2O18 Roundup // Dreams Came True
Going into 2018, I had some big dreams. First, I wanted to focus on growing the commercial side of the business to work with companies who better the lives of our companion animals. I wanted to help those companies represent themselves with bright, colorful imagery and tell the stories of animals using their products. Next, I wanted to teach more! I love teaching aspiring pet photographers all about the business and art of dog photography! Third, I wanted to work with amazing private clients to bring joy and truly make a difference in their lives. Finally, I wanted to get out there and adventure a little, have fun, explore, and take time for friends and family!
So, how’d I do? Let’s take a look at the dreams that became a reality this year…
Dream 1 // West Paw
January is typically a very quiet time for photographers. It’s when we do a lot of planning and catch up on all the business stuff that fell by the wayside during the holiday rush. I had no such downtime this year because my first big dream was well on its way to coming true just 16 days into the new year.
West Paw — an amazing company based out of Bozeman, MT who makes super-high-quality, eco-friendly dog toys and beds — had been on my “dream clients” list for quite some time. As with all dreams and good things, they come to those who go out there and get them (you didn’t really think I was going to say good things come to those who wait, did you?). So, I told West Paw I wanted to work with them and they said “hey, we want to work with you, too!”
West Paw was coming out with a brand new line of collars and leashes and thought it was the perfect opportunity to come to San Diego for a commercial photo shoot. We talked concepts, did a lot of location scouting, got all our permits in place, held a model call, and lined up 12 amazing doggies and their parents. We also found an amazing filmmaker, Jeremy, whom I just love working alongside!
Dream 2 // Teaching in Florida
Two weeks later, Greg and I hopped on a plane to Florida, where I co-taught a luxury educational retreat for aspiring pet photographers! We rented the most amazing house and two neighboring apartments on Anna Maria Island on the gulf coast of Florida, where we would stay with our students. We had two back-to-back workshops with nine students each. I seriously love teaching and these workshops are so much fun, it doesn’t even feel like work… until the day after I get home and my body and brain realize they’ve been working around the clock for 10 days and need a few straight days of nothing but rest. Greg does all the cooking (I call him Chef Gregory), shopping, and cleaning up. I really should pay him more than just a free room in a beautiful destination. :)
Dream 3 // Wolves, Coyotes, and Seppala Siberian Sleddogs
In March, our dear friends Kaylee and Sam of Dog Breath Photography were in San Diego filming one of three episodes for their reality show on Nat Geo Wild called Pupparazzi. After filming wrapped, they invited Greg and me to join them on a trip to Project Wildsong to meet and photograph ambassador wolves. If you know me, you know I’m kind of obsessed with wolves. They’re as magical as unicorns but they’re real! We were able to take the wolves high into the California mountains, where there were beautiful pine trees, big boulders, and wonderfully crisp fresh air. We had an amazing time photographing them — and may have even gotten a few wolfie kisses. It was epic!
And better yet, we all went back in July for even more adventures together photographing the wolves, a new little coyote puppy, and Seppala Siberian Sleddogs!
Dream 4 // West Paw
In April, West Paw hired me and Jeremy (the filmmaker) again! This time, they had some brand new toys that were going to debut at SuperZoo — one of the world’s largest pet industry trade shows — and they needed photos for their booth and catalog. They wanted a mix of indoor, outdoor, and water shots so Jeremy and I set off to scout and secure some super awesome locations and models. We had to get very creative with our water location but I’m so absolutely thrilled with the final images! Our doggie models absolutely loved all the toys!
Dream 5 // 1Oth Birthday Shoot with Stella
In May, my long-time client, Stella the rescue pittie who has been battling the big C for quite some time, was turning 10 years old. Now that’s a reason to celebrate! Stella and her mom have been to countless studio sessions but this was a special occasion and it deserved a full-length photo shoot! Stella and her mom live in Irvine and asked if Greg and I would come up there for the session so we could go to one of Stella’s favorite parks. Of course we said yes! Stella’s mom is always prepared with a plethora of props and had countless bandanas, a crown of fresh flowers, earth-friendly confetti, a party hat, and plenty of balloons. It was one of the most fun shoots ever!
Dream 6 // Skye Valley Experience Photo Shoot with Lucy
I absolutely love sharing Skye Valley Ranch with others who enjoy the great outdoors, quiet time, and a little adventure. In June, Stella’s friend Lucy and her parents came down to San Diego for a Skye Valley Ranch Experience. They all love spending time out in nature, which is why Lucy’s mom thought a trip to Skye Valley would be the perfect birthday gift for Lucy’s dad! Miss Lucy is getting a little older and has some joint pain so we explored the ranch by truck. She sat happily in the back seat on a comfy blanket, looking out the window, sniffing all the sniffs. As the sun got a little lower in the sky, we went on a photo excursion, then had a wonderful dinner, and a perfect night of camping under the stars.
Dream 7 // GoldPaw
A few days into July, we had our first commercial shoot for GoldPaw, a super-fun family-oriented company from Oregon that makes the most incredible doggie fleece jackets, rain coats, leashes, harnesses, and collars. GoldPaw was also on my list of dream companies I wanted to work with, so I was absolutely thrilled when they told me they wanted to hire me for a commercial photo shoot! They had just launched a new line of sun shield tees, collars, and leashes. Their look has historically been all studio-based and while they aren’t leaving that behind, they wanted to add some lifestyle images into the mix. We scouted locations, held a model call, and chose five amazing dogs and their people to represent the brand!
Dream 8 // Planet Dog
August was spent planning because September and October were going to be absolutely packed!
In September, we had a commercial shoot for Planet Dog, an environmentally-conscious company then-based in Maine (now in Colorado). Planet Dog was also on my list of companies I really wanted to work with! They had just rolled out some super-cool new ball and puzzle toys and needed photographs for their 2019 catalog, website, and social media. We worked with seven dogs, including my Roxy! We rented the most adorable guest house for the first part of the shoot and headed to the beach for the second. The locations and dogs were all perfect!
Dream 9 // Cows, pigs, horses, dogs, cats, a sheep, and a goat — oh my!
Four days after the Planet Dog photo shoot, Greg and I hopped in the truck and drove north, almost to Yosemite. We had a week of photo shoots planned throughout Southern California for Emmert, a family-run company based in the midwest that makes supplements that go in pet foods and treats along with being fed directly to cattle and swine. Jeremy was there, too, capturing all of the animals on video.
Emmert was going through a massive rebrand and wanted to capture authentic photos of the animals who eat their products. We worked closely with their marketing agency to turn a vision into reality. I couldn’t be prouder of what we produced!
Dream 1O // P.L.A.Y.
A little later in October — less than two weeks after our Emmert photo shoot — we had our final commercial photo shoot of the year with P.L.A.Y., a San Francisco-based company who makes luxury pet beds and toys. Can you guess what I’m about say next? If you said they were also on my top-companies-I-want-to-work-with list, you’d be right!
Our friends were finishing up a remodel of their home and I knew it’d be the perfect location for our shoot — and their dogs would love playing with all the toys! So, we set it up and had an incredible afternoon photographing food-puzzle toys, plush toys, beds, and more. Roxy came along for this shoot, too, and we invited a few other friends to join in the fun; there were a lot of toys to play with, after all!
12 months. 10 dreams made a reality. 2018 was an AMAZING year and I’m just so grateful for every single moment spent doing what I love!
See you in 2019!