Kara Mergl Photography: Blog https://www.karamerglphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Kara Mergl Photography (Kara Mergl Photography) Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:48:00 GMT Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:48:00 GMT https://www.karamerglphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u221560886-o121056764-50.jpg Kara Mergl Photography: Blog https://www.karamerglphotography.com/blog 120 120 Guest Blogger - Catie Prendergast https://www.karamerglphotography.com/blog/2022/11/guest-blogger---catie-prendergast Guest Blogger - Catie Prendergast 

Guest blogger and 2023 Pet Ambassador Catie Prendergast talks about her and her dog Bunny's experience doing a photo shoot this past summer! 


Kara and I found each other on Instagram. I had been admiring her spectacular photography skills, and she had become a fan of my dog, Bunny. It was a no brainer to collaborate!

I had never done a photoshoot with my dog before (or ever, for that matter), so I had a hard time deciding on the type of pictures I wanted, as well as the location. Kara’s expertise helped us a lot here—she suggested we focus on the bond Bunny and I have, in the neighborhood, Tribeca, that I grew up in, and where Bunny experienced puppyhood and city life for the first time. It was perfect—a very personal setting, and an area that happened to be quite photogenic.

The day of the shoot, I was nervous how Bunny would tolerate sitting still for a prolonged period of time. Even though she’s generally calm (and very used to having her photo taken, thanks to social media), doing that can be hard for any dog. I made sure we had a nice, long morning walk, plus a robust fetch/play session to burn some of her energy.

When Kara arrived, Bunny was so excited to see her! Kara instantly makes dogs feel comfortable and at ease. Kara’s calm, professional demeanor helped quickly relax Bunny. She sat alone, in my lap, and was happily held. Kara also brought treats, so Bunny felt extra special and appreciated.


Kara was so nice, timely and communicative. She guided us gently and her direction was clear. I could tell immediately her shots were going to be great. She had ideas I wouldn’t have necessarily thought of myself, but made so much sense.

When she sent us the pictures, we were blown away. They were even better than we had expected. There was a huge variety, from traditional portraits to candid look to more editorial, street style shots. In each one, she captured our deep, loving relationship, as well as Bunny’s unique, adorable personality. As cute as Bunny is, it’s not easy getting her sweet and spunky spirit to translate on camera—but Kara did so beautifully, many times DSC_0919-01DSC_0919-01 over.

I had the hardest time choosing which pictures to keep, which is the best problem to have, and the sign of a very successful shoot. Kara helped here again, offering her take on which ones really stood out. I’m so excited to share the photos, and to hang the framed print of me and Bunny in my apartment, where I can see it every day. Bunny loved her experience with Kara, and so did I. I would recommend her a hundred times over, and I can’t wait to work with her again! 





(Kara Mergl Photography) Dog Photographer Dog Photography Long Island Photographer New York Dog Photographer Pet Photographer Pet Photography https://www.karamerglphotography.com/blog/2022/11/guest-blogger---catie-prendergast Tue, 01 Nov 2022 19:00:00 GMT
Guide for First Time Pet Adopters https://www.karamerglphotography.com/blog/2022/10/guide-for-first-time-pet-adopters Guide for First-time Pet Adopters

Being a pet photographer, I know how many of you feel passionate about adopting your animals. I also often get request to volunteer my time by taking portraits of adoptable animals or donate a package to help raise money for the organization. It may surprise you to learn that I don’t always say yes.


Here’s why…When I adopted my guy, Fred, I was told by the adoption agency, “Fred is really nervous around people, he was actually kept in a cage for several years after being rescued off the streets of Brooklyn as a baby.” I was heartbroken. How could anyone do such a thing? A few months later, I learned that it was board member of the rescue who was involved with it. And, if you can believe it, she was still on the board.


Because of this, I now have specific questions I always ask and attributes that I look for in a rescue agency. But if you’re a first-time adopter, how would you know where to begin? Well, this month I asked two of my favorite pet small business owners to weigh in – Marghaerite LaMorte from Pawsitive Vibes and Amanda Gyetvay from Pawtecting Paws. Below is what they had to say.



