When Unleashed began in 2009 there weren’t many options for learning fine art pet photography. What was obvious was the lack of professionalism and the real need for in-depth training for pet photographers. We continue to have the most thorough, in-depth business training of any pet photography workshop available –and we have two instructors with very different styles and approaches. So some of you may lean in one direction or the other, but beware… keeping an open mind and learning a different approach may just be what sets you apart from your competition!
Bev Hollis is known all over the country for her gorgeous outdoor dog portraits and dreamy, dramatic lighting. She was recently featured in Country Woman magazine and her dog portraits have been published in the Workman calendars, Nova Dog magazine and are on display in many private collections. Her studio in the Washington DC area consistently racks up big sales for high profile clients.
We frequently get asked about the course content for Unleashed… and after doing this for three years, we think we’ve found the perfect balance. We’re doing 1/3 business and marketing, 1/3 indoor shooting (both natural light, location and studio light) and 1/3 outdoor shooting. We’ve also lifted the restrictions formerly in place for photographers in our home zip codes. So now if you live in Dallas, or Virginia, or Washington DC, you can join the fun!
September is the perfect time to shoot outdoors in Dallas and we’ve got some great locations and a wide variety of dog models lined up. But beware: Pet photography is a highly addictive activity. Email us via the contact page of this website and we’ll give you all the details!
We’ve had so many requests, that we’re adding another Unleashed Workshop to the calendar! Join us this fall in Dallas for three days of fun and intense learning. The agenda has been expanded to add a few more hours of business and marketing for the first day. We’ll talk about products, pricing, marketing –even a little search engine optimization! Then for days two and three we shoot, shoot, eat, sleep, shoot, eat, sleep, shoot –well, you get the idea –it’s lots of shooting. We’ll have lots of different dog models as well as some dogs with their people –at multiple locations and differing lighting conditions. In other words, we’ll help you prepare for lots of different shooting scenarios and lighting challenges. We will only accept a limited number of participants so don’t wait until the last minute to secure your spot! Email us via the contact page of this website and we’ll send you the registration information.
Wow! What a great group we had — and I’m still marveling at the amazing shots they are sharing online. I’m starting a page just for some of the student images, so everyone can see how great they are. It was a terrific few days with all of our new photographer friends. These comments came in from one of the attendees:
“I have taken countless online and in person seminars, and have to say that yours has by far been the best.
What made your program so different, was your complete willingness to share and how you let your incredible talents speak for themselves. You were never condescending or intimidating (Ok Bev’s arm muscles are intimidating). You provided gentle reminders about settings and opened my eyes to a whole different perspective on photography. I answered the question “Why was I here?” with “to learn what I don’t know.” I came away so inspired. And your humor was the icing on the cake!”
This Unleashed was so good, in fact, that we are planning another workshop. We weren’t certain that the new format was going to be all that we hoped, but it exceeded our expectations — so stay tuned for details of the next Unleashed!
Last call for Unleashed 2012! We have two seats left for our June 2-4 workshop. If you haven’t already inquired, sign up is easy. Just email us using the contact page of this blog and we’ll send you the registration info with a link for payment. Our workshops are small by design, so we can spend lots of one on one time with each photographer — and so that each attendee really has a chance to get to know the others and learn from them as well. Hope you can join us!
We often get applause and feedback from our past students –and it means so much as an instructor to know that you’ve done your job well. We take teaching very seriously. We’ve all attended workshops in the past where the thing was ‘all hype and no substance’ and it’s something we have vowed never to have happen with Unleashed. Call us old school, but we prepare, we practice and we perform.
We recently got this lovely comment from a 2010 Unleashed attendee:
I don’t know if I ever said thank you for the wonderful Unleashed workshop 18 months (!) ago. I learned so much from all 3 of you and I have tried to apply it – it certainly has helped me avoid costly mistakes and to start off my business in the best way I could. I am even able to volunteer my services at the local shelter once/week andphotograph their adoptables, which I love and they seem to appreciate. If you are so inclined, you can check out my facebook page and keep up on all of my comings and goings…. www.facebook.com/PoshPetsPhotography …we always like “fans”!
So, when do the Unleashed Alumni get to come back for a second go?
Thanks, Karen! It was a pleasure getting to know you – and not enough can be said about the advantages of forming a core group of photographer friends and mentors. We still have facebook group pages going from Unleashed Workshops from 2009 and the friendships and sharing go on forever. After three years, we’ve got quite an accomplished group of graduates!
We have just a few more seats for our June 2012 Unleashed — if you’re thinking about joining us, don’t delay. We prefer to keep the groups small, so we will be closing this group soon.
The short answer is NO! We have often had non-professionals attend and love having them. We teach professsional photography, but you don’t have to have a business or a website –just the desire to shoot like a professional. Unleashed is a great place to figure out if this is the right business for you –BEFORE you take that first big step!
The two days in Dallas will be jam-packed with learning about different types of equipment, different types of dogs and different kinds of light! We’ll be helping you choose the right locations, position your subject(s), select the right lens and create the look you want. And that doesn’t even count what you’ll learn from the other photographers in the group. We will be covering most of the sales and marketing questions in the follow-up webinar so that our time together in Dallas will be primarily shooting time. Lots of models and different locations to give you the greatest range of experience.
We do ask that all attendees be shooting with DSLRs and have at least a basic working knowledge of the manual settings on their cameras. So get ready to dive in to one of the most creative and exciting photography workshops you can imagine!
If you’re already a professional, there are LOTS of reasons to start shooting pets. For one, you’re probably doing some anyway because we all get those occaisional requests –but are you doing it well, or just faking it?
Don’t discount the value of adding pets to your portfolio! People often assume that pet owners won’t spend like the average family portrait customer, but my data tells a different story. We see almost the same sales totals from pet sessions vs non-pet sessions. And unlike adding a complete new genre (like adding portraits if you’re a wedding photographer or vice versa) you can use the same price lists and product lines — and even use a lot of the same props and shooting locations.
But take the time to learn it right. Handling pets and managing the session is very different and if you’re not paying attention to the differences, you can quickly become frustrated. Your pet clients love it when you roll out the red carpet for their pets and just like their pets, they will be loyal if they’re well treated. Here’s a quick checklist of things to consider before you decide to add pet photography to your existing business:
1. Do you re-brand, or have a separate logo and website for pets?
2. How long should a pet session last? Answers are all over the map on this one, do you know why?
3. Studio or location only? Is it worth renting studio space just to shoot pets?
4. Do I run specials to get started? Where do pet clients come from?
5. What type of average sales can I expect and where do I advertise?
Join us for Unleashed 2012 in Dallas, June 2-4th as we go in to all of these questions and more. Oh, and did I mention the sexy live models?
Thanks to all of your kind and gentle urgings, we’re setting the wheels in motion for a new Unleashed Workshop! A few changes and lots of energy are going in to the plans for our next pet photography adventure. Early summer 2012 is looking pretty good, but please stay tuned to this blog for all the latest information!