Sir Fidget Smelly-Bottom, the studio dog, has decided that he would like to recommend to you some of his favourite things, places to visit and all things doggy related.
Ruff Dawg Sticks And TWIGS
First on his “must have” list are Ruff Dawg Sticks and Twigs. Fidget had a nasty experience with a real stick when he was a puppy, but is still drawn to them to play with. These rubber sticks are perfect for games of fetch in the park or on the beach – they even float. They have been a favourite toy for Fidget since he was a puppy.
One of Fidget’s favourite walks is through Long Wood near Kingswear. There are lots of squirrels to chase and water to splash around in.
In the spring the place is covered in bluebells, and as Autumn comes along the colour in the trees can take your breath away.
It’s part of the Dart Valley Trail, and you can find out more information here.
Ruffle Snuffle Mats
Another of Fidget’s favourite things, that comes highly recommended, is his Ruffle Snuffle mat.
Fidget got his Ruffle Snuffle mat for Christmas a couple of years ago. We didn’t think it would last past the New Year; but here we are two years later and not only is it still in one piece but Fidget loves his “Ruffle Snuffle time”.
Find out all about Ruffle Snuffle mats and the other wonderful things that are on offer here
When Fidget is meeting his friends for coffee he likes to go to Flour Flower in Middle Street, Brixham.
The even have special doggy biscotti for the four legged customers.
Fidget will always insist on visiting Denise at Taste in Middle Street, Brixham; and as lovely as Denise is, it’s possibly the wonderful range of cheese that he is really interested in!
This is just a selection of Fidget’s favourite places, he’ll be back to tell you about more of them at a later date .
If you know of some nice dog friendly places to visit around Torbay, then why not leave a comment and Fidget will check them out.
A rather late blog post, it’s June already what has happened to April and May? Well they seem to have sped past very quickly. So many apologies for not getting around to posting anything here for a long time.
May Camping Trip
May saw Fidget and me off on one of our camping trips. This time to the wilds of the Brecon Beacons. We managed to get in some nice walks, and we even managed to time it right for some sunny weather.
It wasn’t one of our favourite camp sites, but the location was absolutely stunning, and the facilities and the site staff were brilliant. It was just a bit too busy with the “wrong” type of campers, and there was a rather busy road just by the campsite. But we still had a lovely break, and we are already planning our September trip.
In other news
Much work has been happening on the website. A few tweaks here and there in the background to try and optimise the site, and some changes to layout and content.
Meanwhile Fidget has been out playing with his friends and generally just being Fidget.
12th Birthday Special Offer
As our 12th business birthday is soon upon us, we have a fabulous special offer for anyone booking a studio photo shoot before the end of July.
And, we are getting close to completing our rebranding from Tom Horsley Photography to Shooting The Dog. Our new shop sign has now been ordered and hopefully will be with us before the end of the month.
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.
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.