Bunnies and Chicks in photos…cute but is it legal???


Since I first began my business in 2010, I had pondered about adding bunnies and chicks to photography session for that little added awwwweeee….but after doing much thinking and research I decided it may not be a great idea.  For many reasons but the top three being  the license to use animals, the fear of children hurting the animals and fear of the animals hurting the children. 

Some other important things to put into consideration are the following:

  1. The use of a live animals such as bunnies in photography requires a license from the federal government’s USDA. You can see this under  Licensing and Registration Under the Animal Welfare Act. The Federal Government can get you into some serious trouble if you fail to obtain your license.
  2. Animals are often hurt by the little clients.  I’m sure the little clients don’t mean any harm…they just want to show them love.  Sometimes the harm is done by pulling, squishing (hugging) and being sat upon.
  3.  If any animal is hurt, injured or killed, the fines are serious and a they can ban the photographer from doing business permanently.
  4. Rabbits are delicately structured animals whose spines, legs or ears can break just from being held improperly without much effort.  There have also been reports that  rabbits can become so  stressed they will die of heart failure right on the spot. Not only does having an animal injured or dying during the session result in fines and my business being banned it also doesn’t produce the best childhood experience. Who wants photos of their child crying during their session??
  5. Animals often panic when handled by children; a frightened rabbit or chick can scratch the child causing lacerations which in return can result in infections.  A child may also get startled and drop the animal which will result in the animal getting hurt or in the worse case killed.
  6. Bunnies and chicks can carry diseases such as Salmonella and Tularemia
  7. PETA looks for these activities during the year.  Studios such as  JCPenney and Olan Mills do not use  live animals as “props” for these reasons. I assure you PETA are on the look out for photographers who post on Facebook these kinds of photos and advertisements.
  8. Also not to mention The session can become a little crazy with little clients chasing around the bunnies and chicks that are trying to get away.  I know how much I run after just a little client imagine adding animals to that chaos.  It will slowly become a non conductive photo shoot.
  9. Baby animals will make a mess.  They will poop and/or urinate in the portrait studio.  I would have to immediately stop the session to clean up. Not only will I have to stop the session to clean up the animal may be near your child when it does its business, or perhaps even sitting on his/her lap.  So you would have to bring a change of clothes.  Imagine the Easter dress or suit…do you want to buy a second one just in case??

Family pets may be incorporated into photographic sessions without a license.  The only animals I do allow are family pets.  Family pets may be incorporated into photographic sessions without a license.  You must have an established relationship with your pet.  You can not go out and buy/ borrow a rabbit or chick just for the photo only to return it or sell it a day after.

Chicks are able to be used in photos without a license but because of CDC recommendations such as no child under the age of 5 to handle baby chicks because of the high risk of salmonella.  I will allow the client to bring their own chicks in but the will agree to sign a contract and waiver that I will not be responsible for any injuries or sickness that may occur.  Little clients will not be able to hold the chicks they will be placed in a designated baskets just for chicks and placed further away out of reach of the little client.

With everything being said I hope you all understand my reasoning for not allowing live rabbits, chick, etc in Spring/Easter photos.   I hope you all can trust that I can capture those lasting Easter/Spring memories without the use of live animals.


Kelly Long   owner and operator of Kelly Long Photography


Tis the season for forgetting the true meaning of the season.

