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Why Pets?

Lesson 3 from: Pets and People Photography

Vicki Taufer

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Lesson Info

3. Why Pets?


Class Trailer

Day 1


The V Gallery Evolution


Selling the Experience


Why Pets?


You and Your Clients


Pet Photography Intro Q&A


Creating a Market: Dog Days of Summer


Educating Clients about Dog Days


Lesson Info

Why Pets?

Why pat's? Um they have this next slide. It kind of gives me the cbgbs bad bad hair I just and bad air that is me with, um the horse was on vacation. I never actually had a horse, but I always had a rabbit and a dog and cabbage patch doll. Um but that's where I say it's important stay true to yourself so I've always all pets one of my jobs besides being the mail carrier and a teacher and all the things that was I was I wanted to be a vet. So I've always had a love and a passion for animals, so I never really thought about it until a few years ago they doing it to make money. But I just I love animals so that's something that's just inside of me. So it's a very natural that and I'm really thrilled and happy that I have the opportunity to photograph animals and, you know, make a living, make a living doing that, but that's where I tell people that was some advice I was given years ago when I started on guy I apologize. I don't know who said it to me, but it was a photographer at one of t...

he conventions that we were just kind of in a heart to heart, and he said, you know, really when you find yourself not loving what you're doing like don't just give up on photography's like there will be a point more than likely because you've made this your business like where you know it's going well, maybe it's not going so well? Maybe you're frustrated, maybe your burn out um to find a way to mix it up, to find a way to do something different, and for me, that was actually kind of pets that was like I wasn't really doing it sure, I photograph a pet here and there a senior might bring in our family might bring in we were pet friendly, but the actual challenge of, like, creating a market where it didn't exist because it didn't in our community sixteen thousand people, central illinois, few hundred thousand people I'm you know, within driving distance, but I grew up in my little town and I can tell you to the best of my knowledge, I never saw a professional portrait of an animal in anybody's home like that market just really didn't exist. I didn't really know of any photographers in the area doing this um and so when we decided to create that market on and actually in the next segment, we're gonna talk about our dog days of summer event that's how we created that market, part of the reason I wanted to do it was strictly for that challenge strictly for that like I need that artistic challenge I want to do something different and and it kind of just lit a fire, you know, underneath me so that being said the cool thing that happens if you really I believe this is my experience, what has happened if you do what you love it's no different than when you started out your business like when I started out that your business conf lewis and people will see that passion and they see that you love what you're doing and it'll grow and it won't feel like work. So for me what happened to me is there were certain things I was doing in business I totally lost the passion for and this photographer said it's not fair to you it's not fair to your clients when you get to that point find a way to change it and so for me that was weddings I have absolutely nothing against weddings I even have a wedding I'm photographing in a couple months but it was the day in day out trying to do weddings plus on my portrait business being the only shooter I couldn't do it all and so I lost that passion I physically would get sick like before during after a wedding, so I thought, you know what? If my business cannot survive with that weddings, I shouldn't have my business I think it's not fair to that bride on dso I've stepped away from weddings about three times on then I've gotten back into him, but it was then that's when my children and family photography flourished initially when I stopped doing wedding because I have all this extra energy it takes energy, it takes effort you guys all know that to have a business so rather and funnel it all into something that I don't have a passion for it becomes fun. It becomes fun again to do it with something you love and so that was weddings from initially it became pets a few years later. Oh man, jen and I, in fact I don't know this for certain, I think well, so that background I told you about the one background in my basement with one light that's what these images were shot with my pets were my very first subject all the time, like literally I had nothing I told you guys that, um so this background my mom and I'd painted that's my husband with my dog when she was a puppy that is probably about thirteen years old I think he might have been shot on castle black I had a square format film camera for for a short time otherwise it was still a medium format large phone camera you can see I got creative everybody was putting to lean and their pictures and things so I would put tool around my puppies that's actually a curtain in the background that I made into just the background like that's all I had but what's crazy is you'll see this weekend I'm shooting with a lot of that same stuff we went to the that value village and picked up fabrics and curtains I actually still do the same things I have expensive things but it's great to mix in the inexpensive things as well and we talked about this, but it is I feel very strongly about the importance of following your passion because of your client's seen seen through that they see that and they experience that and that will affect experience they have with you. So my goal when we created this um, pet market, this pet photography market uh was to really take this high end brand we'd already created for a studio in the ways that I already was explaining that they carry that over into this other aspect of my business. And so again, we're going to talk in the next segment about the dog days of summer event that we actually did that, but one of the things I would suggest to you if this is something you're wanting to do and just even start dabbling in you're considering I'm a strong believer and you're going to sell what you show so you're not you're gonna have a hard time getting pet clients and to your doors if you don't have pet images so that may mean your pet your mom's pet your sister's pet um it may actually mean and one of the things I'm going to talk about tomorrow with relationship marketing don't give you very specifics but it may mean soliciting another local vendor in your community there's lots of them here in seattle I feel like on every corner a dog bakery the doggy day care the veterinarian's office I mean anybody who has the same clientele that you want you can no different than anything else