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Beginner’s pet photography workshop with Teresa Berg


Our DOG SHOTS workshop, scheduled for Saturday February 25th is now open for registration. This is our most basic workshop with emphasis on using the manual settings on your camera for great pet portraits.

Most of the attendees at DOG SHOTS are animal rescue volunteers and pet lovers who really want to move in to professional quality portraits. The only requirement is that you use a camera that has manual settings, like DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. It’s a great way to learn to use light and all the tricks for getting the dog to pose and look at the camera.

We meet at the Teresa Berg Photography studio in Dallas and then go to the nearby park. This workshop uses only natural light and reflectors (so NOT a lot of expensive equipment) and live dog models. We discuss different backgrounds, light, composition and how to set up your shots. It’s a great way to figure out if you want to be a professional pet photographer!

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Interested?  The one day workshop is $295 and includes lunch. We even have a nearby hotel with great rates for those of you who might come in from out of town. Call the studio at 972-250-2415 with your questions or to sign up. We only take 10 attendees so everyone gets plenty of time to work hands on with Teresa and her assistant.

The Tiny Dog Calendars are here!


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Our 2017 Tiny Dog calendars are available this week –and until they’re sold out — at our Etsy shop here.    But even better than that, these beautiful dogs will become a traveling exhibit of framed art to inspire people to adopt!  We’ve taken 14 of the rescue dogs from the calendar model group and added their “rescue stories” in text on the photograph and then framed them for display.  Stay tuned for photos of the exhibit.  Maybe something that will work in your area?

Using a printed background…


Ever get bored with your options?  I am constantly looking for something interesting to do with adoptable dogs. And it’s great practice if you think you may someday want to photograph for clients.  So today I was setting up a 5’X6′ printed canvas background from one of my favorite professional photo labs  Simply Color Lab. If you haven’t discovered them, you can open up a free account and download their ordering software, by clicking the link.

We have an inexpensive backdrop stand which we spent about $90 for here . And a couple of clamps to hold the backdrop to the stand. It’s easy to transport if you’re working at a shelter. If you’re planning on using it all the time, invest in a better one — but for our occasional use, this one works fine.

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As you can see by the set up shots, we used an area rug to cover the bottom edge of the backdrop. We often find good deals on rugs at Overstock.com, or even garage sales and thrift stores. The rugs are the heaviest and most inconvenient part of this set up to transport. If they’re big enough for the big dogs, they’re heavy!  So I’d try and work with the smallest size that you can shoot on — maybe 4×6?  This one is larger because we used to use it in our reception area here at the studio. Some photographers use a strip of baseboard or molding to make a nice edge where the backdrop meets the floor. We like to use area rugs because they keep the dogs from slipping around, and the photos look like you’re at home, not a photo studio.  Beware of accidents, though — shelter dogs love to leave their scent (pee!) on our area rugs.

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The background is narrow, but usually ample for one dog. Beware of the pattern though — if you’re using a leash to keep the dog in place (which we highly recommend) you will need to photoshop it out of the background and the pattern makes that a slower process.  Like all of our adoption photos, we’re more interested in showing off the dog, not the props, so we kept the rest of the shot clean and simple. I’ve even seen a rug nailed up on the wall that makes a great backdrop, just avoid anything wrinkly. You can also use just the rug as your background by standing over your subject and shooting down at him. So stretch your wings and try something new!

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Selling votes!


We’re busy selling votes for the 2017 Tiny Dog Calendar.  This is our annual fundraising project and the each vote costs $1.  Only the top 13 vote-getters make it in to the 2017 calendar, but each and every little model has fun in the process.

This year we collaborated with a wonderful local florist, Sheila Johnson of FLORAL CONCEPTS to create something colorful and spectacular for each of our models. No tired silk flowers for these babies!  We think the results are well worth it.  Our goal is to have a traveling display that will go up in several area public spaces to show off just how beautiful our furry friends are. And maybe inspire people to adopt or donate.

Most of the models are local rescues, but ALL of the voting money goes to a local charity — Artists for Animals — to help them save more homeless pets. The calendars will go on sale in the fall — as well as some limited edition greeting cards. So keep an eye on our Etsy shop for greeting cards, but you can PRE-order your calendars now.

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Please comment. We’re listening.


Over the next few weeks (and months) we’ll be doing a series of casual (free!)videos designed to support you and your pet photography.  If you would take the time to comment and tell us what your biggest pet portrait challenges are and where you need the most help, we’ll try to address them in upcoming videos.  So fire away!

In the mean time, here is a pullback shot of our new natural light shooting area in the studio. We covered the 10×10 opening from the garage door with floor to ceiling glass and created a giant window. This one is facing west (not ideal ) but creates beautiful light until late afternoon when it’s too bright — even with diffusion.  We will use this set up next week for animal adoption photos for a local rescue group.

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To the left you see a simple stand up reflector made of two 4×8 sheets of insulation board. Silver on one side and lightweight and cheap…. from our local home improvement store. White foam core would also have worked, but we wanted the reflected light to be a little sharper and more “specular” for this black dog’s fur. With black dogs I always use a silver reflector. Our client also brought her cat. Here’s a close up:

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Want to learn “hands on” with Teresa? We have three seats left in our spring DOG SHOTS workshop. It’s a one day basic class held at her studio and the nearby park. Perfect for new photographers or anyone with a DSLR who wants to make better portraits of their pets or adoptable animals. Tuition is $295, which includes lunch. Call the studio to sign up:  972-250-2415

Holiday photos? yikes!


They look like so much fun — and Santa’s there to hold your four-legged model, so they should be easy, right?  Maybe not.  But they will definitely be fun.

A couple of tips for success:

  1. Do not let dogs waiting to be photographed  line up close to your shooting area. It creates a very difficult situation because your subject will want to look at THEM, not you.
  2. Use treats sparingly. The package of treats (if it crinkles) will make a better attention-getter than almost anything else.
  3. Work fast.  You don’t really have time to get the dogs to settle down, so make sure Santa knows how to hold the dog gently, but firmly  — and quickly grab his attention and get your shot.  The longer he sits, the longer he squirms. Santa should NOT engage with the dog — you want the camera to be interesting, not the Santa.

A lot of photographers try and make money doing Santa photos but it’s almost impossible to make it profitable. But if you do it, do it for donations to your favorite animal charity and don’t expect to make money. Have fun!

Re-schedule our Periscope broadcast


I apologize –our live Periscope broadcast (which was scheduled for yesterday) had to be re-scheduled. Stay tuned for a date next week.  While you’re waiting, sign up for Periscope and get familiar with how it works (you’ll need to have a twitter account first). It’s really simple and fun.

Some love just for our blog readers

Some love just for our blog readers