Beware The Ides Of March …

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
Bouncy Border Terrier
Barney

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.

March Availability

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.

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.

Cold and quiet January

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.

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Gin Bottles

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.

bandanas

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!

Just A Quick Post

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.

Pet Portrait

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.

More Hours Needed Please!!

A very quick update because I haven’t done one for a while, and I don’t really have the time to do this one. So  apologies for being in a rush and not taking too much time over this.

Anyway, we did some of this back in September …

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Then October was kind of busy doing things like this:…
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And some of this ..

Then a bit of this …
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Oh, and we rounded out the month doing this ….
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… and all the time trying to find new ways to attract more clients.

Hopefully this run of “busy” will continue!

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.

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

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

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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!

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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