Just wanted to officially say THANKS to a great group of photographers that arrived from all over North America to share and learn and shoot with us this past weekend. You guys were AWESOME!
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.
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!
We’ve finalized our plans for Virginia Unleashed 2013 and we couldn’t be more excited!
We start early and go late so book your flights accordingly. And bring your running shoes for some non-stop action!
DATES: June 8-10
Where: Northern Virginia (Dulles [IAD]), Leesburg and surrounding area
Cost: $1395 (see Workshop and Agenda tabs for more info on what’s included!)
Email us through our contact page here for registration links. Hotel links will be available in the registration packet. See you in Virginia and come ready to be Unleashed! There are only
15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5,4,3, 2 spots remaining so make your decision soon!
If you’re looking for a program that cuts through all the fluff, gets down to what it really takes to succeed in the genre of pet photography, and gives you TONS of shooting time – you won’t want to miss Dallas in September.
Our program is fast paced and action packed – bring your running shoes! (And camera gear!)
See you in September!
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!