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pet photography

Elegant photos to the most famous dog on Earth: Tuna

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Elegant photos to the most famous dog on Earth: Tuna

A few days later after Tuna's birthday party at NKLA, I met him again for his Fine Art Session at his home.

Each year we at Bows-N-Ties get involved in a charitable cause, and for 2014 Bows-N-Ties has decided to partner with the San Francisco SPCA.

(Buy your scarf or tie here: http://www.bows-n-ties.com/dogsnties/ )

To help raise both money and awareness Bows-N-Ties has launched DOGS-N-TIES, a campaign that marries fashion and activism to raise funds for homeless animals and Tuna (#tunameltsmyheart) has donated his time and image to be the face of the campaign.

Frame Your Pet was the photographer of Tuna (Instagram: Tunameltsmyheart)

Frame Your Pet was the photographer of Tuna (Instagram: Tunameltsmyheart)

It was a dream of mine to do a Fine Art Session to Tuna. He is funny, odd (in the most sweet way), unique and goofy; and I wanted to mix this explosive combination with art and elegancy.

Here are the best photos of his session:

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Courtney (Tuna's mom) putting the Dogs-n-ties scarf on Tuna for the photo shoot with Frame Your Pet.

Courtney (Tuna's mom) putting the Dogs-n-ties scarf on Tuna for the photo shoot with Frame Your Pet.





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Tips to choose the right pet photographer

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Tips to choose the right pet photographer

 

Becoming a pet owner is a more life-changing event than many people realize when they set out to choose a new addition to their family. Within a short space of time, a new dog or cat takes up a space in your heart that you didn’t know was empty. They are forever a part of your family and not just an animal.

Your pet becomes an integral part of your life; he is there for all of life’s monotonous daily moments. He greets you when you wake up, when you get in from work, and cuddles on your lap before bedtime. He’s also there for life’s milestones; birthday’s, family bbq’s, the birth of children. He is a constant presence, always offering unconditional love and affection.

Celebrating Maui's 7th birthday.

Celebrating Maui's 7th birthday.

Time passes quickly, and before you know it, your pet has transformed from puppy or kitty to a fully mature dog or cat. He changes as if before your eyes; blink and you could miss it! In the world of smartphones and modern technology, you take frequent snaps of your beloved pet until your phone memory is full to capacity in an attempt to capture him at every phase in his life. Unfortunately, these low resolution images don’t print well, and your pet can not be proudly displayed in frames in your home, as he deserves.

How many photos of your dog or cat do you have in your smart phone? 

How many photos of your dog or cat do you have in your smart phone? 

The solution to this problem is to hire a professional pet photographer. The pet photography business is gaining lots of attention, so choosing the right one is becoming extremely challenging. A conventional photographer, who photographs anything to everything, may not comprehend the art of taking the best pet portraits.

 

How to choose the right photographer for your beloved pet?

First, you need to look for a specialist. There are many styles of pet photography, such as documentary, traditional, photojournalistic, fine arts, abstract, and studio. The vast amount of options can make the choice seem daunting, but we have some easy to follow guidelines that will make choosing your pet photographer foolproof.

 

1. Generalist vs Specialist

While not all amateur photographers are created equal, the best way to ensure you receive quality work is to hire a seasoned professional with a solid background.

This is the first step toward success choosing the right photographer for you. Generalists are the ones who shoot a bit of everything: newborns, pets, weddings, landscape, etc. Pets do require an experienced photographer to have their pictures taken. The photographer must understand animals and be able to engage them to get the best out of them. Check the photographer’s experience and background and ensure he or she is a professional and has a career that backs up what he or she does with a gallery representation, awards, magazines, and blog features. Every pet is a unique character and being able to be patient with pets is not enough. You need to ensure that the candidate has experience working with animals, and ideally, can provide some references from previous customers.

 

2. Choose the Photography Style: Studio vs Outdoor/Indoor

Studio photography requires that your pet be taken to an unknown environment, which could cause nervousness. Studio photography can be very stressful for the pets. They not only have to stay quiet in the same spot for long periods of time, but the whole setup can be overwhelming when you consider all of the lights and bright flashes.

Photo courtesy of Keith Stenhouse.

Photo courtesy of Keith Stenhouse.

