2015 Holiday Cards!

2015 Holiday Cards!

Holiday Card Season is here!  I have some fun and beautiful card designs ready to personalize just for you!

Options include:
Size:  5x7  folded or flat cards
Type:  Folded (customization on all 4 sides) or a Flat Card (customization on front and back)
Paper Types: These are professionally press printed and feel and look beautiful!   Two options are available:  a semi-gloss smooth or ‘green’ art  linen paper.  ‘Green’ art linen has a  fine linen texture which  adds a feeling of quality to your cards.  It also contains recycled fibers and is created using wind-power.
Proofs are sent via email

Pricing (sets include envelopes)
Folded:   #25 – $105, pricing on all additional sets is 25% off
Flat Cards:   #25 – $80, pricing on all additional sets is 25% off

Order deadline is December 5th!  If you need your gallery re-opened to order your holiday card,  just drop me an email at barbara@sharethejoyphotography.com.

Design #1

Design #2







Keeping your Memories Safe!

My heart skips a beat when I hear another photographer anxiously asking for assistance after a hard drive failure and their images were not fully backed up.  I feel that professional photographers have a serious responsibility to make sure client images are available for the amount of time they commit.  Some photographers keep files only until purchases are complete and then their files are purged.  I keep my client files indefinitely.  This is quite a challenge to my peace of mind and has resulted in a fairly extensive (not to mention expensive!) process!  But when I received another one of  ‘those’ call in December from a client from 3 years ago who had just lost their beloved dog and I could quickly access more images for them to cherish forever, my goal was again validated!

So for those interested, this is how I sleep well at night knowing my client and personal images are safe.

  • It all starts with the digital cards.  I only use professional grade, high capacity compact flash and SD cards from very reputable companies. The high capacity of the cards  means I do not need to switch out cards during a normal session reducing the possibility of losing or damaging a card. card pics
  • My two cameras (Nikon D800 and D3s) each have dual card slots.  This means every time I depress the shutter, two copies of the image are automatically stored.  So at the session itself,  if a card should fail, the back-up card has the images.

card camera

  • The next step in the process is downloading the images for processing.  As soon as I return from a session, images are copied to a LaCie 3tb external drive from one of the cards.   That card, with the images still intact, is then stored in my locked safe in a very fancy storage device.  Ok, not so fancy, but it keeps out dust and dog hair! This card is not used again until the session images are stored in at least two locations. The duplicate card in the camera is reformatted and put back into use.

Two card slots for on-site back-up

  • My LaCie drive (and my three other LaCie external drives) are continually being backed-up to a 16tb LaCie Quadra drive. These are the primary and back-up drives which I use:

  • The next step in my back-up process is off-site storage.  All my files prior to 2015 are stored in a friend’s safe on small and efficient Western Digital Drives.  I keep an additional copy of 2015 files on one of these drives in my safe.

  • This year I began something new to allow immediate storage offsite.  I tested this in 2014 and have been very happy with it!  My 2015 files are also stored  in one of Amazon’s data centers using their Amazon Glacier Service.  Once a client’s files have been culled and edited they are uploaded to Amazon (all RAW, XMP and PSD formats) utilizing the Fast Glacier Pro Frontend for uploading and downloading. This service is extremely affordable ($.01 a gigabyte), but as the name ‘Glacier’ implies, it is not a service that provides immediate access to uploaded files.   You put in the request to download a file and can expect the process to take 4-5 hours.  Given all the other back-ups I have in place, this timing is completely acceptable.

Have I ever had a compact flash card or SD card fail? No.  Have I ever had one of my LaCie or Western Digital drives fail? No. But I do not think that these are the relevant questions that should drive a back-up strategy. I must assume that at some point one or more of these devices will fail.  The back-up process I have in place should do the job of safekeeping your memories even if hardware fails, a thief gets lucky, or a fire strikes!   The big weakness here is a magnitude 10 earthquake followed by a huge tsunami that wipes out my studio and my friend’s home where back up drives are kept.  Ah…the joy of living in California 7.7 miles from a major fault!   But my 2015 files are safely tucked away in an Amazon data center – not located in California.  I wonder if I would be around to access them?

