Purchase The Tiny Dog Calendar!
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I just finished shooting our 2014 Tiny Dog Calendar. This is our 5th tiny calendar and every year, I enjoy it more. For those of you who haven’t seen them, it’s the format that is tiny, not the dogs. We have it printed at a local printing company with an Indigo digital press and it’s sized to fit in a CD case. The case flips open and creates a stand for the calendar pages which you select each month.
Each year I self-publish this calendar and give the proceeds to a local charity (usually an animal rescue organization) This year we put a new twist on it by allowing people to vote online for their favorite dog photo at a cost of $1 per vote –with all the voting dollars going to the local Humane Society. We sold 2749 votes and created a lot interest for the calendar — which we have now sent to the printer. For those of you planning a similar project, here are a few key points to remember:
1) The time to sell calendars is in the fall. Shoot when you want to, but if you can’t have them ready by October 1st, you will miss the majority of your sales. They are big for the holidays but after January 15th, retailers practically give them away.
2) Pet owners LOVE having a calendar model in the family — they will buy lots of copies to give as gifts and even pay for the privilege of being published in your calendar.
3) They are a great way to publicize your cause, your group and your photographic skill. And they are a TON of work.
4) There is risk. The best profits come from the larger orders — so shop around. Most printing companies will work with you but the cost for a small order is very high. Once you get over a 250, the price drops significantly and you can start to make a profit, but someone has to pay the upfront costs and most charities don’t want to risk their hard-earned funds. So you may be pulling the money out of your pocket to get the job done!
As soon as the calendars arrive, we’ll have them available on this blog, my website and at the studio — I hope you’ll purchase one and use the inspiration to publish a calendar for your favorite animal rescue charity!
Just found out about this wonderful art project that pays tribute to the 5,500 dogs that are euthanized every day in America. Yes. 5,500. Every day. It’s a staggering number. http://vimeo.com/61320471
Thank goodness there is something we can do to help. Watching this makes me want to grab my camera and start shooting! Thanks for all that YOU do.
A beautiful inspiring video for those of us who need to occasionally remember that human beings are often kind.
See more here: http://www.pawbonito.com/
Thank you, Labradors.com for donating a lot of time and effort to support Lab Rescue groups around the country! And thanks for the recent article you can read here: http://www.labradors.com/resources/204/teresa-berg-saving-lives-with-the-magic-of-photography
Every time we get a new article published, more people find out how much improving their photography will improve their adoption rates!
The smart people at Hearts Speak are setting up photo studios and training shelter volunteers to make better adoption photos in NYC. Yay!
1. Location RULES! Don’t pick the location for any other reason than the light – and the comfort of your subjects. If the dog’s not comfortable on a slatted bench, then don’t frustrate yourself by trying to make him sit there. For a basic warm and casual portrait, It’s always a good idea to get the people and the dogs faces on the same plane. Preferably close together.
2. Fresh people + Tired Dogs = Great portraits. Somehow, you want the dogs to burn off their excess energy before you sit them in front of the camera. Conversely, you want your two-legged subjects fresh and ready to go.
3. Minimize distractions. This is true for kids but doubly important for dogs. You’ll have a very difficult time creating the perfect dog portrait if Max is tracking squirrels and ducks with his eyes. Choose the time of day and the location to minimize these kinds of challenges. Noisy playgrounds, for example, are problematic for both types of subjects.
4. Casual beats Formal. The days of formal posed pet portraits are over! It’s far more important to get them laughing and playing together than to exhaust yourself (and them) for the perfect pose. Let them interact and prompt them occasionally to look at the camera while they are roughly in position. Shoot wider than necessary to allow them room to move. They will both love you for it.
5. What to wear? Since Max can’t really change his outfit, you better make sure your two-legged subjects pay attention to theirs. You want them to contrast with their pet but not compete. But watch out – too much contrast can make all that loose dog hair a photoshop nightmare for you later. A good medium range color that doesn’t distract the eye will usually save the day.