Outdoor photography, also known as “on location” photography, has great benefits. In the case of a dog, outdoors means exercise and having a great time. Having an incredible pet photographer will make no difference if your pet is stressed or unhappy, so considering how the location will affect them is key. In the case of senior dogs, puppies, or cats, indoor is a good alternative to outdoors. As long as the pet feels comfortable, the pictures will turn out great.

 

To know more about Studio photography vs Outdoor photography, read this post.

 

3. Choose the Photographer’s Style

Although many pet photographers use digital cameras, there are still some more traditional ones using film. Do you prefer film or digital? Do you want black and white or color? Each one comes with pros and cons, and depends on your personal preference. It’s important to spend some time checking the photographer’s portfolio to see if his/her style is what you are looking for.

 

4. Know The Process

If possible, schedule a pre-session consultation with your top two photographers. Discuss your project, what you are looking for, how the session works, and your expectations, and use the time to clarify any questions you may have. The consultation will help you get to know each other and you’ll get a better feeling of which pet photographer will be right for you.

 

5. The Investment

Figure out your budget and compare what each photographer includes in the price, but don’t let this be the deciding factor. Price is often a synonym for quality, not only in terms of products but also in customer service. Do you want a shoot-n-burn photographer or somebody who can prepare a tailored session for you and your pet? Do you want to buy a few 8x10 prints or do you want gallery-quality art pieces? You will pay once, but a few years from now, you won’t remember how much it cost you, only how wonderful and unique your pet was.

Framed Fine Art photo of a Greyhound. Perfect to decorate your home or office.

Framed Fine Art photo of a Greyhound. Perfect to decorate your home or office.

Although choosing the right pet photographer can be a time consuming process, it is vital that you invest some time searching for local dog or cat photographers that will be able to capture your pet’s personality in the best way possible.

 

If you are looking for a pet photographer in San Francisco or in the Bay Area, I'd love to work with you. Contact me now to schedule your free session consultation and let's get your project started!


Frame Your Pet’s Mission:

To provide customized services in a professional and personal manner to create timeless high-end pet photography artwork exceeding client satisfaction and expectations.

 

 

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Set & Vincent, the Rescued Long Hair Collies

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Set & Vincent, the Rescued Long Hair Collies

Although I'm now based in San Francisco, my hometown is Barcelona. I don't only have my family and friends there, but also lovely clients who are willing to wait 6 months for me to go home to photograph their pets.

This Christmas I had several sessions booked and now that I'm back and settled, I want to share them with you.


Let me introduce you to Set & Vincent. Set (which means Seven in Catalan), is the 2nd long hair collie this family has had. A few years ago, their first collie passed away at the age of 14 years old. So, when the time arrived, they didn't doubt their decision to get the same breed. They rescued Set from a puppy mill in Girona. After a few months of lots of patience and unconditional love, Set knew that he was home.

Met Set, the elegant long hair collie from Barcelona.

Met Set, the elegant long hair collie from Barcelona.

A few years later, Vincent joined the family. He is of the same breed and he was also rescued from another puppy mill. 

This is Vincent, posing for me!

This is Vincent, posing for me!

Vincent's mom chose the location. It's been many years since I left my lovely Catalonia so I'm a bit outdated when it comes to new locations for photo shots. Luckily, she found the perfect one.

Although the day was moody and looked like it was about to rain, the weather turned perfect. The light was gentle, the weather wasn't harsh, and the dogs had a wonderful time running and chasing each other.

After a while, it was time to relax, and for me to become invisible to them so that I could capture the perfect moment.

Set and Vincent laying with their mom in front of a waterfall.

Set and Vincent laying with their mom in front of a waterfall.

Vincent striking another pose. I love this one.

Vincent striking another pose. I love this one.

Of course, being outdoors, the dogs couldn't help themselves and had to go back to have some more fun!

A happy dog!

A happy dog!

I think Vincent knew the deal. One photo, one treat! He was all over the place!

I think Vincent knew the deal. One photo, one treat! He was all over the place!

There we go! Vincent again. But I have to admit it... He is a very handsome collie! 

There we go! Vincent again. But I have to admit it... He is a very handsome collie! 

In the meantime, Set was just doing his thing. 

