As this is an extensive blog post (I'll admit, it got away on me a little) I've interspersed the text with some photos from recent client sessions to help break it up a little. These were all shot after the release of Fetching Photos in May 2013, so there's a good chance they (and others from these sessions) may find their way into the second edition of Fetching Photos. As an added bonus, since everyone enjoys seeing settings, I've included those to accompany the images. Enjoy!
Haven't purchased Fetching Photos yet?
No need to hold out until the second edition is released - if you purchase Fetching Photos at full price, there'll be a discount to upgrade to the second edition when it's released! Head on over and grab your copy now so you can start learning today.
Matilda, Canberra - Canon 1D-x, Canon 35mm f1.4L, 1/3200 sec, f2, ISO 125
Recently I sent out a feedback survey to those on my Fetching Photos newsletter list.
The results gave me valuable insight into exactly what readers thought of my first e-book. They helped me gauge which areas of the book were most useful, which areas not so helpful, which aspects people would like to learn more about and additional features and topics that readers would like to see in the second edition of Fetching Photos.
I'm grateful to those who took the time to help me out and make future e-books even better!
Zephyr, Brisbane - Canon 1D-x, Canon 35mm f1.4L, 1/800 sec, f2, ISO 320
Here are some of the findings of the survey in a nutshell.
By chapter deemed most valuable was overwhelmingly Chapter 8 - Working with light. It's also the chapter that people would like to see more information included in, so guess what? This chapter is going to get a pretty major overhaul and will include additional information about shooting with backlight, creating silhouettes and choosing the best spots to shoot at various locations and in various lighting conditions.
Mischa, Canberra - Canon 1D-x, Canon 50mm f1.4, 1/3200 sec, f2, ISO 200
The biggest success of the book by far was Chapter 9 - Black dog, white dog. It was right up there among most valuable chapters and at the bottom of the list of chapters people felt needed more information. I'm glad that this chapter was so useful for so many people!
Some other popular chapters include Chapter 4 - Session planning, Chapter 5 - Choosing locations, Chapter 6 - Running the session and Chapter 7 - Photography techniques. Expect to see these ones expanded in the second edition.
Logan, Gold Coast - Canon 1D-x, Canon 35mm f1.4L, 1/1000 sec, f4, ISO 1600
Creativity and inspiration were big stand-out requests.
One topic that was quite popular but also ranked high on the 'needs more detail' question was Chapter 10 - Creativity and improving your skills. This particular topic will be extensively addressed in my new e-book Dog Shots - a compendium of ideas, tips and tricks for fun and creative natural light dog photography. It features whole host of shots - including action, silhouettes, close-ups, storytelling, playtime and many more - and gives you tips, ideas and technical information on how to create them. It will be a great reference guide for those wanting new ideas to try at photo sessions.
Blackie and Yoyo, Brisbane - Canon 1D-x, Canon 100mm Macro f2.8L, 1/500 sec, f4.5, ISO 1600
Small revisions will take place on some other chapters.
Chapter 1 - Working with dogs will receive a revision to include the latest ideas in communicating with dogs and relationship based, positive dog training.
Chapter 2 - Gear and equipment was actually one of the least valuable chapters to readers as most people seem to have a good grasp of what kind of gear is required for the special considerations of per photography. This is one the chapters that won't be getting too much of an overhaul, as was pointed out, this kind of information can be found elsewhere.
Flick, Gold Coast - Canon 1D-x, Canon 35mm f1.4L, 1/1250 sec, f2, ISO 320
Some brand new chapters are also on their way!
There was a positive response to the new chapters I have proposed, which include photographing multiple dogs, photographing people with their dogs and a whole chapter dedicated to capturing awesome action photos. I am still deciding whether to include just a couple or all of these in the new edition, so stay tuned on this one.
Bam Bam, Gold Coast - Canon 1D-x, Canon 70-200mm f2.8L @ 200mm, 1/1600 sec, f2.8, ISO 500
Some requested features will be making an appearance.
The most requested features of Fetching Photos that people wish to see more of include ideas and inspiration (which will be covered in my new e-book Dog Shots), behind the scenes photos, examples of 'bad' photos and more images with specs included. I'll endeavour to deliver on these requests in the second edition.
Bandit, Brisbane - Canon 1D-x, Canon 70-200mm f2.8L @ 155mm, 1/640 sec, f2.8, ISO 500
There was a positive response to the idea of a printed book.
Most respondents indicating they'd either definitely buy a printed copy if available. I do still need to look into this further so I'm not making any promises, but it's good to know there is some demand for this.
Milo & JayJay, Gold Coast - Canon 1D-x, Canon 70-200mm f2.8L @ 185mm, 1/500 sec, f4, ISO 1000
Praise and criticism are both so valuable when assessing feedback.
I received some fantastic praise for Fetching Photos and I am so grateful for those who shared this with me in the survey. It was really interesting to read all the different ways Fetching Photos had helped people improve their skills and inspire them. I am also very grateful to those who shared criticism as this is an important indication of the areas of the e-book that may need some improvement. I'd like to share some praise that I received for Fetching Photos from the respondents.
