Love It! Hate It! Time Off

Love It! Hate It!

I’m late this week but I know several people that really like this column so I decided not to skip it this week!


Love It!

1. White Oak Animal Hospital! –  I want to give a big shout out to our wonderful vets at WOAH!  We switched to them last year when Maxie was going nuts and my previous vet kept giving me handouts and tranquilizers that were not working.  I was desperate and posted to FB asking for recommendations on an animal behaviorist, Karen Pearlman another local photog and animal lover pointed me to WOAH because they have a few on staff.  They were able to give us a prescription for doggie Xanax which has literally saved Maxie’s life and my sanity.  She was breaking out of the house through the windows and it was just a matter of time before she seriously  hurt herself.  Since then we’ve been back for annual shot visits, plus a couple sick puppy visits.  Not only has the staff been wonderful and gotten the girls fixed up right away but they are about half the cost of my old vet if not more.  I seriously no longer cringe when they give me the estimate.  So if you are in the Fredericksburg or Stafford area I highly recommend WOAH, it is worth the drive!  I’m happy that vet visit bills no longer resemble luxury car payments!

2.  Time off! – When booking weddings for this season I made sure to give myself at least one Saturday a month off.  This gives me a week to play catch up on whatever outstanding tasks I have from previous weddings.  That is this week for me and I’m so thankful for it!  Shooting weddings is not a one day gig, for every hour of shooting I spend 2-3 more hours behind the computer working on that wedding.  So that 8 hour wedding is actually a 40 hour workweek for me sometimes more!  Taking a break once a month keeps me happy and sane!  No one wants a crazy stressed out photographer on their wedding day 🙂

3.  SmugMug! – This year I switched my online gallery system to SmugMug and I’m so happy I made the change!  Previously I hosted my own cart and fulfilled my own orders.  This became a huge pain when I would get an order for one 5×7 yet my lab minimum was for a lot more then just that 5×7.  Not to mention I was packaging and shipping all those single 5×7 orders.  At Christmas I found myself not having the time to do my own shopping until Dec 23rd!!!!  I’m never that girl.  So I knew something had to change.  Now when orders are placed via my SmugMug site SmugMug does all the lab orders, packaging and shipping for me!  I just collect a check and pay them a percentage.  Now some might argue that they don’t like paying a percentage but for me it is TOTALLY worth it!!!  I’m actually getting more orders for larger amounts then I ever did on my own.  I’ll do a photographers post about SmugMug later this summer to give you all my impressions of it.


Hate It!

1. Hurt puppy! – Our latest trip to WOAH was for Sadie Mae who had an infection on her neck we guess from her collar rubbing at the lake this weekend.  She has meds and is getting all fixed up not but she doesn’t understand what’s going on.  All she knows is that when she tried to scratch it Mommy yelled at her and then put a pair of Daddy’s socks on her paws.  She just looks plain miserable and sad and it makes me sad 🙁

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    Melissa Arlena is an award winning Richmond and Charlottesville photographer. She recently earned her Master Photographer Certification in the Maternity, Newborn & Family categories from the National Association of Professional Child Photographers. Melissa offers maternity, lifestyle newborn, and family photography in her relaxed, natural, and joyful style.


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