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!
We often get applause and feedback from our past students –and it means so much as an instructor to know that you’ve done your job well. We take teaching very seriously. We’ve all attended workshops in the past where the thing was ‘all hype and no substance’ and it’s something we have vowed never to have happen with Unleashed. Call us old school, but we prepare, we practice and we perform.
We recently got this lovely comment from a 2010 Unleashed attendee:
I don’t know if I ever said thank you for the wonderful Unleashed workshop 18 months (!) ago. I learned so much from all 3 of you and I have tried to apply it – it certainly has helped me avoid costly mistakes and to start off my business in the best way I could. I am even able to volunteer my services at the local shelter once/week and photograph their adoptables, which I love and they seem to appreciate. If you are so inclined, you can check out my facebook page and keep up on all of my comings and goings…. www.facebook.com/PoshPetsPhotography …we always like “fans”!
So, when do the Unleashed Alumni get to come back for a second go?
Thanks, Karen! It was a pleasure getting to know you – and not enough can be said about the advantages of forming a core group of photographer friends and mentors. We still have facebook group pages going from Unleashed Workshops from 2009 and the friendships and sharing go on forever. After three years, we’ve got quite an accomplished group of graduates!
We have just a few more seats for our June 2012 Unleashed — if you’re thinking about joining us, don’t delay. We prefer to keep the groups small, so we will be closing this group soon.
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!
Well, we’ve brushed ourselves off and recovered quite nicely from Dallas – Unleashed. The surveys are in and we had some lovely testimonials:
I say keep up what you are doing. You 3 are a wonderful combination of energy! There is no way that you can cover everything, but you have remained so available for further contact and that has been invaluable. I have taken other workshops where that was not a possibility. The other thing that I really appreciated is that you provided what you said that you were going to provide in the workshop. I also feel that by offering the possibility for all attendees to connect prior to the workshop really provided an awesome atmosphere of cohesiveness right from the get-go!
And now, on to Virginia! Registration opens today. You can find more details throughout this blog by clicking on the cost tab.
After much consideration, as well as receiving feedback from our Unleashed – Dallas attendees, we have made a few significant changes. We feel these changes will make the workshop experience even better for you.
First, we have a conference hotel! Due to the amount of information packed into our workshop we’ve found the need to simplify everything else as much as possible. In the past, attendees were required to shuttle between locations for breakout sessions. This ate up valuable time and we felt, in some ways, it took away from the overall workshop experience.
No longer! Unleashed- Virginia has secured meeting space and rooms at the beautiful AAA 4-Star Lansdowne Resort & Conference Center. All shooting will take place at the Tranquility Farm & Barn Studio of Bev Hollis Photography. However, when we are not shooting or doing lighting lectures, we will learn in the comfort of this beautiful meeting place.
Second, it can be difficult to coordinate travel between lecture sites and location shooting. No longer! We will provide transportation from Lansdowne Resort to the Tranquility Farm studio for all sessions. You are welcome to drive yourself but it is not necessary.
Third, some attendees do not like the added expense of a rental car. No longer! Lansdowne Resort will provide transportation between Dulles (IAD) Airport and the resort for all attendees who are staying at the resort. There are ample restaurants within the resort complex. A town center is also about a mile away for more dining choices.
Last, Don Dechow’s sales presentation rocked! So we are bringing him back for a longer session in September to include a walk-through sales session.
We are thrilled to be putting together what we know will be a truly amazing learning experience. We’ve worked with Lansdowne Resort to secure pricing that we feel will continue to make Unleashed a great value for attendees.
For more information on pricing and how to register click on the COST tab above.