I would love to hear your comments and about your own back-up strategies!


A Surprise Birthday Gift – Greta and Koda :: Benicia Pet Photographer

When I received a call from Sadie about taking photos of her mom’s most loved two dogs as a surprise birthday gift from her family, Sadie was full of questions and concerns.  The dogs are a handful.  They don’t like other people or dogs.  They won’t like you using any extra lighting.  They don’t like men (uhoh- my husband Scott assists me with outdoor sessions). No one had been able to nice pictures of the dogs….and more!  While I can certainly not guarantee anything, I could provide enough reassurance that I can handle dogs like Koda and Greta (go slow and have fun!),  that I would be able to put Mom at ease (laugh a lot), that even the most jumpy dogs do surprisingly well with my lighting, and that I would  do my homework and scout the location ahead of time so that we could go as efficiently as possible.   So with the session booked I went to work!  First I scouted the location at the Benicia waterfront (see my scouting report here) and sent some sample images so mom could see how great the location would be.

My husband and I arrived early and were sitting in the car admiring the view, when who should walk my – mom, dad and the pups!  I introduced myself and Koda tried to climb on my lap – GREAT START!

When the session began, I held off introducing Scott and instead used Dad to run with the dogs for action images.  They were on leash the whole time and had a blast.

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Then we did some posed work – well they posed like champs and even were perfect in the family image.  How gorgeous are these dogs?

Benicia-13 Benicia-12 Benicia-11 Benicia-6It was pretty clear at this point that Koda and Greta were tolerating the whole process extremely well, so I brought out the lighting.  I think Greta looks stunning in this image – this needed extra lighting to properly expose Greta against the beautiful sky.

Benicia-9And then some magic happened.  As I was adjusting settings in my camera to properly expose for this amazing sunset, Koda stepped in front of me.  This image was meant to be a test shot, a throw-away!  Instead Koda’s gorgeous silhouette was captured in front of the lovely Benicia waterfront.  Benicia

Was this a simple, typical outdoor session?  No it was not.  Koda and Greta are both excitable and get worked up around other people and dogs.  But with planning and timing, lots of help from family, many laughs and underlying incredible good natures in both of these dogs, magic can happen and a lovely moment in time can be captured forever.




Location Scouting – the Benicia Waterfront

I scout all non-home locations before sessions.  This allows me to know what the sun is doing when, what kind of lighting I need and then plan the timing of the session to be most productive.  No one wants to sit around while the photographer is trying to figure out where to go next!  And the session I had planned that would be at this location included two dogs that would need to be photographed as efficiently as possible so that they would not get over excited.

So I snagged my A-number one model and cutie-potootie Piper and her mom and headed up to the Benicia Waterfront.  We found the perfect locations for action shots, the coolest old building which would do perfectly for posed images of the dogs and their family and the best spots for the most lovely bay views.   Here are a few images from the scouting session and you can read the blog post of the session that came about as a result of this scouting with Koda and Greta here.

benicia scouting
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Pinky! Action Shots of a beautiful German Shepherd Puppy :: Bay Area Pet Photography

As a surprise for her Mom, Cassandra set up a session for Pinky – her Mom’s beautiful Puppy.  Pinky was perfect – she posed, she ran, she chased balls and best of all; her portraits made her Mom very happy!  I am often asked how I get action photos of pups. One very effective way is to have the owner throw a ball right at me!  As you can see, this was a little close for comfort but take a look at the great action shots we captured!   These images were captured on a 70-200 Nikon lens at 2.8 aperture, 1/1600 shutter speed and ISO 200 on a Nikon D3s.  I use continuous auto focus with single point focusing.  I also use back button focusing to separate the activities of depressing the shutter from the action of focusing.  My thumb manages focus and my index finger manages capture. I toggle my focus point to the eye and move my camera to keep the focus point there.  When taking action shots I do not have time to change the focus point in the middle of a sequence so I decide the composition I want at the start.   Enjoy little Miss Pinky!

Pinky Pinky-2
Such fun!