Margherite LaMorte- Founder Pawsitive Vibes and volunteer at AMA Animal Rescue Brooklyn, NY

Having volunteered at animal shelters and also having adopted my pets from animals shelters, I’m happy to share these strategies for finding a rescue to work with.

  • Stalk them on social media! Are they transparent? How do they take care of animals? What is their community saying and commenting on?
  • Read their google reviews. Don’t just look at the overall score – read comments and see if/how they respond to negative reviews.
  • Volunteer and see what’s happening firsthand. This is probably the best way to gauge the culture of the organization.
  • Speak with volunteers at an adoption event. Have a casual conversation and ask why they like working there. You’d be surprised at how much people want to share.
  • Determine if their values align with yours. For example, if your goal is to save senior Pit Bulls, then look for rescues with that specific mission in mind.
  • Listen to your inner voice. Your intuition will usually tell you if something doesn’t feel right. Always listen to that little voice.
  • CHOOSE A BAD RESCUE. I know this sounds counter intuitive, but some cities have contracts with agencies to handle their “animal care & control”.  In many cases these are High Kill shelters because their primary goal is animal control, not adoption. If you really want to make a difference and save an animal, your best bet is to adopt from one of these agencies and get the animal out of there as soon as possible.

Once you’ve identified the rescue you want to work with, fill out an application and give them some general parameters about what you’re looking for (adult male cat, Pittie puppy, etc.). Keep the list general. Then, ask to visit the shelter so you can interact with several animals. In many cases the animal you choose will be the one that you connect with and speaks to your heart.

Another reason to not to go in with a specific animal in mind is that animals behave very differently in shelter environments than they do when they’re in a relaxed home environment. That dog you thought was a little too energetic was just sitting in a cage too long and needed to expend some energy. That cat you thought was timid was just scared of kids tapping loudly on the glass when she was trying to sleep.

Here's how my adoption experience went with my first cat:

I was adamant that I wanted a female Tuxedo kitten. My nephew had just come to visit with his Tuxedo kitten Selina Kyle and I wanted a cat EXACTLY like that. (I actually wanted Selina, but I couldn’t convince him to give her up. Go figure.). 

I trolled the usual online sites like Petfinder, Adoptapet etc, looking for the perfect cat. Lots of research, phone calls and visits later, I found the perfect Tuxedo kitten. I filled out the paperwork and expected to take her home the next day, after her last vet appointment. 

The next day, after her vet visit, the rescue informed me that she had a heart condition and they were not going to adopt her out until she got the care she needed. That could take weeks.. or years. (another sign of a good rescue – they want to do what’s best for the animal). 

To console myself, I visited another rescue to get an emotional fix. While there, I interacted with a gray and white male kitten. At 3 months old he was already a large boy.  He climbed up to my neck and started licking me. I FELL HARD. I completed the paperwork, they did the reference checks, and five hours later we were driving home. So instead of a little Tuxedo girl, I wound up with a big gray boy.  And he’s the love of my life. Once I allowed my heart to lead, the rest fell into place.



Amanda Gyetvay - Founder Pawtecting Paws


What To Look Out For When Adopting From Rescues:

It is so important to ensure that you are:

  1. Adopting from the right shelter/rescue
  2. Adopting the right fit for your family + lifestyle


A good rescue is going to ensure of this and will turn down anyone they feel would not be a good fit for their available animal. First thing first, you should be filling out a form online for the animal you are interested in adopting. Although this may be a LONG form to fill out, it is great because it shows the rescue truly cares about the animal being placed in the right home and that you are not going to harm the animal in any way.

Some questions you should consider asking the shelter:

  • Why is the dog/cat/etc here?
  • Does the dog/cat/etc have any known medical issues?
  • What is the best thing and the worst thing about this dog/cat/etc?
  • Has the dog/cat/etc been temperament tested?
  • Where do most your animals come from?
  • What happens if I cannot keep the animal I adopt?