To Whom it May Concern,

What is the true meaning of the Christmas season? I believe it is finding the joy of the season and spending time with the family.  Ever since I was younger Christmas didn’t mean presents under the tree.  Well of course it was always nice to wake up and find a few gifts there from Mr. Clause as we all know him as.  “With 5 sisters and 3 brothers you can’t expect Santa to bring you all the toys you wanted” I remember my mom saying.  Most Christmases we each got 5 gifts, 7 if you count the two that were signed for all of us to share.  The ones to share were mostly board games or a sled.  The 5 gifts were small such as gloves and hats, coloring books, viewfinder, or a baby doll, I can remember being happy with what I received, I had the understanding that Santa wasn’t able to bring the big gifts.  My young mind thought Santa gave to the houses that had fewer kids the bigger better stuff.  We never had the newest game system, a TV for our rooms, or the fancy dolls that walked or talked.  We got board games to share, clothes to dress us, and the only fanciness about the doll was that it opens and closed its eyes.  I can say in confidence that when I was younger that I knew what the joys of Christmas is about.  I knew as a child that it wasn’t about the gifts.  Christmas was a day out of the year that I enjoyed that we got to spend a day together laughing, playing the new board games, sharing each other’s toys, and enjoying a meal as a family.  Growing older I continued to see holidays as a day to spend with each other and be happy with what we have as a family.  So as I grow older and a little wiser I come to question, “Why is it that on Black Friday, the day after we give thanks for what we have, we get that urge to stand in long lines to get that newest game system and to get the $100 marked down TV that will be on sale next week also?”  With the over advertising of toys and the pushing of the Christmas season at retail stores it’s hard not to fall into the madness of the season, which I would like to call it.  I shamefully found myself in recent events doing the same thing.  There was a photo contest being held by the local mall that I entered.  $200 for the 1st place winner!!!  Oh I got this I thought to myself.  The contest started November 15 at noon.  11:30 I took the kids to the studio with a snap, snap, snap took a few photos!!!!  A little after 12 I had a photo posted…..Yes, First one to post!!!!  That gave me that head start that I needed.  So I began to share the photo like a crazy woman.  Please VOTE for this photo I wrote to everyone on my friends list.  I shared it on my fan page, I shared it on my wall, I shared it on others wall.  The votes climbed and continued to climb throughout the day.  I watched everyone’s numbers to make sure no one was getting close to me.  If I noticed someone was I would share some more. November 18 I noticed someone climbing up in votes…nearly a vote a minute.  How is this possible?!?!  It took me 3 days to get 200 votes and this person found a way to get 200 votes in less than 5 hours, really?!?!  As she scooted into 1st place by the time I went to bed.  Losing 1st place didn’t have me upset as much as how I lost 3 days spending time with my family because I was constantly looking at the site from the computer and my phone.   I let the greed of the holiday season devour me.  I can’t get those 3 days back with my family.  Those 3 days of not going out with the family in the yard to play or leave the house because I didn’t want anyone to get above my votes…those 3 days are gone.  It’s so easily to get consumed into the madness of the holiday season.  Don’t let it happen to you like it currently happened to me.  Take time to step away this Christmas season and look at the madness from the outside don’t get involved with it.  See how crazy people get over winning and getting that last discounted TV on the shelf.  Don’t rush your Thanksgiving dinners so you can make it out at 6pm to get that discounted item.  Take time with you family, enjoy it; soak up every minute of it.  You don’t know what next year is going to hold…there maybe one less person there next year.  What are you going to remember the most, the memories spent with your family or the discount you got that night?  What would be missed the most if it wasn’t here next year that special someone or family member or the gift you bought for that person??  If you do decide to go out on Thanksgiving shopping don’t expect every cashier or worker to be extremely happy to be working on Thanksgiving.  You don’t know their story; you don’t know what they are missing at home maybe it’s a dinner with a family member that is diagnosed with cancer and won’t live to see the next dinner with the family, maybe it’s a family member on leave from service and leaving the next day.  If that cashier or worker isn’t smiling take a moment and just think would you want to be working on Thanksgiving?? You answer is more likely NO because you would miss out on all the wonderful deals you are getting.  Right??    I know the prices are so right and it’s so tempting.  Believe me I thought about it.  I started looking at the leaked ads for Thanksgiving night.  They look so good but spending time with my family….oh so much better.   Now I’m not saying don’t go out shopping on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. That is not what I’m trying to say.  What I’m saying is don’t rush time that can be spent with family to be consumed into the craziness of the season and don’t expect the workers to be at their happiness when working on the holidays either.   You can see how I was able to let a little Christmas photo contest consume my days away from my children and my husband.  I have the contest sitting with the current shares that I have done. I will not be sharing or asking anyone else to vote.  I made a decision that if there is a chance I should win all the winnings will be donated somehow.  I won’t let the madness of the Christmas season overcome me.  I want to feel the joy of Christmas as I did as a child.  I write this blog today to open eyes to those that may find themselves completely overwhelmed by the season.  If at any moment you find yourself being consumed by the hustle and bustle of the holidays take a moment, step back, reflect and ask yourself  “what is the true meaning of holiday season?”  I hope everyone finds joy this Christmas season and not madness. 

