Over the past 12 years I’ve had the opportunity to capture special moments with many different animals and families, performed photo shoots in lots of different locations and have been given the opportunity to grow my business both professionally and personally. And I’m proud to say that I remember each of my clients and their stories over the years. My clients have become my extended family and I’ve had the good fortune of photographing many of them throughout the years and watching their families and their stories grow.
I recently attended an invitation-only pet photography workshop in California. A small group of 9 photographers from across the country were asked to attend to network and foster ideas to improve our photography and our businesses. I love the opportunity to learn and better myself so I happily accepted and attended the workshop. We discussed topics such as dog handling and people posing, lighting, marketing and more. It was a great event and I’m grateful to have been invited and happy I went.
Here are five important tips I learned:
- Don’t compare yourself to others. I am my own unique photographer and I have my own unique way of looking at things. And isn’t that a beautiful thing? Just as we have different preferences and tastes, there’s someone for everyone. I am proud of the work that I do and my perspective behind the lens and am confident that my clients also appreciate it.
- There are many ways to get a pup’s attention. I learned some great new (to me) tricks such as using a lanyard (hunter’s necklace) and filling it with calls such as duck calls, mouse calls, bear calls, etc. I’ve had my own creative ways to get dogs to look at my when I’m taking their pictures, but love having more.
- Don’t chimp. I know you’re wondering, what the heck does that mean? Just as chimpanzees make sounds like “oooh oooh oooh” as their way of communicating for more, more, more, sometimes we photographers make similar sounds and they aren’t the most effective way to get attention. Instead, I learned to take time, check the shot, check lighting, make sure it’s all correct and if not, take time to fix it.
- It’s all about light. I learned a lot about using natural lighting indoor, natural lighting outdoors, and how to shoot for studio lighting as well. Learning these tips led me to buy new lighting equipment. Tech changes so quickly, but keep up with tricks of the trade.
- Organization is key to a successful business. Running a photography business encompasses more than just taking good photos. While that’s the biggest piece of the business, things like how to talk to clients, how to handle various business things and even learning to manage expectations and expect the unexpected are important on the business side.
I’m grateful to have the opportunity to turn my passion into my profession. Every day I learn something new and I’m excited to share these things and more with you.