Here in the UK it is Mother’s Day tomorrow, everyone is trying to get you to buy some overpriced stuff to show how much you love your Mum.
DON’T DO IT!!
Instead, make them something – a card, or draw a picture. Something special that only comes from you, and not some commercial attempt at extortion. But, even better, spend some quality time with you Mum, ask her about her life, learn about what she has seen and experienced – show an interest in her story, and listen and remember it all.
I lost my Mum some time ago now, and regret not paying more attention to the stories she told me about growing up, surviving the blitz, the things she did at school, and the amazing life she had. So, this year actually appreciate your mothers and learn from all they have been through during their lives, you won’t always get the chance.
… and on that note, here is Fidget’s Mum:
One more quick thing, if you are in the UK, don’t forget to put your clocks forward tonight!!
The curse of the ides of March seem to have bit me this week.
Things have been a bit manic, as my computer started doing weird things. Have had to spend most of the week trying to get them sorted out. Which meant the jobs I should have been doing have been delayed. That in turn means I’ve not been a happy boy!
After a wait for Microsoft to call me back – that never happened; I had a lovely online chat with someone who seemed to know less about what the problem was than I did. However, we agreed that something had done something and that it wasn’t working. Anyway, to cut a very long story short , I restored Windows back to a point some time in the middle of last month and by some miracle everything was working properly again. Then I just had to get all the things I had moved out the way, when trying to solve the problem, back to where they should be – I am still doing this bit.
Barney The Border Terrier
Barney came in for a portrait session at the end of last month, and was full of terrier mischief. His owners sort of knew what they wanted, but Barney wasn’t quite so sure that he wanted the same thing. A lot of fun and we got some lovely photos; so I hope his owners are happy with the results.
We still have some gaps in March and April if you would like to book your pet in for a photo shoot. Just drop us a message here and we’ll get back to you pretty sharpish!
Remember that dogs will be banned from many of the better beaches from the start of May, so if you would like a beach shoot then April is a good time to get it done.
February has seen a few changes to the studio layout here at Shooting The Dog. Things came to a head in the small studio space, when we had Jake in for a photo shoot. Jake was a BIG doberman, and there just wasn’t room to do him justice.
Trying to fit Jake, my lights and backdrop into the small space at the back of the shop was almost impossible.
So the decision was made to move the studio out into the main shop area. This meant that I would have to be disciplined and pack everything away after a shoot. I would also have to allow enough time before a shoot to set everything up. But I could do that … right?
All the lights, back drops, stands, etc. are stored under the stage area. They just need to be set-up before a photo shoot.
A black out blind has been fitted to block the morning sun, and hide distractions from passers by.
All this meant that we now had space at the back of the shop. So to free up some space in the Framing Dept, we moved some of the framing equipment to the back of the shop. Oh, and we also re-purposed an old door to make a wonderful new workbench.
Now all we needed was a client to try out the new set-up. Step up Benji, who was our first client to use the new studio space.
Both Jake and Benji received their Shooting The Dog® bandannas from The Prancing Dog, and hopefully will be proudly wearing them around the town.
Friday sees another client coming in for a shoot, this time a Border Terrier. We’re looking forward to see how the changes to the studio layout work for that one. We really need to get the set-up and take down working much smoother. We also need to get the lights setup properly first time, so we don’t waste time during the session messing about with things like that.
As always every session is an opportunity to fine tune what we do, and we are always looking for ways we can improve the client experience.
I love photographing dogs in all situations, and a lot of the time that is in the studio. The real challenge for me though is capturing the dogs outside, playing and running, and generally just being dogs. Action dog photography is where it is at!
The obvious difficulty is just keeping up with a moving dog. But there is far more to challenge the photographer than that. The lighting can change in an instant, and if you are down in the woods getting a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action can be a real problem.
So this means lots of practice is needed. At my local park there are no end of fun loving dogs around to give me the practice I need, and my own dog is always on hand and ready for a game of ball, if he feels like it!
On The BeacH
When we need a change of scenery from the local park, the beach is our next favourite place to have some action photography fun,
In The Water
When you get too hot and bothered running about on the beach there is always time for a quick swim to cool off.
Under The Sea
With the right equipment the action doesn’t have to stay above the waves.
Of course, an action shot doesn’t have to be close-up and personal. One of my favourite action shots of my old dog Ludo is this one taken on Mansands in Brixham. The light is fabulous and it just captures the feeling of the whole place.
