We just wrapped up our fourth annual Studio Shooters pet photography workshop and had a great group of photographers sharing ideas and learning. We covered so many different techniques that I know they left with their heads spinning — but hopefully we de-mystified some of the behind the scenes work that goes in to photographing dogs in the studio.
With a variety of backgrounds (thank you, Intuition Backgrounds for donating one of their awesome designs as a door prize) and lighting systems, each attendee can now choose the system that fits their needs. Whether it’s a portable set up that travels to client’s homes or studio strobes that live in a permanent creative space — they all got experience and can now choose which system they will focus on. And now, without fear — they are UNLEASHED to be even more creative with light.
Thanks to everyone for their willingness to look at things in a different way and share.
Our annual Studio Shooters workshop is right around the corner and we’ve got a great group of photographers flying in from around the country to explore creating light. In this world of “everybody’s a photographer” it’s more important than every to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Studio lighting doesn’t just happen in a studio –it applies to many lighting situations and is what will set you apart from all the hobbyists in your area. And that’s the name of the game. Setting yourself apart. One of my favorite quotes is from Steve Martin (the comedian) who says, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
For me, that meant developing skills that other photographers in my area didn’t have. Interesting and creative ways of using light. I want someone to look at my images and 1) feel an emotional response, and 2) wonder “how did she do that?”
This workshop is really special to me. It’s a treat to take the time and shoot creatively (and not just try to get what the client wants). I get to drag out all my favorite pieces of equipment and try new things while we all learn together what’s possible. It’s hands on from the start, and you’re learning with YOUR camera in your hands. We have a great list of dog models lined up (and even a few people to pose with their dogs) for us to use.
We’ll learn studio strobes, continuous light, video light, speedlites, natural light in the studio, ring lights, and every combination of the above that we feel like exploring. Many of our attendees are setting up their first studio and need to figure out what lighting system to buy for the amount of space they have available. So bring your questions and we’ll tailor our learning to the needs of the group. But you have to sign up! The tuition is $995 which includes lunches and snacks. Our negotiated hotel rate at the nearby Marriott is $72 per night (which includes breakfast) and rental cars are optional since once you get to the hotel, we car pool back and forth to the studio and there are 200 restaurants within walking distance (really!).
Either Dallas airport will work (DAL or DFW) as they are both about a 20 minute cab ride from the hotel. American or Southwest airlines is usually the best option since they are both based in Dallas and have lots of flights in and out. We start at 2pm on Friday, July 8th so that people can even fly in that morning. We finish around 4 on Sunday afternoon.
Call the studio for more information or email me: Teresa AT Teresaberg.com
Our spring and summer workshop schedules are finalized and with air fares down (because of gas prices) it’s the perfect time to plan a trip! We’re teaching our Studio Shooters Unleashed at Teresa Berg Photography in Dallas on July 10-12th this year.
If you’re a hands-on learner and want to shoot with live models in a full-time working professional studio, this is the right opportunity for you. We cover a very wide range of techniques including studio strobes (with tons of different light modifiers – umbrellas, softboxes, reflectors, flags, scrims and grids), ring flash, continuous light, even using speedlites in the studio.
Please note: this is not a business and marketing workshop. It’s all hands on with cameras.
Two full days with live dog models and all these toys? How could it not be fun? We have a great hotel just up the street ($64 per night includes breakfast) so you won’t need a rental car to get around. Email for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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?
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!