Changes to the studio layout

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.

Doberman

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?

Changes to the studio layout

All the lights, back drops, stands, etc. are stored under the stage area. They just need to be set-up before a photo shoot.

studio in the shop area

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.

Frame finishing room

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.

Petit Basset Griffon

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.

It’s Christmas Time ….

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.

November News …

Well, November has been and gone – very quickly in my mind.

We’ve been doing lots of work on the web site this month, and The Framing Dept continues to be busy as usual.

We had two dog photography sessions last week, one with a wonderful rescue Bulldog, and the other was with two eleven month old Chihuahua x JRT brothers (it was chaos, but in a lovely way!)

Mimi The Bulldog
Buster
Buddy

Christmas will now soon be with us, so don’t forget our Christmas Gift Voucher offer, it would make the perfect Christmas gift for the pet lover in your life.

Err … What happened to August?

As usual another month has flown by, and we are heading towards Autumn, and, I hate to say it, as a retailer I need to start thinking about Christmas!! Sorry for the use of the “C” word.

Anyway, August was busy with more shop renovations, mostly inside the main part of the shop, although we did the kitchen area up a bit too.

IMG_9826
New doors and handles on our little kitchen area.

We laid a new base in the shop windows, which has greatly improved the look of the window displays.

And we then moved a few things about in the shop and built a new display stand for the “Brillant Bygones” bits and pieces.

Still got some things to do as and when finances and the refurbishment enthusiasm lasts!

We have also been doing a bit of housekeeping on the website, and opened up an ETSY shop:  Brilliant Bygones

If that wasn’t enough, we went to a dog show, where Fidget picked up another rosette:
4D2A5763

… and he has mostly been doing this sort of thing:

4D2A59124D2A5856

… and we’ve been playing with lots of his friends, old and new.

4D2A59624D2A62814D2A62614D2A62134D2A61954D2A6065

Now that September is here we plan to run off for a quick camping trip in North Devon, and to chill out for that rush starts for that thing I mentioned at the top of the post, but I won’t mention it again this month.

Hot dogs and other stuff.

So, it’s August; which must mean I should be keeping you all updated on whatever has been happening in July. So here goes.

Let’s start with a top secret photo shoot I did back in June, it was for a July birthday so I can tell you about it now. It was a very hot day and we headed to the grounds of Dartington Hall to photograph the lovely Rubi and Luci. Conditions were challenging – very bright light (dimming to very little light in the trees), shiny coats, wet dogs (due to an unplanned dip in the river), and sun burnt photographer!

4D2A4873
Rubi & Luci

Most of July has been spent continuing with the re-vamp of the shop, mostly the shop front this month, but also some other bits and bobs out the back of the shop. Really pleased with how the shop front is looking now, just need to save up some pennies to get the main sign changed.

IMG_9635
Hasn’t all been hard graft though, we’ve had time for a bit of messing about in the studio.

IMG_9621

And hot summer weather wouldn’t been complete with out some beach trips and a bit of practice with the “in the water” gear.

4D2A50974D2A5270

Despite having mostly boring blue skies (well from a photography point of view, and that of the poor plants on my patio!), there was a fantastic sky over Brixham Harbour the other morning.

4D2A5610

So the next step in the shop re-vamp is to sort out the window displays, the material I have lining the window areas has been there about ten years now, and has faded really badly, and is a real pain to keep clean. So I think that is next week’s job.

I’ll let Fidget have the last word on this blog.

4D2A5660

Camping, revamping, and things that don’t end “amping”.

Blimey, July already; the country is full of world cup fever, and Wimbledon fever, and in the middle of a heat wave – what on earth is going on?

Meanwhile, I haven’t written anything on my blog since May, so I had better get a move on and tell you all about what we’ve been up to.

4D2A3720

Firstly, Fidget and I went on a short camping trip to Cornwall. We had a wonderful spot on the cliffs above Tintagel, a bit breezy but the view was awesome. Normally our May camping trips tend to be rather wet affairs, but we had wall-to-wall sunshine this year.

4D2A3734

It was a bit of a shame to come home, but we had lots of exciting things we had to do when we got back. The revamp of the studio and shop needed to be done, and after much procrastinating we got on with it. The little studio area was changed around to give us more room, the back office got knocked about, and now Tom can work on the computer without having to move every time someone wants a coffee or to wash their hands; even the shop area got a bit of a change around.

We even got some pictures up on the wall in the studio, and even as we speak the front of the shop is now getting a going over as well – we’ll report back on this once it is complete.