With Love

Kelly Long




This is a picture of the submitted photo for the contest =D  

Contest Entry – Photography Idol — Chic Critique Forum {Kelly Long Photography}

CHIC CRITIQUE is a photography forum and magazine that is a great place to go to find confidence in your work as an artist.  Critiques are an amazing way to step back from your own work and listen to what others have to say about what they see and would change.  Sometime artists and photographers can get lost in their work but we are constantly learning and getting better at what we do.  Critiques and constant education of photography allows me to grow as an artist and professional photographer. CHIC CRITIQUE offers both photography education and critiques.  It is  a wonderful forum for beginners and professionals alike.   If you haven’t checked it out, what are you waiting for?!?!    You won’t regret it.  Every year they hold a “Photography Idol” contest.  I’m overly excited about entering this year.  I had a hard time choosing the image I wanted to portray my “style”.  After much thought, I choose the image below from a recent shoot that I did.  I absolutely loved the golden hues that were cast during taking the image.  I enjoyed taking this picture because it allowed me to use my creativity and put an artistic “spin” on this image.  I love doing images that are different from the ordinary look at me and smile photos.


You can check out more of the entries and enter yourself too at this link : http://chiccritiqueforum.com/PHOTOGRAPHY-IDOL-2013/

What to Wear

After booking many sessions the next question I always get is, what should we wear???

The Dos

  1. Coordinate your outfits don’t match

Think of it as decorating your living space.  You don’t want all black pillows on your black couch?? Right?!?   The will simply blend together…you want something that will stand out from each other.

  1. Use colors and prints together

For example black and white print pillows on top of the black couch.  Then for a third element you throw in some shades, a gray rug and a vanilla color lamp.  You getting a vision??

Now image your family wearing these colors and prints.  Dad in a gray shirt and jeans, Mom in a black dress, Daughter in a black & white print dress, Son in a vanilla color sweater and jeans.   Ahhhh…..everyone in a different color or print….you feel like you can breath.  Trust me before I knew anything about coordinating outfits, I myself made the mistake of wearing all the same color for a family photo.  We all wore black shirts and jeans.  My poor sister in the middle looked like a floating head….ooops.

  1. Accessorize with bracelets and necklaces, but don’t overdo it.   For maternity and seniors layering is a great idea.  A jacket layer can add definition and allows another layer of clothing to simply play with, for example taking it off throwing over your back for seniors or pulling it back to show the baby bump.
  2. Dress for location and season
  3. Keep make up natural and light
  4. Shoes

I’m all for a sassy pair of shoes, however they may make for a very long and painful session.  If you plan on wearing heels, be sure to bring a pair of flats or flip flops that can help you get from point A to point B without any pain.  You can just swap them out as you need to

  1. Remember to be comfortable and be yourself.

Now The Don’ts

1.  Avoid the bright warm colors on the top for example dark red, bright orange, and bright yellow.  These colors will cause a color shadow on the face that would be hard to remove.

2. Don’t over accessorize.  Simple is better

3. Don’t set yourself in a time.  Pick timeless clothes.  That belly shirt may be in style now but come 10 years from now you will be asking yourself WHY?!?!

Now onto examples;

what to wear_V4Issue1_2013

what to wear_V4Issue3_2013

what to wear_V4Issue9_2013

what to wear_V4Issue10_2013