For those of you who are on the fence about attending an Unleashed workshop, we feel that it’s only fair to let you know that this is our last one. In a lot of ways, we have accomplished our mission to raise awareness for pet photography as an art form and a business.
Our workshops have been dedicated in a big way to marketing and business practices. Sure, we’d all rather be playing with our cameras, but anyone (with enough practice) can learn to use a camera. Where do you learn to run a dog photography business? Which shots are the ones that sell? How do you set your prices? And so that’s why we spend 50% of the workshop on business and 50% on shooting.
And it must be working –look at the terrific group of Unleashed graduates who have been successful in almost every corner of this country (and Canada). We are very proud! So if you’ve been putting off your decision, now is the time. As of this date, we have 6 spaces left. We really hope you’ll join us.
SIDE NOTE: We reserve the right to possibly hold ‘graduate school’ for past attendees, and maybe some portfolio shooting weekend retreats. So if you’re a past Unleashed attendee, keep checking back for fun stuff.
We refer to ourselves as fine art photographers but what does that really mean?
According to wikipedia (www.wikipedia.com) fine art photography “refers to photographs that are created to fulfill the creative vision of the artist. Fine art photography stands in contrast to photojournalism and commercial photography.”
So the question I often ask myself is “am I fulfilling my creative vision?” Some days I feel like I’m just creating-to-sell, in other words, creating a product instead of a work of art.
To help ease my conscience and to continue my growth as an artist, I spend a few minutes of every session doing something experimental –I really strive to make it something I’ve never tried before. And I’m the first one to admit that at times it’s very difficult. When it’s the third or fourth shaggy white dog that I’ve shot that month and I KNOW the shortest route to a good sale is to shoot from a certain angle – well – you know what goes through my mind. The temptation is pretty strong to just do what I’ve done before and call it a day –but I rarely give in. I’m almost always driven to try something new.
Which is why I really really like difficult subjects. The dogs that just don’t want to settle down, or won’t look at the camera no matter how many crazy noises I make. You do have to know their body language to know what to do and when it’s okay to do it. I photograph a lot of dogs for a local rescue organization and many of them have been traumatized by abandonment, abuse, or health issues. By the time they arrive at my studio they’ve really been through a lot. These and other difficult pets are the ones that force me to think outside the box. I’m exhausted when they leave – but excited by the new things I’ve learned.
And just in case we make it look easy? I want everyone that’s considering our workshop to know that being a pet photographer is physically and mentally demanding and if I didn’t love dogs and cats I wouldn’t be successful at it –no matter how good I was with my equipment. I do it because they are perfect little works of art, I adore them and anything that loves so completely and unselfishly deserves to be cherished forever as a work of art.
When people tell me how lucky I am to have a job where all I have to do is play with dogs all day — I just smile.
Hosting a dog photography event can be lucrative. But before scheduling an event, make sure you are totally comfortable with your equipment and your technique. Careful planning can make it profitable and help things run smoothly.
Consider the location first when planning a photography event –whether it’s at your studio, a dog park or dog day care, pet spa, animal hospital, shelter, or just outdoors – you want to attract attention and make it look like fun. Choosing a theme like Happy Howlidays, Dog Days of Summer, Barktoberfest, or My Furry Valentine can help entice owners to bring their dogs for portraits –just be original. Events can grow into fund raisers for a local dog shelter or help raise money for animal charities, but partnering with the right group is critical to the success of the project.
The examples below are from a Bull Dog club event photographed by Barbara.
If you are checking out this blog you are likely either a photographer, a dog photographer and/or a dog lover. If you, like me, enjoy all things dog, do not miss this wonderful site: Dog Art Today.
It is chock full of wonderful dog things! From 14th Century dog art to the winners of the best Dog wine labels.
I was contacted in 2008 by Moira, the author of the blog, to tell me she had featured my blog! I was thrilled that she liked it and humbled to be found amongst such wonderful dog art. If you’d like to see that post check it out here.
For me, dog photography is all about working hard to create art. Believe me, there are easier ways to take photos of dogs! But when you get letters such as this after a beloved pet has passed, you’re so glad you took the time….
“I just wanted to thank you for the incredibly beautiful and moving pictures you took of our little girl, Brandi. You truly captured her spirt and sweetness. Seeing her images throughout our home keeps her memory always fresh in our minds and close to our hearts. Again, thanks so much for your incredible talent, without it, these pictures would not exist.”
So, if you’re a dog lover who wants to take better images or a professional photographer thinking of expanding into the niche of pet photography, come visit with us in September. We’ll make some great dog art!
This is a cooperative effort between Teresa Berg (in Dallas), Barbara Breitsameter (in Chicago) and Bev Hollis (in Virginia/D.C.). We saw a real need for a workshop dealing with the many different aspects of fine art dog photography. Representing three different styles from three different geographic areas, it’s exciting to work together and offer a real variety of techniques and styles for other photographers. The first workshop is scheduled for September 18-20 in Chicago -with long range plans to offer the similar workshops in D.C. and Dallas.
Friday September 18, 6pm
Saturday, September 19, 8:30am-5pm
Sunday, September 20, 8:30am-3pm
Friday evening get-together with wine, beer and snacks
Continental breakfast and box lunches included on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org