for the most amazing pet photography workshop in the country! As much as we hate to brag, we really think we’ve got a great mix of business, marketing and shooting. And Sept 29th will be here before you know it!
We’re putting the final touches on our list of dog models and it looks like we’re going to be super busy setting up lots of cool shots in a wide variety of locations.
Will you be the one to snag the last seat???
Are you ready to start photographing pets?
Let’s pretend that you are an experienced photographer shooting babies, kids and families. There are only 100 of us per square mile these days. How do you set yourself apart from your competition? Start shooting pets, right? They’re cute, everybody’s got one –how hard can it be?
Think about a few of these scenarios before inviting pets in to your studio:
- What happens if Max, the black lab, refuses to look at the camera and chooses instead to take off after a squirrel? Chaos follows. Now you’re watching your profits go flying out the window as everyone takes off after him, messes up their hair and clothing, scaring the baby who erupts in to tears.
- A 50ish couple calls and books an appointment for a session with their elderly Schnauzer. After they arrive, they announce that he’s deaf and almost blind – but that’s okay, right? How do you get his attention, where do you seat the three of them and how do you make all three of them look younger, healthier and blissfully happy?
- Your favorite clients want you to photograph their new baby with their old baby – a 9 year old Golden Retriever. How do you set up the shot?
- The Smiths show up with their three Jack Russell Terriers and want great portraits but they forgot to tell you they didn’t want to be in them. Now what?
- The young couple down the street wants shots of their Australian Shepherd catching his Frisbee in mid-air, in the park, in the middle of the day on a Saturday. Are you ready?
You’re laughing now because you KNOW one of these things is going to happen to you (or already has) and you know you were unprepared. So back up a few steps. There are lots of great reasons to photograph pets and it WILL increase your sales and it WILL bring new clients in your door –but be a professional and do it thoughtfully. Take a workshop, buy a book, get some practice and build a great pet portfolio that will actually BRING in new clients. Find out what Pet lovers buy and what you have to charge to actually make a profit. Then update your website and start marketing to pet lovers. Adding pet photography brings all sorts of benefits to your existing business –not to mention puppy breath!
Feeling like a caped crusader that swept into San Antonio with my constant cry of “you’re a professional, raise your prices” I am now settling in and re-visiting my creative goals for 2011.
Of course, I’m marketing. Of course, I’m looking at new prices and products. Of course, I’m looking for new ways to tweak my workflow. But alongside these very important threads that continue to run through my brain I’m weaving something different in to the mix. A few goals for my creative side.
I saw a lot of Texas (mostly interstate highway) on my drive back to Dallas and made some interesting and inspiring detours. Texas is really good for that. You just never know what you’re going to find 15 minutes from the highway! So I’m encouraging dog photographers everywhere to up their game and really stretch creatively. Our numbers are growing and our clients will soon have many more options and higher expectations when they begin to look for a pet portrait. Let’s WOW them.
One of the most complicated and most critical aspects of what we do as photographers is designing our product line and our pricing structure. If you’re new to the pet market –what do you offer? Will dog and cat families buy high end wall portraits? Absolutely!
At Unleashed, we will fully discuss our products and how we structure our pricing. No information is off limits. We talk about what things cost, how much to sell them for and how to sell them. How valuable is this to someone just starting a pet photography line? Think about it. If you decide to learn to shoot using the old “trial and error” method you’ll work harder but eventually you’ll make a portrait. Use the same method for chosing products and pricing them and you’re literally throwing money into the wind, guessing where it’s going to land.
Where will you display your work? If you’re at a local art show, or pet expo — what will hang in your booth? What will make them remember you? What messages are you sending with what you show? What is going to be so compelling that they will want to book a session with you?
Don’t guess and don’t play roulette with your checkbook. Trial and Error can be a very expensive way to learn this business.We can help.
An amazing group of photographers converged on us in Dallas this past week. We had one breakthrough after another, and the images we’re seeing from our attendees are really terrific. One of the great benefits to any workshop like this is the ability to shoot side by side with people who share your passion and hear what’s working for them in their part of the world. We had photographers from Vancouver, Georgia, New Jersey, Arkansas, Washington, Massachusetts, Oregon, California, New York, and even one from Texas!
To help facilitate the communication and sharing of ideas and passions we always set up a private Facebook group so people can arrange to share cars, hotel rooms etc. but the biggest bonus is the sharing that goes on AFTER the workshop. I have been watching a wonderful flood of images and helpful links hit the Unleashed Dallas Facebook page — and now we all have peers across the country that we can reach out to. Social media is constantly being evaluated these days, but there’s no doubt that it’s relevant (and valuable) for photographers.
Thanks to all of our participants for an amazing workshop — and for those of you waiting for registration to open for the east coast version – check back May 1st.