in your business if you want brides who do you work with the caterers the wedding coordinators the florist so if you want to get to the pet market you work with the people who are already working with pets so that's goingto take that's gonna look different for different locations and things but typically would it might mean if you're trying to build your portfolio just going in and chatting with um um we're finding someone that you know somebody who knows somebody you know um to that that know that has a business that has that same clientele you want and offering your services offering him hail photograph here your pets and your dog your cattle or with your family and we could do a display or a print you know, up on your walls and then people start seeing that and some of the brochures and things were gonna go over and our marketing pieces will be actual marking pieces you can set out at these places to get people in your door, but the big thing is to start shooting like that really is the big thing so whether eso you start building that portfolio and we all know like it's so different nowadays and it used to be like when I started without a website you can build a portfolio rather and expensively because it could all just be digital so I encourage you to just start doing that even if you're sitting here you know, watching this thinking it's something you may want to dio maybe you don't want to go full force, but I also like that have been pet friendly um our whole business so anybody is called they want to bring their pet we've we've done that so there's some anxiety with that I know there's a few people who said I always try you know I turn people down if they say they have a pit and I get that like it khun definitely be a challenge but it can also be very rewarding if you can get that shot I mean that's part of the family too so if you can get that shot and everybody's looking great um and on saturday jed's gonna be doing some photo shop stuff sometimes it that I don't like to rely on it yes sometimes it might require head swap er or something too get to the image that you need but I do that was my regular clients it really is no different than part of a family with a bunch of kids I mean sometimes to get that image that they're willing to spend the money in a wall portrait like we'll do a head swap before the client never even sees it hopefully none of them are watching this right now they they just think that we got the shot like I can't believe you got that um that you know that is the one thing with photo shop I'm sad about is that now that like every client nous photo shop in their grand kids no photo shop it's like oh, you can just do that right now you can just fix that like there was a magic initially I felt like that we try to really cling onto still but but clients clients no, we can do a lot of stuff but I still do not recommend doing it in front of them like we don't like that's not part of our gig and what we do so there's a new important part of your brand it's not as like concrete as a brown box with white tissue paper or what your logo looks like but it's your style and what's really cool what I actually have in these next few slides um, I pulled these together this year I actually went back into my archives, even my film work and I wanted to kind of see, like how my style potentially, um was developing even again before I realized I was creating the style and and I I said, I felt like I was kind of the baby of, like these certain photographer's I studied under which is what's so cool for me about creative live because people access to so many so many instructors, and taken do it a lot less, you know expensively than what I had to pay to go travel to, you know, go to workshops and seminars when I started, but it's not that you become those people but it's so great because you watch I mean, every weekend you can watch me different, you get all these little tidbits and you'll become like this whole new artist and person based on all these little great things you pick up from all these photographers. So what I was going to go back to with this developing the style, though, um I just start going back through kind of archives this isn't even a photograph, this is really embarrassing he's hopefully still sleeping and not watching this this is my husband dead with a snake, a pet but it's all dots you could tell we were just so in love and just dating because I looked at that for like it took weeks, you know, to do dot so I don't think I could do that now still love him, but I took a lot of patients, but I still took that from a photograph. My very first photographs, my very first black and white class I took was using actual, just like the heat lamps from his snake cage lighting them. No, I had to put sunglasses on and the snake around his neck, but I did a lot of black and white. This was actually everything kind of comes full circle, but this was I shot with my parents. Minolta, I think, was like from the nineteen seventies again developing my own black and whites, but from a trip I went to to visit a deaf village in haiti and that's, when I decided I wanted to be a special education teacher and way ended up adopting a couple years ago. And I just kind of see how all this kind of it comes full circle. So I love that that image I used to do crazy stuff with my wedding numbers, this is how my business initially grew. I wasn't I was uncle bob hey, hey, I don't think uncle uncle bob had a name back then, but I was uncle bob because I wasn't the wedding photographer but like, this is my husband's roommates wife and I was at the wedding so I only hit could take twenty four shots it was film right? So like, you know, I'd be back there and I get a couple shots and I'd snag him to the side and I didn't realize that might not be cool with the photographer back then, but then I'd create crazy I've hand color home with the pencils and the markers and put the tissue paper and flowers and my first wedding albums I did were all like this too I would make custom albums with all these papers and cantor in edges and, um and stuff, but I still love to look back that it was like it was just that I was taking all this time to have this presentation with my clients, and this is how my business group this is where people then I really started getting asked a photograph, weddings and other types of sessions that really israel drool that is not the borders obviously photoshopped um, but some of these, like we're looking at images are, you know, eight, nine years old film images and I show you this I know these aren't pet images but it's a style issue and as we get into the pet images, you'll see I actually a certain style with my pet stuff too, and it was really important to me to stay true to that style and carry that over into my pet work so like for me it wouldn't work to just photograph all dogs on a white background. I love that look, but that actually wouldn't work for my studio, it wouldn't be what my clients would be expecting um, it wouldn't fit what they were used to