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Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: Integrating Animal Photography into your Business

Norah Levine

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Lesson Info

Class Introduction

So a little bit about me, I am a pet parent of five lovely animals. I have two dogs and three cats so they help me kind of keep in the mode of working with animals all the time. So a little bit about how I started, I really started photography, you know, in the eighth grade, that's how I got exposed to working in the dark room and kind of fell in love with photography. I pursued an education in photography so I got a degree in, in photography in Philadelphia. And, my animal kind of exposure to animals just started because I had animals of my own. And kind of just, I'm an animal person. So I'm sure all of you are animal people. You probably wouldn't be here if you, if you weren't so it kind of kick started my pet photography experience. So just being around them and after I graduated school it was like, what am I gonna do, you know? I love animals, thinking about, you know, what did I want to create for myself? And I lived in an area in New Mexico where there were a lot of animals, ther...

e was a big market. There was a big animal community so that was for me, kind of an, felt like it was an opportunity to, to have a niche, a niche market. So, so that's kind of how I started, just briefly. And I did a lot of volunteer work as well, so that gave me a lot of exposure as we'll talk about throughout the course, to understanding animal behavior and really just being around the animals really inspired me to work with them as well. My business kind of developed slowly over time and I kind of started part-time and then it gradually developed over the years. I started out, you know, in the photo lab. I learned traditional methods of photography. So printing in the dark room and then it went to digital so a lot has shifted since I got into photography. So, yeah, it's kind of a bit, a brief history on what I've been through. I also am an instructor at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. So was a student there and then I've had the opportunity to teach pet photography there which has been a great, a great honor. And like Kenneth said, this labor of love project for me, doing a book which is really culminated my experience as a pet photographer and hopefully helping lots of people get inspired about pet photography. So, we have so much to cover over the next couple of days here for this course. And I'm really excited so just to give you an idea of what we're gonna be doing. We're gonna really start out with setting the foundation. So getting you prepared for everything that happens before the shoot. Getting you a good understanding of what the animal, you know, animal behavior and different types of animals and the experiences working with them. The psychology as well. Also studio, a studio and environment, different situations working in studio and environment. Then we're gonna go on to actually photographing a live shoot. We're gonna do some pictures with some dogs and cats. So that'll be fun and really just kind of after the session talk about what went right, what my expectations were, what went wrong, cause I'm sure there will be plenty of talking points to teach to so we'll go over that. Then we're gonna get into the studio again and do some live shoots with families and pets and talk about interacting with, how do you work with people and animals together. So I know that's something that's important to a lot of you as well. And then we'll jump into talking about my, my business model and what I have set up. How I kind of approach pet photography and how pets play a role in what I do and the customized model that you might be able to do for yourself. Then following that, we'll go to pets on location. I am primarily a location pet photographer, so I wanna talk to you about working on location and scouting, everything that needs to happen before the shoot just so you're really prepared. And how to make the session personal and finding the perfect spots for the photos. We'll talk about directing subjects. The different ways to approach directing subjects so you can get really authentic moments. The planned, the unplanned moments and the studio versus non-studio experience so you can kind of think for yourself and what type of experience you're looking to do with pets. And then we'll go over the final selections. So what goes in through my head on how I make decisions about what I choose to shoot, choose to show my clients, as well as the process, the process of, you know, from, from the shoot to what I show my clients to the sales as well. So we'll get, get that covered for you. And then what can you do next with your pet photography. What can you do today, tomorrow, next week, to get started and I know a lot of you are in different spaces in your careers. Some of you are more hobby oriented, some of you are doing it as a career, full-time, part-time. Some of you might want to get pets involved with your current business in a different way. So incorporating pets in your family shoots or your weddings or whatever that might be. So we're gonna get you set up for that. So yeah, we have a lot to cover. So, I'm lookin' forward to it. My commitment to you is really to be completely open and honest about my experience as a pet photographer as a business person. You know, I love hearing the great, cute moments but I also wanna be honest with you about what's involved with the business and when things don't work out for me, you know. When I struggle and kind of my internal dialogue and things that you know, go through my head as I'm photographing, just so we can all make sure that we can learn as much as possible from each other. I want to prepare you for your next steps. Like I said, whatever that step is for you I'm here to give you confidence and moving forward for whatever that looks like for you. I really wanna go, kind of beyond, we'll talk a little bit about, you know, ISO and shutter speed and I'll make, I'll try to share that information as we go along and if you ever have any questions about that, I'm happy to answer it. It won't just, necessarily be the focus but I want to go beyond the, beyond that technical stuff and really talk about kind of the flow of things a little bit more cause I know, I know that that's where a lot of people kind of struggle so I'm excited to do that.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Norah Levine Book Coupon Code
Norah Levine Resource Guide
Pet Packing List
Pre Shoot Questionnaire

Ratings and Reviews


Norah is really great and I learned a lot watching her. Even non-pet related things, like how she's continually trying to better herself were really inspiring to me. Since watching this, I've learned to take every shoot as a learning opportunity by evaluating what went right and what didn't, and thinking of what I can do next time to do better. I liked the way she showed interacting with animals in a way that doesn't stress them (well, depending on the animal there may be some level of stress anyway I guess...) too. Great class.

Chelsea Beauchamp

So inspiring! Great information on both family pet photography as a craft as well as the business side. Norah obviously knows what she's doing and has tons of experience, so it's a good chance to hear/see what it's really like to take this on as a specialty whether it's the focus of your work or one of many parts of your work. She focuses not just on the mechanics, but on the personal side of working with people and animals. You can tell she's passionate about what she does, too. It's only been one day of class and I already feel totally inspired!

Student Work