Set playing with a stick. He doesn't need too much to enjoy himself!

Set playing with a stick. He doesn't need too much to enjoy himself!

Love, love, love.

Love, love, love.

Although Set was rescued and I know he is a lucky dog, her mom feels very lucky to have him in her life. You can tell the love is there.

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One hour later, it was time to head home.

It was a very nice session and we all had a great time in the forest. 

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Thank you, Montse, Vincent, and Set for letting me be part of such an amazing day.

 

Related post: "Adopting vs Buying, what should you do?"


Click here to book your own session like this!


Session selected as my favorite one of 2014! See the rest here.

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Why custom pet photography is expensive

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Why custom pet photography is expensive

Costs of running a business + experience and knowledge

The digital revolution has brought amazing flexibility and ability to control various factors during the image taking and making process.  Photographers, the hobbyist, the professional, the amateur all benefit from this ability to manipulate pixels.  However, with flexibility comes a price.  Digital camera equipment is still considerably more expensive when you factor in its’ lifespan, the need for additional resources for processing those images, the time it takes to get a usable image and the effort that goes into creating a work of photographic art. We all know that you can go to the local Walgreen’s and pay a $1.99 for a print – as a client you may wonder why you may pay upwards of $50, $70, $90 for a custom photography print.   Photographers hear this statement every once in a while:

“How in the world can you charge $60 for an 8×10 if it costs me less than $2 to print at x store?”

“How in the world can you charge $60 for an 8×10 if it costs me less than $2 to print at x store?”

The truth of the matter is the answer to this question is multifaceted.  Much of the cost of a photographic print produced by a professional photographer has a lot to do with the time, equipment costs, artistic vision and reputation of the photographer not to mention expertise and the usual costs of running a legitimate business. 

The cost of TIME

Approaching it from a time standpoint, let’s imagine that you have hired a photographer who has work that you love. This photographer is traveling an hour to your destination to photograph your session.  Here is an example of a time break down:

booking time: 30 minutes to one hour (client contact time + paperwork)pre-session prep time (30 mins – 1 hour, includes equipment and back up equipment checks + vehicle checks)one hour travel time TO session15-30 minutes prep time at client’s home90 minutes-2 hours with client photographing subjectone hour travel time FROM session30-45 minutes uploading time from digital cards from camera to computer30-45 minutes time spent backing up the original images2-5 hours editing time to present you with a diverse gallery of edited images1 hour prep time getting ready for ordering2-3 hours time with client for ordering images1 hour sorting through and checking order30 minutes-1 hour prep time for delivery30 minutes-1 hour getting order shippedany additional phone time or time needed for add on ordering, shipment issues, quality issues

In this example, the time spent per client can range from just under 13 hours to 19 hours – dependent on the photographer’s level of service.  This is time dedicated only to ONE session.  When the photographer charges $150-$300 for the photo shoot (aka SESSION FEE) you are not just paying for the two hours of session time, you are paying the photographer for 12-19 hours complete time for your session.

The COSTS of Maintaining a Custom Photography Business:

Regarding equipment costs, a good quality professional camera with a selection of good optical quality lenses and digital storage mediums and computer set up can run from $10,000-$30,000 costs dependent on the photographer.  Even though you can purchase a really good quality digital SLR for about $2100 there are still other costs related to photography.  A good lens for portrait photography can run from $900 to $2500.  A dependable computer system with software loaded for business and creative usage can run $2500 to $8000 dependent on the photographer. Then come lab costs for specialty products.  A good photographer knows their professional lab is an integral part of their success.  These labs often cost more and offer a range of products that allows the custom photographer to continually offer new, innovative products for the discerning client.

Discussion on other costs of running a photography business could take awhile so we’ll skip many of the intricate details.  An overview:  the costs of running the business, taxes, studio rental/mortgage if the photographer has ownership of a dedicated studio, vehicular costs, costs of advertising/marketing, costs of sample pieces that the photographer will likely bring to your session, etc.