Fidget kindly helped me try out the new studio layout, and some rather lovely new backdrops, by offering his services as a model.

He has also been busy making new friends, and helping me practice some “in the water” photography – which had some bizarre psychedelic results due to having a strange combination of filters on the camera – we won’t do that again (not accidentally anyway)!

IMG_9490-Edit

4D2A4644

Now it’s back to the excitement of sanding, and painting, and constantly being told “You’ve missed a bit” by well meaning passers-by, as we finish off the new improved shop frontage.

By the time you read this, I suspect England may well have been knocked out of the world cup, and the last Brit (even though he is South African) will have been beaten in straight sets – but we can live in hope, weird things are happening so maybe it’s our year.

 

 

 

 

 

April, and everything …

4D2A0583

So, Easter has been and gone, we’ve all eaten too much chocolate and now we are waiting for summer to arrive. It’s trying to do it’s bit, and here in Brixham we have had the odd lovely day interspersed with rainy, grey ones. There seem to have been a few tourists here over the Easter break, and, as annoying as they can be when you are trying get somewhere or do something, they are important to the local economy, so we just have to try and accept that; and hope they will come and spend some money with us.

The Framing Dept. has been as busy as ever, with the usual run of the mill framing requests, along with some slightly more challenging (and some might even say weird) requests.

4D2A0870
This canvas triptych was put together for a new Italian restaurant that is opening in the town. The challenge here was ensuring that the three lined up properly (I think we did quite well).

4D2A0669
More of a challenge was this 3D mask, for various reasons. Because of the depth we had to build out a box behind the frame to contain the item, which was then “float” mounted within the box. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but we were really pleased with the finished result.

Meanwhile, Fidget and I have been out and about doing what we do, me taking pictures, and him chasing balls and rolling in the mud … there is so much mud everywhere, please someone let it dry out; I’m running out of clean dog towels!

4D2A05254D2A04894D2A07254D2A0691

With a bit of luck my next blog will have puppies in it, and maybe even some “in the sea” shots if the weather warms up properly … we can but hope!

Winter hits back!

So, there we were all enjoying the first days of Spring – sunshine,  blue skies, everything was good in Brixham …
4D2A9989

… then WHAM!!!
4D2A0144

Winter came back with a vengeance.

Snow and ice, howling gales … what is going on? We don’t get snow down here, then suddenly we get it twice in one year and, just to rub salt in the wound, in the middle of March. Hate to think what effect it will have on my tulips.

Still it meant another snow day, time to close the shop and go and enjoy the snow; and Fidget had a wonderful time.

4D2A01654D2A02034D2A0241

Then, just as quickly as it arrived, we were back to sunshine and blue skies again.

4D2A0333

British Summer Time starts tomorrow, so let’s hope the weather gods are listening; we all really need to dry out down here now.

Back in the shop, and lots of framing work has been going on – a few of the jobs have been slight challenges but more of that in a later blog. We’ve had very happy bunny owners pick up their framed print, and discussions are ongoing regarding more work there. Lots of enquiries about different bits and bobs, so hopefully some of them will turn into paying work as well.

Is it too early for a Hot Cross Bun yet?

The Framing Dept.

As well as our pet photography, we also have an in-house framing department, that not only frames our pet portraits, but also anything else you want to bring in.

Mel, our talented framer, has been making frames for longer than he cares to admit; with customers including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group and several major football clubs.

All our frames are hand made to your specific requirements, mounts are hand cut, and every care is taken to provide you with a quality product at a reasonable price. As much care and attention goes into making a small frame as goes into making a very large one.

What can we frame? Well pretty much anything you like:

We were recently asked if we could help with the BBC’s DIYSOS programme when they needed some framing at very short notice. We were happy to help and managed to provide them with nineteen framed pieces of art of various sizes in just over a day.

THP_DIYSOS

So if you have something, no matter how weird and wonderful, that you want to hang on your wall, why not pop into the shop? We will be more than happy to advise you on the best way to frame your precious items, and provide you with a quality piece that you will be proud to hang over your fire place.

Back To Work

Well after a nice two week break, we’ll be back in the shop tomorrow – recharged and ready to go for the new year.

It’s not all been feet up and eating lots of chocolate, as we’ve been looking into new product offerings and working out how we can offer good value for money but still be able to eat!

So hopefully lots of exciting news coming up in the next few weeks, and we’ll be able to share some of those portraits we did as Christmas presents that so far I have had to keep secret – should be safe to show you them now,

Happy New Year everyone, and let’s all hope it’s a prosperous and peaceful one.