Kate Farrell Photography

Family & Dog photographer
Burlington, stowe & Northern Vt




A Vermont Family Lifestyle Photographer’s Gratitude

November 2023, already! As the year draws to a close, I feel a deep sense of gratitude for my career change a few years back from high school science teacher to dog and family lifestyle photographer.

Portrait of a family and their dogs near Stowe Vermont taken by a family lifestyle photographer.

Most of my blog posts are a bit more about my business: how it works, what to expect when you work with me and how to prepare for your photo session. But, I’m sharing a bit more about myself in this season of gratitude.

Most of all this year, I’m grateful for my family’s health!

If you’ve been around for a while, you may recall that I was in a bad accident last summer. I was back to work in the fall and feeling strong again, but it was really scary, especially for my kids. I’m fine and probably the biggest fan of bike helmets you’ll ever meet!

This year, my sweet pup Willow had surgery on both knees in March and then my husband had surgery on his spine in April. It was a tense spring to say the least! But, both have healed miraculously. I never thought I’d be so grateful for a simple family dog walk, but when we can coordinate schedules and all get out for an afternoon romp, my world feels at peace and I’m filled with gratitude.

Portrait of my chocolate Labrador with fall foliage behind, by lifestyle family photographer Kate Farrell.

I’m grateful for my clients who trust me to be their family lifestyle photographer.

I am honored when people share kind words about my work or are moved enough by my work to hire me. Honestly, it’s humbling because, just like anyone can write some words, anyone can take some pictures. It’s an honor to have my work held to the level of Photographer. And, I hope my clients love my use of composition and color, the moments I capture and the action I freeze.

Close up of a family in the spring by lifestyle family photographer, Kate Farrell.

But, the part I’m most grateful for is the trust my clients have in me. I often find myself photographing families going through tough times — a spouse with Alzheimer’s, a dog in kidney failure, the first birthday that followed a difficult delivery, raising a neurodivergent child. These families know their stories matter and they ask me to help tell them. This part of my job is such a natural extension of last few years as a teacher where at least half of my students had special needs.

As a teacher, my goal was always to meet each student where they were and help them grow. It is my goal everyday as a home school mom. Likewise, as a photographer, when I photograph clients with special needs, I strive to create a comfortable environment. I always hope that my clients will not just love the images we create, but also have fond memories of creating them.

Family Lifestyle Photo of a couple with their small dog.

Being a family lifestyle and pet photographer is fun!

Being a teacher was really rewarding, but it wasn’t often fun. Side note: being a home school mom is both fun and rewarding! (And, of course, hard too.) In contrast being a pet and family lifestyle photographer is often plain ol’ fun!

Mother and daughter laughing, a lifestyle family photography example.

Portrait of four dogs taken in Northern Vermont.

In my work, I get to share belly laughs with toddlers. I hear 5 year old kids say the darnedest things like “I was born in You Nork City!” I help parents celebrate the families they’ve built. I get to hang out with dogs and photograph them playing. And, we get to do it all in beautiful Vermont under pretty light! Without fail, I leave my sessions feeling like I’ve just made new friends. While editing always takes longer than I hope it will, I often find myself smiling as I work through the images and recall how we enjoyed our time together. So, thank you to all my clients who make my photo sessions so enjoyable!

Portrait of a family in Jericho Vermont in early spring.

A couple near Stowe, Vermont with their two puppies.

I’m grateful to my family lifestyle clients who invite me to beautiful places.

My photo sessions are all scheduled about two hours before sunset in beautiful locations. I’m always on the lookout for new locations, but often clients come to me with ideas. Sometimes home is the best place fore a session and I’m grateful to have spent evenings among beautiful gardens, adventurous Vermont backyards and scenic views.

Father and son on a beach near Lake Champlain. Family Lifestyle Photography.

I’ve also appreciated being introduced to new parks and natural areas. One of my favorite things is finding a special new-to-me place not far from home. I also love sharing these places with family, friends and clients. Luckily one or the other happens often in my work as a dog and family lifestyle photographer.

I’m grateful and proud to be running a growing small business in Vermont.

Kate Farrell Photography grew about 50% over last year. I’m booking more clients, bringing in more revenue and becoming a better photographer. It’s an exciting time!

Deciding to start a business in January 2020 meant that within months things got put on hold. Our subsequent transition to home school meant that my business had to grow slowly for a while. But, I’m cleared for take off and excited for more growth in 2024!

Mother and her toddler son in the fall in Essex Vermont.

I’m grateful to the many people who have helped me so far with business, marketing, photography and more. Coming from a 19 year career as a science teacher, I had lots to learn just to get started as an artist and entrepreneur. Now, I realize how much more there is to learn to improve my art and grow my business. Let’s just say, I don’t expect to be bored anytime soon and the weeks are zipping by!

I’m grateful for my new(ish) gravel bike!

Yeah, the road bike got demoted to Zwift only and my amazing husband built me a gravel bike this spring. It’s the most comfortable bike I’ve ever had and I was lucky get out most days over the summer, even doing a handful of rides over three hours.

Being purposefully part-time as a family lifestyle photographer means I can also home school my kids.

I take a limited number of sessions each month so that I can also be a home school mom. Obviously, having two jobs isn’t easy. And, yes, I plan to continue with both for the foreseeable future. Long-time readers will recall that our transition to home school was a bit unexpected. But, here we are and it is working well for us.

Of course, the time in-session is only a small fraction of the time I spend on each gallery. But, since much of my work is very flexible (I’m writing this blog post while my family sleeps), I am able to do both.

While I’m grateful for so much, I also hold space for the tough stuff.

Today, I’ve shared some of the many things I’m grateful for in this season of thanksgiving.

But, I also want to acknowledge that being grateful does not mean I turn a blind eye to the weight of the world or the myriad challenges my own family has faced. Learning to hold the challenge in one hand and gratitude in the other takes a lifetime, I think. But, I also know that making steady progress on this one has been invaluable.

Man in the grass with his dog. His smile is huge and he is genuinely happy. Northern Vermont.

Sometimes, I have to thank my clients for showing me the way on this one! As I get to know the families I photograph, almost universally, I am inspired to be a kinder, more loving, more fun and more grateful human. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Northern Vermont: a woman sits with her dog with a beautiful sunset behind and off to the side.

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Kate Farrell is a professional lifestyle family and dog photographer based in Williston, Vermont, serving Burlington, Stowe and Northern Vermont. 

All Families Welcome Here.