APPLES to ORANGES to BANANAS: Often times clients will mention to their photographer that X studio in the mall/department store only charges $19.99 for an 8×10 “sheet” or they may mention other things related to discount photography chains.  The fact is those discount chains make their money on volume, not on customized 1:1 service.  In February 2007 a company who has leased photography retail space in a rather well known discount retailer closed down 500 of their portrait studios across the nation.  The reason it happened is simple, you cannot make money on 99¢ “professional” prints if you do not sell enough of them.  Interestingly enough – those same studios that offer the loss leader packages often charge much much more for their a la carte pricing vs. many custom photographers (as high as $40-50 for an 8×10).

A little history – the whole reason the big department stores began offering portrait services in the first place was to get you, the savvy consumer, in through their door so that you could spend more money with them in other departments.  Your “PORTRAITS” are considered the “loss leader”.  Your portraits that are meant to symbolize a once-in-a-lifetime stage in your child’s life are part of what a store considers a way to get you in there door to spend more money on goods that you might not really want or need but because you’re there “anyway” you buy.

Also keep in mind that when you go to a chain studio, as a consumer, you don’t have the benefit of 1:1 attention for 2 hours at your home where your pet is allowed to explore, play and be comfortable in their home environment, nor do you get the experience that many custom photographers are known for as well as the lovely captures of natural expressions.  You simply get a bare bones, “SAY CHEESE” experience.

REPUTATION/EXPERTISE of the PHOTOGRAPHER:  There is an old story about a ship that cost a company millions of dollars.  Something went wrong in the engine room and the ship was stuck in dock.  They called various “experts” who spent weeks trying to fix the issue to no avail and at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.  Finally a older gentleman was called in who simply brought in his small tool bag and a hammer.  He set about pinging on various parts of the vast engine with his hammer, finally settling on one area.  He spent a few minutes pinging in that area, took out a few tools and fixed whatever what was wrong.  After a few moments the man straightened up, looked at the captain and instructed him to “start her up.”  The captain disbelievingly went to get the engines started while the man sat in the engine room listening as the engine roared to life.  The man tipped his hat as he exited the ship to the staff who sat dumbfounded because they had seen all the experts come on board for days with their expensive equipment only to have the ship not fixed.  This man did it in a few minutes with a few pings of his hammer!

Alicia Rius (me) on National TV in Spain.

Alicia Rius (me) on National TV in Spain.

A few days passed and the man sent the shipping company a bill for $10,000.  The accounting department contacted him immediately.  Why all the rumors mentioned that this man had only spent “a few minutes” fixing the ship “with his hammer and a few other random tools”.  When questioned about why his bill was for $10,000 – did he accidentally leave an extra zero on the bill?  The man confidently responded: “In fact the time was worth the $1,000.  The other $9,000 was for the years of experience and the ability to discern the issue as quickly as possible for the company.”

Now I’m not saying that photographers fix large ships but being in demand, being well known for quality work, having a good reputation often costs time on the photographer’s part (years of practice, study, experience, etc).  A photographer’s expertise comes at a cost, their time learning their craft and learning the intricacies of lighting and the commitment put forth on their end to create a persona about their business that oozes professionalism.  A great number of photographers go a very long time from the time that they purchase their first good camera to making money at the business of photography.  Many photographers, when first starting out, rush in thinking that the business will be easily profitable in no time, how expensive could it be to get a camera and use it to create their dream?  These photographers often undervalue what they do because they have the realization that they do not have experience or expertise but are very adept at pushing the shutter on the camera.  Many times these casual “professionals” neglect to factor in the cost of business, the cost of equipment, software, back ups, etc... When you hire a photographer of sound reputation, you are hiring an expert, one that knows that they must always reinvest in their business to create the reputation of being top notch.  To create good work a photographer possesses not only sound knowledge in the technical and creative aspects of photography but also good, reliable equipment and back up equipment.

The photographer who desires to be known as better/best/unparalelled reputation-wise knows that the most important thing they can do for their business is reliability and dependability.  This is how reputations get built.  Good work often is a wonderful side product of building that good reputation.

I hope this (lengthy) article helps shed some light on WHY a custom photographer is a better choice for your family’s memories.  The photographs that are produced as a result of the professionalism and dedication that your photographer has will be cherished for a lifetime (or more) and great thought and consideration should be placed into hiring who is right for your family’s most precious investment.

This article was written by Marianne Drenthe of Marmalade Photography and can be found at the Professional Child Photography.


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