen cover with photo cut-out for their album, which they personalized with Marcel and Penelope’s names, made for a classic look. Inside, nearly 30 images covered its thick pages featuring custom collages and two-page spreads that lay flat when opened. Bonus: all of the matching high-resolution digital files were included!

fine art album with black linen and page spreads featuring a Shiba Inu and Samoyed

A handful of boutique add-ons, including two gift prints, a set of three 3×3 mini accordion albums, and a stunning acrylic block rounded out their products. The image Natasha chose for her acrylic couldn’t have been more perfect with the way the sunlight crept into the corner of the frame, lighting up nearly as spectacularly as it did during their session!

So, what did Natasha have to say after receiving her products? I’ll let her tell you and leave this right here…

“Oh, my gosh! The framed photo came out better than I ever could have imagined. We already hung it up in our entry hallway. It really is perfect. Really, I just loved every item. Thank you so much.”

Natasha D.

This post is a part of a photography blog circle featuring photographers specializing in a variety of niches. To see what the next photographer is sharing for our weekly theme, “Before & After,” check out Amy Tedrow with Believe, Create, Inspire and Amy Tedrow Photography, providing one-stop photography and marketing solutions for small businesses and non-profit organizations. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.

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