Can You Photograph My Dog?
If you would like us to capture your dog having fun in the great outdoors then please call us or send us an email (the details are all the website).
Remember though, if your dog is a couch potato then you might be better off with one of our studio sessions.
A quick thank you to Brandy, Bruno, Molly, Alice, and a few unknown dogs who have joined in our fun; and all their tame humans.
Another thank you to my little Fidget, who doesn’t complain much about being a full time model, and to my old dog, Ludo, who was my main inspiration in setting up the business in the first place; and yes, I still miss him.
It’s beginning to get a bit chilly here in Brixham, at least in the back of the shop. As usual we never quite know whether we are going to be busy or not, as people recover from the Christmas festivities. But a quiet time now gives us a chance to plan for the exciting times ahead.
One thing that has been keeping me busy this month is something completely new to me. I was asked by a local company to photograph their gin. Who would have thought lighting and photographing a bottle could be so difficult, especially if you normally photograph dogs!
Never being one to turn away from a challenge, and after much grumbling and swearing from the back of the studio, I managed to produce some images that I was reasonably happy with – let’s hope the client will be too.
Onward into 2019
Meanwhile, lot’s of wonderful ideas are slowly falling into place to move the pet photography business forward into 2019. Lots more social media coverage, and getting our message out to potential clients.
I already have two confirmed bookings for February, so I hope the trend continues and the rest of the year fills up nicely.
The “Shooting The Dog” Brand
The move over to the “Shooting The Dog” brand is well under way, the first step being this web site. Then there are business cards and flyers, the list seems to be endless.
So I probably got far too excited over my new boxes … but they are rather sexy, in a cardboard box sort of way.
The new full colour price lists have arrived and look fantastic. I previously had printed my own price lists on an ancient laser printer, but sadly it gave up the ghost last week. I had to make the choice of buying a new laser printer or getting them printed properly. I’m so glad I chose the latter now that I have seen them.
Also arriving this week are the new promotional doggy bandannas, ready to be handed out to our lucky clients. Here modeled by my very own little Fidget.
So Shooting The Dog is pretty much ready to face the coming year, and anything that it might like to throw in our direction.
And if all else fails we can always start drinking the gin!
We haven’t done a blog post for a while, so I thought it was time to put something up on here. Also testing the phone app out at the same time.
This week I have been way outside my comfort zone, doing some product photography for a local gin company. It’s been a bit of a learning curve for me, trying to get the look we want without getting reflections in the glass bottles. I am getting there, but still not happy, so the challenge will continue into next week.
Meanwhile, I am trying to drum up more business for the pet photography side of things, trying to get people to spend money on luxury items is not easy in January.
Well things are beginning to slow down now as we get to the last few days before the big event.
The final few framing jobs just need to be finished off (and collected by the customers!), and then we can relax … and go for a pre-Christmas beer.
2018 has been a busy year, with things changing slightly as we try to stay ahead of an ever changing market place. What with people worried about their finances and how the “BREXIT” effect will impact them, trying to tempt them to spend money on a luxury item is never going to be easy. Add to that a few problems with a naughty intervertebral disc and … let’s just say it has been difficult at times.
That said, we have had some wonderful customers through our doors this year, and we are already looking forward to shooting a lot more pets in 2019. The calendar is already open, so don’t be shy about making a booking!
This year we have been looking at ways to make the mundane, paperworky (that’s my new word of the month) things easier. We have have started using FramR software for pricing the framing work, and Studio Ninja software to streamline the photography side of things. We have some minor things to iron out in both of these to fit the way we work, but we are getting there.
And so to next year ..
As with this year, the business will be moving more away from the original “Tom Horsley Photography” ideas, and much more down the “Shooting The Dog” road.
We pride ourselves on our pet portraits, we love doing them, and want to produce the best results we can for our customers.
So, next year should see some more changes to the shop; with less random “stuff” on the shelves, and more things related to the pet photography service on display. Print sales from the shop have pretty much dried up, so we’ll be moving all the landscape print sales to the web site only, and free up some more space in the shop.
Other than that, unless I come up with a cunning plan or win the lottery, we’ll continue to provide, what we hope is, quality service with everything we do, at a reasonable price (while still be able to eat occasionally!).
Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year, and we look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year.
Oh, and for those of you who have had you pet photographed with us before there might well be a very special offer for a follow-up shoot next year. I’m sure some details will be being published soon.