getting, you know, from me and what I put myself out, you know, in the community as and they're timeless that's my goal to some of my stuff, I get a little fun and crazy colors and things with the pets especially, but I still try to get something that I would consider timeless and that I tell people I want your kids to fight over this no, I want your kids to fight over this, um, you know, it's an heirloom and it is timeless and in my style is not photo journalistic I don't think it's traditional I call it kind of imposed where I set up the situation and it happens and you'll see that with my pets, I'll set up the situation, put the pet there, maybe it works maybe doesn't we try it again? We try it again but it's not again like grabbing the pet and forcing him to do something it's going to get crazy here this weekend like there's gonna be animals all over the place but you're not going to say it's not gonna work like that'll show right if I take a dog and I set him up here and like we're pinning him down or blame down the years going to have a certain look the facial expressions are gonna have a certain look it's no different than children and you can see even like an image like this the hottest carries over in the style of what I do with the pets in the feet and even the hands like that actually all carried over in the style what I do with my pet photography the actual client experience these images I just thought it's kind of interesting the image that was has been on creative live of the lab puppy under the feet that's actually how our dog days of event our dog days event which we'll talk about next that's how it actually got started because she got that puppy I said bring it on let's take some shots and within like two weeks we create this promotion because we liked the pictures not hide recommend doing it but um this was just last week one of my other employees just got this puppy so okay, I'm going to seattle to do this, you know, thing with pet photography let's do a shoot but what I show this for this is going to really common I know you guys run into this with your client's pets and children mom didn't want me in pictures like this was last minute issues like in sweats hairs that no, I don't want you to know I don't want to be in it and so I just found ways to put her in it I got great shots of the dog by himself too, but I just I wanted to get her in the shots where I knew she would be okay with it that she would still like the images love the images on dh she wasn't worried about that she didn't feel ready and I do that I do that with my my mom's with with kids too, and I think that's really important because I think that there's point out a week that goes by that I don't have a client that says home and away toy, you know, lose ten pounds so I'm gonna wait till don't wait don't wait, you know and what's cool is they're hiring this is professionals our job is to make him toe look great anyway, you know we're not talking about snapshots we're gonna make them look beautiful so find ways to incorporate the owners in with their pets is great even if that's not why they're coming to the studio I'm very known at my studio for not just doing what the clients came came for if I have ah family calling they say I want to do the whole family shoot with three dogs and this night and I just want one group shot and that's it there's no way that's gonna happen like that's not gonna work for me I will do that shot and I will make sure they get what they came for but I explained it to me ben and mike you guys are here like you made this effort, you're dressed up kids, they're all good dogs air here, let me and I'm going to do that this weekend I know some of the animals coming in like they probably want the group shot, but I'm going to take the individual puppy with this kid and maybe this kid with two of the puppies maybe it's the family in the background and the dogs in the foreground and that's done on purpose for a couple of reasons. One I just like the variety um I would get bored just taking that one standard shot they wanted, but when we get into sales tomorrow that's part of the whole like pre selling process and what's going on in my brain is that I know I can't sell a book of twenty images that all look the same like you have tohave all those different scenario's variety when my husband shows you guys our workflow in our photo shop stuff we have products with different collages and nine openings you can't do that if you only have, like one kind of look one kind of set up and so my goal to show you guys this week or this weekend is as many a cz many variety of things as possible so window lied on location, studio lights of and the challenges that all those things bring up because there are very specific challenges, especially with pets that you'll face uh you'll find out with window light you're going to get more images potentially out of focus obviously then when you have strobes again no different than children this is the reality of what a session is like you will see this this is why I'm terrified to be uncreative life because this is what you'll see that's reality this is the dog that is on the cover of creative life that's now a big dog not a puppy and now has a brother and so I had this idea last minute of course I'm always last minute couple days inform catching the flights like hey cilia, can you bring in your dog and your kid and let's try to recreate that shot? It was attacks she's like are you kidding? Say that's not gonna happen, so I didn't re create. I didn't get the shot that that was recreating from what was on the cover of creative live, but I did get some really fun images still, you know, somewhat recreating it's much easier with a small puppy talk to do that, and we had to bring in the couch because that was just all over the place. And you'll see that is one of my favorite props is a couch that has three sides to it because there is something that kinda contains them a little bit, especially when you're talking about multiple dogs. But then I go to this, and I love it like it's, not samos. What they're shot is, but you'll see almost every shoot I d'oh with a child or with a pet will have something like this. The kid in the foreground, pet in the background are the parents in the background of the kid and pet in the foreground or the feet, something something to that back.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Keynote Slides
Keynote Slides Day 2

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This was a great topic. I tuned in thinking I wouldn't be interested, and then, wow, it was fabulous. So fabulous I'm holding an event in two weeks time to launch my own pet photography and raise food for local homeless animals. Thanks so much CL team!

Carolyn Himes

Vicki Taufer is Brilliant as a person and artist. What an honor to experience her for the last 3 days. Thank you to Jed for your expertise and reminder that technology can help us all have time to play more and enjoy life more! Thank you creativeLIVE notch!

Student Work