Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Texas hold'em - Unleashed in Dallas

As many of you know, I started my professional life as a veterinarian in Germany. After moving to the US, due to law and order, I wasn't able to practice Veterinarian medicine, without redoing all my exams and more.

So I pursued my interest in photography to lift it to a professional level.
Although successfully working as a professional photographer for the last couple of years, I was always for the lookout to combine my experience and knowledge as a veterinarian with my passion of photography.

Last fall I photographed a litter of doxies (Miniature Dachshunds)from my favorite breeder. After delivering the images to him, he confessed to have had tears in his eyes as he was looking through the images. Hearing this from a somewhat tough cowboy, I thought I must have done something right.

Coincidentally, or call it serendipity, the same week I stumbled upon an article in the PPA (Professional Photographers of America) magazine about three dedicated and successful pet photographers and their concerted “Unleashed” workshop. Researching the websites of these queens of pet photography, something clicked into place: That's it, that's what I want to do. Go figure, one of the queens is also a veterinarian....



Knowing that I would need every bit of advice and information to successfully embrace pet photography, I signed up for the “Unleashed” workshop.
Off I went to Dallas, Texas, last week to see what Unleashed is all about.

We enjoyed dedicated instructors,

...tough dog handlers...

...and models available for close ups.

We even picked up models in the park:

In short: We had a very calm and conventional learning experience...

This was probably one of the best investments I made so far in my professional life. The Unleashed team put us through a full packed three day workshop that left no question open. We went from the basics of studio lighting over dog handling to marketing with all it's bells and whistles.
Seeing three different styles and learning about three different approaches, the main lesson I took from this is, that if you stay true to your style, who you are and how you shoot, you are on the right way to success.

I strongly encourage you to browse through Bev's, Barbara's and Teresa's websites, you won't be disappointed. Links to the right under: Friends and Links

My sincere THANK YOU to Barbara, Bev and Teresa for putting this amazing workshop together, to Don for freely sharing his valuable marketing advice, to Brandy and Robin for complying with all our possible and impossible demands, and of course to our fantastic canine models!

All images in this post were photographed during the workshop.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April Conservation Tip

I see myself as a conservation photographer.
With my images I want to be an ambassador for nature and wildlife, showing people places they might never go to, but they should know about. So that they see what's at stake.
But is taking pictures enough?
No, they also need to be shown and a story told. I try that, too, but I still feel it's not enough.

After sharing some “eco” tips with friends, who almost always are astounded how easy it is to make an positive impact, I thought I share these tips on a at least monthly basis on my blog, to reach even more people, to spread the word.

The idea for this months tip was inspired by an initiative from Starbucks:

As the new Academy of Science opened we took the kids for a first look. Through it is a really stunning museum now, the one thing that impressed me most, was a display of how many paper cups get used daily in the US, and how many trees have to be cut for that. I don't recall the exact numbers, but it was mind boggling. After this visit, I started to use a travel mug for my frequent Starbucks trips. I always have one in the car, and one in my camera bag. But I noticed, that hardly anyone else does.
So for this blog I did a bit research and found the following:

“ If only 50 Starbucks customer a day in every store were to use reusable mugs, Starbucks would save 150,000 disposable paper cups daily. This equals 1.7 million pounds of paper, 3.7 million pounds of solid waste, and 150,000 trees a year”

That's pretty impressive. An average Starbucks store has about 400 customer a day, so the above amount of trees and waste could be saved if only 12.5 % of all customers would use reusable cups....And this is just Starbucks, there is also Peets and many more other coffee shops out there.

Obviously Starbucks noticed that too, and launched the following initiative:

Just click on the the header (April Conservation Tip) to go directly to the Starbucks website.

Check it out and take part. And in the future, just use these travel mugs that are catching dust in your cabinet!