"I love Fetching Photos! I do some amateur dog photography for our rescue group and always go back and have a look if I am trying something new or doing a black dog etc. I try a lot more things and feel more confident at shoots because of the book." - Dallas
"A wonderfully written, cohesive guide for anyone new to photographing dogs but also for those wanting to brush up and advance their existing skills! Charlotte has covered a lot of aspects which are so important especially for beginners including how to work with dogs and running the session to make it enjoyable for everyone. Personally I loved the help with the technical side of things like composing the photographs, using your gear, lighting and location each to their advantage." - Belinda
"As an aspiring amateur dog photographer the book mostly changed my view on how to use natural light. I was mostly focusing on the dog and now I know I also need to focus on lighting and background. It inspired me to think and look different. I'm working on the backlight concept since I love those photographs the most and thanks to your book I got a head start!" - Miranda
"Charlotte, Your eBook is so beautifully designed and edited, I would love to have it as a coffee table print book! Information is really easy to find thanks to well organized chapters. Everything is accessible for a quick reference when needed. Illustrations are simply gorgeous and pair perfectly with the clear and concise content. I love how you write straight to the point, while complimenting your idea adding along tips, examples, and eye candy illustrations. Amazing work, Charlotte!" - Flo
"Lovely layout, great photos. Also the format made it very convenient to read on the iPad. I really liked the example photos, like the ones illustrating how the depth in the photo changes with different focus lengths, as well as the behind the scenes photos to show how/from where you were taking the photo. You also wrote about a few topics that I haven't seen in other dog photography books!" - Lynn
Archie, Canberra - Canon 1D-x, Canon 100mm Macro f2.8L, 1/500 sec, f2.8, ISO 250
Many of you asked about business topics. These will not be covered in future editions of Fetching Photos and here is why.
As stated on the the sales page, Fetching Photos does not cover business topics relating to setting up or running a pet photography business. I am guessing those who were disappointed Fetching Photos does not include this information may have missed the section, so I'll work on making that information more prominent.
I find that business advice, particularly in the very specialist field of pet photography, is best not dispensed in a one-size-fits-all format. There are so many different ways to approach running a photography business and it depends greatly on your geographical area, your target market, your existing photography and business experience, your budget, the amount of time you have to dedicate to getting your business up and running, your lifestyle, your personality - SO many individual considerations.
There is also such a huge number of aspects to consider, that to write a guide covering it properly would be a mammoth undertaking. With the time I have to devote to the teaching side of my own business, I'd much rather pass on aspects of pet photography that I am more passionate about and that I think will be of value to a wider range of people, such as shooting and editing.
Pappy, Brisbane - Canon 1D-x, Canon 35mm f1.4L, 1/640 sec, f1.6, ISO 400
Lucky there are plenty of other options for you!
If you are interested in learning more about the business side of things, you're welcome to book some one-on-one online business mentoring with me so we can discuss your exact situation and I can provide some customised advice. One-on-one business mentoring can be done from anywhere in the world, just as long as you have a fast internet connection and Skype installed. You can find out more about my online business mentoring here.
Charlie, Brisbane - Canon 1D-x, Canon 100mm Macro f2.8L, 1/2000 sec, f2.8, ISO 1600
There's also some other great resources available that cover business, pricing and marketing topics in relation to pet photography.
You can check these out on my Resources page.
Peppa, Canberra - Canon 1D-x, Canon 100mm Macro f2.8L, 1/500 sec, f2.8, ISO 1250
As far as editing and post-processing topics go, this is another field that I feel isn't best presented in e-book form.
Software versions are updated so frequently that screen captures and detailed step-by-step instructions quickly become outdated. I have been slowly building up a library of free editing video tutorials on my YouTube channel which I believe is the best way to deliver this style of hands-on, demonstrated content. In addition to free videos, I am also working on a subscription service for more extensive editing tutorials which will be released on a regular basis to paid subscribers. Stay tuned for this one!
Mooky, Gold Coast - Canon 1D-x, Canon 70-200mm f2.8L @ 150mm, 1/800 sec, f2.8, ISO 500
Did you know I also offer in-person mentoring?
I offer one-on-one in-person mentoring sessions, focusing on shooting and editing. These sessions are held in Brisbane and include four hours with me - two hours of shooting on location then two hours spent editing your images to get the most out of them. I've had people fly in from around Australia for these sessions and have had nothing but positive feedback. If you learn more effectively in person, this is a great option for you!
Cocoa & Bella, Canberra - Canon 1D-x, Canon 70-200mm f2.8L @ 110mm, 1/500 sec, f2.8, ISO 800
The ultimate in pet photography learning is coming in September this year.
A post about pet photography learning options wouldn't be complete without a mention of the upcoming Zoomies Pet Photography Workshops. In September this year I'll be joined by esteemed Sydney pet photographer Ruth from Ruthless Photos to present two three day workshops in Brisbane and Sydney. We're also bringing out the wonderful Kaylee from Dog Breath Photography in Boston, USA to join us and share her unique off-camera lighting techniques with attendees. You can read the full details on the Zoomies website.
Juno - Brisbane - Canon 1D-x, Canon 24-70mm f2.8L @ 28mm, 1/400 sec, f3.5, ISO 500
Yes, I know this has been a super long blog post and if you've kept with me this long, thanks so much!
What this all boils down to is that in addition to my private pet photography commissions and ongoing commercial work, I really enjoy passing my knowledge on through teaching and mentoring. I will continue to dedicate time within my business to the education side of things with the aim of making this pet photography industry of ours the best it can be! I love feedback and hearing what YOU want to learn the most, so always feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts.
That's over 3 months worth of daily tips covering topics like working with light, obtaining expression, camera settings, shooting action, composition, using the location, dog handling tricks – and so much more. Delivered direct to your inbox so you can read and absorb straight away (no homework required).