Make your summer photography plans now!

Our 2017 Studio Shooters workshop is open for registration.  And besides being one of the BEST workshops for shooting pets in the studio, we are moving to a great new space with two camera rooms and lots of room for all your creative ideas.

Join us July 14-16th at Teresa Berg Photography in Dallas for 3 days of intense, fun-filled shooting with live models and just about every lighting toy you have ever thought about trying. All you bring is the camera!  Call to register by phone with a credit card (workshop fee is $995) or email us  :  teresa@teresaberg.com and we’ll answer your questions and reserve your spot. 972-250-2415   Only 10 attendees will be accepted so everyone gets lots of hands-on shooting time.

pet photography workshop Unleashed
Meatball poses in the studio

Unleashed Dallas Student Images

We had spectacular weather and a motivated hard working group in Dallas this past January. Student files are still coming in from the workshop but we wanted to share some images that our students captured of our wonderful dog models.

If you’re interested in attending an Unleashed Workshop please check back here for our latest dates (Spring/Early summer is trending for VA 2014).

Thanks again to our attendees as well as our dog models and their handler Robin Terrell of Good Dog Fetch, who works tirelessly to help us get these great images!

 

Image

Unleashed Workshops – Hear about it from our graduates!

We went to the facebook page asked our Unleashed attendees from years past: “What was the one most important thing you got from Unleashed?”  And here are their responses:

“hard to pick just one.. but for me, I think learning how to properly price my work and time was most valuable. (And I love that we can still get advice from each other!) :-)”

“The opportunity to shoot in a real studio and out on location. Not watching someone else doing it or reading about. But getting to do it yourself!”

“The people. Being able to share stories, struggles and experiences with others and knowing they are there and willing to discuss anything I need too if I get stuck on something.”

“The possibilities. I had so very much to learn that I didn’t even know to reach for. My head practically exploded for all the information and I developed a framework to build on that’s kept me busy since. I could take it again, have just as much fun, and learn lots more that was beyond me the first time around. Hmmmm.”

“I’d say it’s a toss-up between lighting with off-camera flash, working with pets (and their parents!) in the studio, and pricing my work.”

“I agree–hard to pick one thing–but if I had to choose one thing I’d say the Business Structure and pricing! ok well that’s 2!”

“For me it was being able to being able to SEE the possibilities at a location. Being able to scout out the light, possible composition in the surroundings. Seeing the potential in the lines from different angles.”

“I think I said this in the little promo video too…the opportunity to use MY equipment and see what it could do. Most times when I would attend a seminar or workshop, I would come home with a list of things I wanted to purchase because that is what the instructor used. Unleashed was different – the instructors helped me use my equipment. I distinctly remember having trouble with my Pocket Wizards and explaining the issue I was having to Bev. She told me to stay and sit (now it sounds like I am a dog…!) in the session that we were having, while she left the room with my equipment, went outside and experimented with it until she figured out what was wrong. Considering that Bev shoots with a Nikon and I have all Canon gear, this was above and beyond. When Bev returned 30 minutes later, she had figured it out, showed me how to do it, and worked with me until I got it right. Teresa inspired me to work with rescue and volunteer groups and I honestly have had opportunities I would not otherwise have had as a result. More than that though, Teresa showed us HOW to do it, so I had a place to start and left with a plan. Together, both Bev and Teresa set me on the road to profitable pricing. I really couldn’t have done what I have without them!”

“DON’T DISCOUNT!”

“I too find it hard to pick…but I really loved meeting the people and having a support group…Still speak with so many of you regularly. This was the first place that I could get solid advice on pet-photography business and how to start my business. I loved that Bev Hollis & Teresa Berg were complete open books when it came to questions and advice and gave me such a good solid foundation for my business.”

“January doesn’t work out for me, but I’m hoping to do the full Unleashed if it’s offered later in the year. I did attend Teresa‘s Studio Shooters workshop and OMG was it awesome. I learned *so* much. Enough to feel confident buying my first lighting kit AND using it afterward :)”

“So hard to pick just one! I did the studio 2 day with Teresa and i learned so much and enjoyed the participants, the dogs, the dog owners, being in Teresa’s studio, and having our facebook page to keep in touch. But i guess my main goal was to learn how to photograph in the studio on a white background with studio lights and Teresa Berg did that and more! I have watched tutorials and read all about high key photography but could never get it in camera and Teresa made it possible for me to get it in camera and i love photographing with a white background. I am so happy and grateful to Teresa for teaching me that!!!! I really want to come in January to get more business info and photograph outdoors. Still trying to see if i can make it happen with my schedule.”

“ditto, hard to pick just one. the in-person planning consultation and ordering sessions have been so helpful!”

“All the information received is priceless. I would say the studio work helped me the most, but the location work helped me understand how to get those beautiful shots clients want to order as big prints! Of course the friendships forged with the other members of the group is a wonderful bonus! Bev and Teresa are the best! If you are on the fence about going…go ahead and jump on the go side, you will not regret it!!”

“I attended the Studio Shooter workshop with Teresa, and I think the most important thing I took away is that there is no “one way” to do something. What is important is the light and how we use it, but there’s a lot of ways to get there. I had no studio or lighting experience, but I learned enough and gained enough confidence through the class to set up a “mini-studio” at my animal shelter/adoption center, which is a very challenging environment for such a thing. Several animals have been adopted through the photos from this set up, and for me that is what it is all about. I am going to the Unleashed, Dallas to get some more experience and learn something about the business side of things. I’m also looking forward to meeting Bev Hollis and getting another perspective on things. Come join me!”

“I agree … so much to take in, but for me, probably the most eye-opening was pre-planning/taking control of the session … still working on it, and definitely considering UNLEASHED again when comes back to VA . Bev and Teresa rock!”

“It is difficult to pick just one thing. This workshop came at a critical time for me and helped me determine what I wanted to do. 🙂 I met some of the greatest people and continue to keep in touch. I really don’t think I would be as far along as I am today if I hadn’t taken the plunge and attended UNLEASHED. I am forever grateful!!!”

 

Lenses: What Do You Need?

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!

June Bride
June Bride

 

What’s the mix? | Pet photography workshop

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!

unleashed pet photography
photo by Unleashed student Michelle Gonzalez, June 2012

Photographing pets | Unleashed Workshops

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!

Unleashed dog photography workshop

Okay, Okay, Unleashed is back!

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!

pet photography workshop