Some things to watch out for in iffy rescues/shelters:

  • Does not let you meet the dog/cat/etc before adoption day
  • Takes animals directly from transport vehicles to adoption
  • Does not take the animal back
  • Adopts out animals younger than 8 weeks
  • Does not share/offer full proof of vaccinations
  • Adopts out animals that are not spayed or neutered
  • Staff feels more like a sales rep
  • Rushes adoptions

Some things to look for in GOOD rescues/shelters:

  • Takes care of the animal’s mental health
  • Has veterinarians support
  • Has reviews/social media proof/support


We have been in business for a little over a year and have given back to over a dozen rescues whether it was a monetary donation, products (such as treats, toys, blankets, food, etc), and have hosted an event that raised over $15,000 for a local rescue!

We are so grateful for rescues such as: Brick City Rescue, Pawsaver Rescue, Priceless Pet Rescue, No More Pain Rescue, Twenty Paws Rescue, Shore Saves Rescue, All 4 The Dogs Rescue, Taking Care of Paws Rescue, and all the amazing rescues out there who DO RIGHT by the dog/cat/animals they are taking in and finding the PAWfect homes for!


(Kara Mergl Photography) Dog Photographer Dog Photography Long Island Photographer New York Dog Photographer Pet Photographer Pet Photography https://www.karamerglphotography.com/blog/2022/10/guide-for-first-time-pet-adopters Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:32:46 GMT
Wall Hanging Hack You Didn't Know You Needed https://www.karamerglphotography.com/blog/2022/6/wall-hanging-hack Wall Hanging Hack You Didn't Know You Needed

Okay Long Island Dog Moms, I've got an easy life hack coming at you! You're going to want to write this one down.

Once you choose your favorite photographs and order your custom art, this little hack is going to save you a ton of time putting up all your new portraits.

Ever wonder how to perfectly line up your wall art so that it's not crooked?

  1. Grab some packing tape and pull a piece long enough to cover the hooks on the back of the frame.
  2. Use a sharpie marker to mark where the hooks are.
  3. Transfer the tape to the wall in the spot where you're going to hang the art.
  4. Hammer in your nails.
  5. Remove the tape and hang the art!

This also works if you're lining up several frames in a row or top to bottom. Just make sure the tape is long enough to cover all the hooks!

Check out the 10 second video below to see how it's done! 


Do you think you'll try this for you next piece of wall art? 


(Kara Mergl Photography) Custom Art Dog Photographer Dog Photography Life Hack Long Island Photographer New York Dog Photographer Pet Photographer Pet Photography Wall Art https://www.karamerglphotography.com/blog/2022/6/wall-hanging-hack Wed, 01 Jun 2022 17:58:55 GMT
Five Questions with Ananda the Unicorn Dog (and her Mom) https://www.karamerglphotography.com/blog/2022/5/five-questions-with-ananda-the-unicorn-dog-and-her-mom Five Questions with Ananda the Unicorn Dog (and her Mom)

If you’re not following Miss Ananda Rose (@ananda_theunicorndog) on Instagram you’re missing out! As a Long Island micro-influencer, Ananda and her mom Dina are not only serving amazing dog fashion (three words: tutus, crowns, and bows), but also giving back to charities and working with businesses like SwiftPaws (just seen on Shark Tank) for amazing giveaways.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dina and Ananda last summer for our first portrait session. Since Ananda is easily distracted by people (everyone is her best friend) and squirrels, we decided to do the shoot in Dina’s back yard in Huntington, Long Island.  We had a great time capturing some lifestyle shots of Dina and Ananda doing yoga and turning the backyard into a magical forest for the mythical unicorn dog herself. 

I recently had a chance to catch up with Dina and Ananda as we were planning a session for this spring at Heckscher Park and Gold Star Beach in Suffolk County. I thought it would be fun to interview her so you could hear from someone with first-hand knowledge about why she chose to work with a professional photographer, what her experience was like, and what advice she has for anyone thinking about or doing a portrait session this summer. 

Here’s what Dina had to say:


First, tell us a little about Ananda

Ananda is a beach-loving, super-friendly, blissful little girl who loves to cuddle, play with her friends, and go for walks. She is almost 3 years old and is a mixed-breed, but mostly unicorn! I adopted her back in the beginning of the pandemic and we’ve been together happily ever since. Everyone loves their dog and thinks they're special, but I think mine is the most special and I love her. Her name means blissful and it’s a perfect match for her personality. She meditates and does yoga with me, so she’s pretty much my perfect partner. She really is my soulmate. 


