Sashay Photography was born from my love of photographing shelter pets. When I first began working at the Lenawee Humane Society in 2005, finding homes for abandoned animals was difficult. We had to convince adopters to walk through the doors of our shabby shelter, look past the rusted chain kennels and envision the stressed out, barking dogs as well-behaved companions who needed them. Animals waited for months, sometimes longer, for their miraculous day to finally happen. Adoptions were few and far between, and we averaged about 300 adoptions a year.

A website was an unused commodity we had but didn’t update much. With our scarce resources and full workload, who had the time? When we finally switched to a new internet-based animal database, a whole new world opened. We could upload photos of our homeless pets and they were automatically featured on our website through this database. We found that when we uploaded cute photos and added in a catchy description, adopters could finally envision what the shelter couldn’t spotlight – these pets were perfectly imperfect and could make perfect family pets.

Our shelter transitioned to a new executive director in 2012 and new changes began, turning Lenawee Humane Society into a transparent organization ready to connect with the community we desperately depended on. Knowing just how crucial internet presence had become, our new executive director created a communications position in 2013 and asked me to fill it. I was stoked. I could finally focus on saving lives through a newly designed website and social media presence. But I needed more.

In order to stop people in their tracks and convince them to help an animal dying from heartworm disease, to attend a major fundraiser, or to volunteer their time with us, we had to capture their interest first. Our point-and-shoot cameras were no longer enough.

Hollie Smith (Hollie Smith Photography) began volunteering her time to take stunning photos of our shelter pets. She captured them gazing up at the camera with a soft head tilt or wearing sunglasses against a brightly colored background. She captured each personality perfectly and would pay special attention to animals who had been with us the longest, finally helping them land the forever home of their dreams. Every time Hollie came, she taught me about her massive Nikon (compared to my tiny Canon Powershot!), what things like aperture and ISO meant, and the capabilities of different lenses. I was hooked.

My photography journey officially began with the arrival of my very own Nikon D7000 in 2014. It took several weeks to learn the basics of my new monstrosity, but Hollie answered every question I had and soon I was in love with the art of photography. It wasn’t long before I was shooting on manual, gauging the way light affected the tone of my photos, and creating the types of images I envisioned in my head. I was making a difference and helping save lives through my camera. I couldn’t get enough.

Soon, friends and family members were asking if I took photos of people too. I figured it couldn’t be that hard. People knew how to sit, right? That was half the battle with my current subjects, so I figured it’d be a breeze compared to what I was used to.

I quickly learned that although people (ages 10+) DO sit when asked, they also need the person behind the lens to make them look amazing. People need to trust that their best angles are being captured, relaxed and naturally. Perfectly imperfect candids, if you will. Although difficult, I knew this was the type of “magic” I wanted to capture and offer back to the world.

Here, you’ll find the types of photography I offer today. Although pet photography is still my favorite, I love capturing the joy between a newly engaged couple, their wedding day, and their life beyond. Browse through galleries and contact with me questions about availability and pricing. I’d love to capture part of your world as well.

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