The dates are final, Robin at Good Dog Fetch is lining up some awesome models, the hotel is a go — all we need is you! We’ll have a full day of business and marketing, a full day of outdoor and natural light shooting and a full day of studio shooting with two instructors. The agenda is posted on this site, as well as information about the hotel. Email us via the contact page of this site and we’ll send you a registration packet. We are limited to 15 participants, so don’t delay!
That’s right! We’re planning Unleashed for January 2014 in Dallas. If you’re on the east coast and you can wait until June, we’ll still be teaching in Virginia. But for those of you that don’t mind escaping the snow for a few days in Big D, how about late January? Average temps are in the 40s and 50s with plenty of sunshine and beautiful opportunities for some crisp outdoor photography. Three full days with two instructors –business, marketing and shooting (both indoors and out), with live models. We’ll have more information as soon as the hotel and schedules are confirmed.
Our August Studio Shooters Workshop is almost sold out! Since this is a hands-on-in-the-studio workshop, we’re purposely keeping the group small. Lots of different dog (and people) models and lots of individual shooting time that way. This is going to be a great portfolio-building workshop — and (selfishly) a chance for me to really put the new studio through it’s paces! We’ve got strobes, monolights, continuous lights, video light, and a ton of different light modifiers and at least 10 different umbrellas to play with, so variety is the name of the game. Come play with us?
1. Location RULES! Don’t pick the location for any other reason than the light – and the comfort of your subjects. If the dog’s not comfortable on a slatted bench, then don’t frustrate yourself by trying to make him sit there. For a basic warm and casual portrait, It’s always a good idea to get the people and the dogs faces on the same plane. Preferably close together.
2. Fresh people + Tired Dogs = Great portraits. Somehow, you want the dogs to burn off their excess energy before you sit them in front of the camera. Conversely, you want your two-legged subjects fresh and ready to go.
3. Minimize distractions. This is true for kids but doubly important for dogs. You’ll have a very difficult time creating the perfect dog portrait if Max is tracking squirrels and ducks with his eyes. Choose the time of day and the location to minimize these kinds of challenges. Noisy playgrounds, for example, are problematic for both types of subjects.
4. Casual beats Formal. The days of formal posed pet portraits are over! It’s far more important to get them laughing and playing together than to exhaust yourself (and them) for the perfect pose. Let them interact and prompt them occasionally to look at the camera while they are roughly in position. Shoot wider than necessary to allow them room to move. They will both love you for it.
5. What to wear? Since Max can’t really change his outfit, you better make sure your two-legged subjects pay attention to theirs. You want them to contrast with their pet but not compete. But watch out – too much contrast can make all that loose dog hair a photoshop nightmare for you later. A good medium range color that doesn’t distract the eye will usually save the day.
It's an important combination — important for your clients and important for your business. And even though many pet photographers try to steer away from photographing people it pays (literally) to build those skills! We'll have both people and pet models at our upcoming Studio Shooters Workshop in Dallas next month for just that reason, so if this is an area you've been avoiding — take a deep breath and join us! For more details on the agenda, the cost and the accommodations for the Studio Shooting workshop, just click on the tabs at the top of this page.
We’ve got a couple of fresh new workshops “in the works”! The first is an ALL STUDIO workshop taught by Teresa Berg –to be held August 24 & 25th in her Dallas studio. Over the years we’ve had lots of comments like “I didn’t know studio shooting could be so fun! I wish I could do just two whole days of nothing but studio lighting” and “I’ve always been afraid of studio photography — it looks so complicated. But you make it easy!” and also “PLEASE let me know when you’re going to offer something for Unleashed graduates that want to go a little DEEPER.” So here it is. We’re pulling all the tricks out of the bag and going crazy with light.
We’ll shoot with monolights, continuous lights, video lights, speedlights, reflected light — and even a flashlight… for dramatic effects and the beautiful clear crisp details that are so easy to get in the studio. Imagine what it’s like to have all the light you need right at your fingertips. We’ll even help you figure out what equipment you might need to set up your own studio –even if it’s just a One Light Portrait set up in the back bedroom! We’ll have only shooting at this workshop — no business and marketing. Everything is hands on and in a small group setting.
We bring in a catered lunch and a variety of live models (two-legged and four-legged) so we can constantly change it up for you and you can get the maximum amount of shooting time. Additionally, we got a super rate ($59 per night) at the Courtyard Marriott down the street –which includes breakfast! So there you have it — beat the heat and let’s stay indoors and go crazy with light!
All we can say is WOW! Lots of great photographers, great models, great light and great friendships formed. It was a super workshop all the way around! We had fabulous homes to shoot in, gorgeous studio space and last but not least, beautiful historic Leesburg, Virginia as the perfect backdrop. Stay tuned for more Unleashed fun…. See more samples of what was shot on our facebook page: HERE
Our June 2013 Unleashed Workshop in Virginia has been sold out for several months, but you can follow us on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/122735169255/ and keep up with future dates and post questions for us. There’s a possibility of a Fall 2013 Unleashed — so give us your thoughts!
As we review our curriculum for Unleashed VA we often look over our “most asked questions” list. Lens choice is always on that list. Especially for photographers who are just entering the pet photography market.
Through the years I’ve found that I have 1-3 “foundation” lenses. Those that, if every other thing in my bag malfunctioned, was lost or stolen, I could complete a session, give the client depth and variety, and still expect a good sale.
Those lenses will differ for everybody -depending on your style, whether you’re a studio shooter or location photographer, and your client base.
For me, my go to lenses are the Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8, Nikkor 85mm 1.4 and the Nikkor 17-35mm 2.8. These are my “base” lenses. If I wasn’t shooting pets I probably wouldn’t use the 17-35mm but it’s the perfect lens for “hip-shooting” and while I’ve found that style isn’t necessarily a big seller for me, it allows me to deliver a really well rounded and thorough session.
Please note, all of my lenses are FIXED APERTURES! I’d rather see you save for a fixed aperture lens rather than buy less expensive variable aperture lenses just to round out your kit. You can do a lot with a 50 mm 1.4 lens!
After the set of base lenses I think it’s up to you. Give it some time. Develop your style and see what you like to shoot. And what your clients like to buy. I’ve bought and sold many lenses through the years. Sometimes I’d try a lens because I liked a certain look, only to find my clients weren’t as enamored as I was. Sometimes I tried a lens, such as a perspective control or “tilt-shift” to find it really fit my style and added a touch of uniqueness to images I delivered.
The good news about quality lenses – you can sell them! I bought a fish-eye lens years ago because I liked the quirky distortion the lens rendered. I found, while it made my clients laugh, my client base, known for purchasing large fine art canvases, wasn’t really buying these shots. So, I sold it for about 90% of what I paid.
Of course, renting is always a great way to go. Many Unleashed attendees rent a specific lens for the workshop. What a great way to try out a lens and get some great shots in the meantime!
Wherever you are in your pet photography path I recommend you go slowly, develop your style, and build a kit of quality lenses that will help you be a better photographer.
Below is one of my images, shot with that fish-eye that left my bag about 8 months after I purchased it!
We’ve finalized our plans for Virginia Unleashed 2013 and we couldn’t be more excited!
We start early and go late so book your flights accordingly. And bring your running shoes for some non-stop action!
DATES: June 8-10
Where: Northern Virginia (Dulles [IAD]), Leesburg and surrounding area
Cost: $1395 (see Workshop and Agenda tabs for more info on what’s included!)
Email us through our contact page here for registration links. Hotel links will be available in the registration packet. See you in Virginia and come ready to be Unleashed! There are only
15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5,4,3, 2 spots remaining so make your decision soon!