Ananda 3Ananda 3


Why did you decide to work with a professional photographer, especially when you have such amazing photos on your Instagram account?

I had never worked with a professional photographer before, and I already take a ton of photos of Ananda, mostly with my phone, and create DIY wall art for my home, but I knew that a professional would bring a totally different skill level and eye to the photos. After adopting Ananda I realized how important this was for me. My first dog, Kimba, was so incredibly special to me and now that she is gone I really wish that I had something that I could hold or see on my wall every day that really captures just how wonderful she was. So with Ananda, I wanted to make sure that I worked with you and invested in capturing some special memories. It was also a chance for me to actually be included in the photos too. Aside from selfies, I don’t have any pictures of us together taken by someone who actually knows what they’re doing.  


What was the experience like for you?  

Oh my gosh, we had so much fun. From the first video chat with you, we instantly connected and I could tell that you were a complete animal lover. You were full of energy and had such great ideas as we thought through the best places for us to shoot considering Ananda gets distracted easily. I just knew we were going to have a great time. And then when we met for our session, you immediately made me feel comfortable and relaxed even though I was nervous since I had never done a professional shoot before. You also immediately took the time to bond with Ananda by bringing out the treats and your bag of tricks. 

Seeing the magic behind the scenes take place was also super cool. You were able to read Ananda’s energy enough to know when she needed a little break or to change positions. Also seeing you transition really easily between different poses and us doing stuff was neat since we had talked about what kind of images I wanted out of the session. Plus, Ananda loved all the treats and toys you brought to motivate her and get her smiling.

It was also great that we only had to wait a few days until we got to see the gallery of the images. It was so hard to narrow down which ones I wanted since I loved so many of them. Even ones that I didn’t love, I still liked. You really helped me pick out a wide variety of different photos from the shoot for my folio box. It was great that you were able to recommend images based on which ones have a stronger composition and make a nice collection together. 


You mentioned your folio box, can you tell folks what that is? 

Well first of all, it was really hard to decide what I wanted because there are so many great options for displaying the photos in my house. I really liked how you helped me narrow down the best items so I could get a lot of the images I wanted. That turned out to be the folio box, which is a beautiful box with Ananda’s name etched on the front and a collection of matted 8x10 photos. We actually got a larger box so that I can grow my collection over time from different shoots and during different times throughout Ananda’s life.  


What advice do you have for anyone considering or planning a session over the summer?

I’d say, plan for what you want but don’t get stuck on a specific outcome. Really just trust Kara to get the best images, because even if you think you know how they will turn out, she has the eye to make them amazing.  You know, for example, during last year’s session when you pulled out the forest backdrop and started arranging all my plants around Ananda, it didn’t make sense to me. I thought it was cute, but I didn’t get it. I figured, well you’re the professional, so I went with it. And then I saw the photos…wow. 


Behind the ScenesTurning Dina's backyard into a magical forest. 01FDB9PVHXK1AW7W2DCHR8JG6C_2Ananda the Unicorn DogAnanda got her magical forest right in her back yard.

The behind the scenes set up in Dina's back yard and the magical forest we created for Ananda.



(Kara Mergl Photography) Dog Photographer Dog Photography Long Island Photographer New York Dog Photographer Pet Photographer Pet Photography https://www.karamerglphotography.com/blog/2022/5/five-questions-with-ananda-the-unicorn-dog-and-her-mom Thu, 05 May 2022 12:00:00 GMT
Even the Best Reviews Can Be Bittersweet https://www.karamerglphotography.com/blog/2022/2/even-the-best-reviews-can-be-bittersweet Even the Best Reviews Can Be Bittersweet

I've had several clients reach out in the months following our sessions to let me know that their sweet pups had passed away. It’s never easy to hear the news and I mourn for each of their losses. Our dogs and out pets are incredibly important to our families, and having to say good-bye is never easy.

I was both grateful and sad when I woke up recently to a beautiful review from Liz. She wrote:

A portrait of Charlie, a small brown dachshund with graying fur around his nose and eye. He stands in a small patch of dark green grass facing forward. The front of his body take of most of the portrait. CharlieCharlie


Kara did such a great job capturing our family. Corralling two toddlers and a dog who was deaf for picture-perfect photos is not an easy task, but she captured all of their personalities so well. She even went with it when the kids and dog all chose to jump in the Hudson River (safely, of course, at Hoboken’s Maxwell Beach). Kara really captured our sweet Charlie’s personality. He recently passed, so having this last family photo shoot with him is so special for us.



It is absolutely true that both kids and Charlie ended up in the Hudson River that beautiful summer day at the end of July. The session was a blast! The kids had a great time and when they were no longer interested in posing for portraits, we snapped the best images of them playing with Charlie, jumping off of rocks, and splashing in the river with their very good doggo. 

And that’s just the thing. A photograph is never about the image itself. It's about the memories you carry forward. It's about the day your dog and the kids jumped into the Hudson River, spending evenings with your dogs on his favorite spot on the back porch, or remembering how your scared foster fail ended up living her best life!

Because of this, my pet photography sessions are specifically designed to make sure that it's not just about beautiful artwork, but about evoking the love and memories you will always carry long after your goodbyes. If you have a senior dog, now's the time to book your session and capture your memories together 🐶.


Clarke FamilyClarke Family


(Kara Mergl Photography) Dog Photographer Dog Photography Equine Photography Long Island Photographer New York Dog Photographer Pet Photographer Pet Photography Senior Dog https://www.karamerglphotography.com/blog/2022/2/even-the-best-reviews-can-be-bittersweet Tue, 01 Feb 2022 14:00:00 GMT
Allow Me to (Re) Introduce Myself https://www.karamerglphotography.com/blog/2022/1/allow-me-to-re-introduce-myself Allow Me to (Re) Introduce Myself

Hello! I thought this was a good time to re-introduce myself for the new folks around here. This is my favorite selfie of me and my guy, Fred.

Photo of Caucasian female from the waste up. She is wearing a black turtleneck sweater and a white baseball hat, with a pair of blue glasses and long pink earrings. She has her arm around a cat that is mostly black with a white chest and chin. The cat is leaning into her with the top of his head on her cheek.My best guy, Fred!My best guy, Fred!           A little about me!

          1. I've been doing photography for over 20 years! (Let's assume I started when I was 7, because I'm not ready to admit my age today 😂)! And launched my pet photography business here in New York in 2020. Before that I spent many years studying film photography techniques, working in dark rooms, and shooting street and travel photography only to turn around and...

          2. Become a social worker! (true fact) Even now I spend my day job working on social issues,  primarily focused housing and community-based services, but have also worked in the foster care system, on food access issues, and in animal welfare! After launching my pet photography business though, I realized just how much joy I found in pet photography. I’m working on a five-year plan to transition completely to photography so I can live my joy every day!

          3. I was born in Pennsylvania outside of Pittsburgh (where are my yinzers at), but have lived in New York City for 15 years! I'm gearing up to move to Long Island (maybe not a far move, but a big move for sure!) in the coming weeks. I plan to expand my business to cover all the way from NYC to the Hamptons (plus, kicking off the 2022 Pet Ambassadors search)!

          4. This is my 
#1 guy, Fred. I adopted him 2.5 years ago. Prior to Fred, my best gal pal for 14 years was another black and white kitty names Belle. And turtles (yes turtles) that someone gifted to me and I named Penelope and Odysseus. As I mentioned above, I’ve worked in animal welfare and have studied animal behavior and animals in society. Having this background helps extensively when photographing your pets. It gives me an edge in following behavioral cues and knowing when your dog is ready for photos and when she needs to take a break. Plus, it also means that I’m always advocating for what’s best for your pets, even when my camera is down. 

I'm so happy to be here with you!


(Kara Mergl Photography) Dog Photography New York Dog Photographer Pet Photography https://www.karamerglphotography.com/blog/2022/1/allow-me-to-re-introduce-myself Mon, 31 Jan 2022 23:21:40 GMT