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Young Love (and dogs) in The Berkshires

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This was a pretty special dog photography session in the Berkshires. Exactly one day after I met these wonderful humans and their dog Sweet Pea - they were engaged! How magical. I could tell things were astir when we met by the Smith College Pond in Northampton, Mass. There was an air of giddy love and secrecy, which made our photography session so much fun! Intimate and silly and creative and natural, all enveloped in beautiful dappled East Coast Summer light and perfect natural texture from our little hike through the woods. 

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Sweet Pea, a certified service dog, hopped into the river immediately after being let off leash. Which I thought was perfect (however, my clients were a little embarrassed). I love when dogs do weird things, because dogs are animals and my job is to celebrate and illustrate their quirks and their intentions and their character. Sweet Pea just really wanted to get in that water! So I spent some time photographing her exploring the river, letting all the great soggy dog texture add to our dog portraits. 

So often clients get wrapped up in trying to prepare for our session - what to wear, where to photograph, how their dog will behave etc. For years, I've been telling clients to simply relax and let me steer our session. Building trust and comfort between me and my clients is consistently my number one priority. Making strong dog portraits is never hard, but transforming strangers from skeptical perspective clients to relaxed, happy, trusting clients is not an easy process. However, it's one of the best parts of my job. These guys were a little nervous when we first met, which is totally normal. Within 10 minutes I had them laughing with me, relaxed and comfortable in their own skin, and present enough to show their love to me. Total success. The rest was easy. Thanks for a great session, guys and congrats on your engagement!

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Central Park and a Cavalier King Charles

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Sometimes I forget how hot and humid New York City can get in the Summers. Well, it can get hot. And humid. This dog photography session in Central Park was so much fun, but I sure got sweaty. That's ok, because after photographing dogs for the past ten years I've learned how to work through lots of challenging conditions: barking dogs, dogs who escape, dogs who jump into the pool, dogs who pee on me, rain, snow, and even super hot days where you think you might pass out (but you don't, because you're a professional, and professionals don't pass out). 

Sophie (the playful Cavalier King Charles) was such a great dog. My client actually purchased this Fine Art Dog Photography Session for his wife as an anniversary gift, which is such a sweet sentiment. I love getting to help clients celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, holidays etc with Dog Photography Gift Certificates (you can get more info on our dog photography gift certificates right here). 

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Even though it was hot, Central Park in New York is so vast that it has multiple shady spots to escape to, even on a weekend when the park is crowded. I've got a few favorite secluded, shady spots in Central Park that I like to use during New York dog photography sessions - which is where I steered us once we started walking into the park. Though my clients made it clear that they wanted Sophie to be the focus of our work, I was so struck by the love and subtle intimacy my clients showed toward each other. I wanted to make sure that I was able to turn a mirror on that for them, so I gently encouraged them to sit in for a few set ups. The result was a handful of really beautiful, authentic portraits of a deep and committed love that my clients and Sophie all share between the three of them. 

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The final collection my clients turned to was a small portfolio all about Sophie and the love she brings to their lives, interspersed with a few select portraits of my clients which of course made me so happy. Thanks for a great session, guys!

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New York is the best Back Drop

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Though I've never, ever wanted to live in New York City, I will be forever enchanted with photographing there. As an East Coaster at heart, there is a true grit to New York that cannot be found anywhere else. It is something about the old buildings, the centuries of dirt and grime, the beautiful architecture hiding in corners of every park, the way light filters through buildings and trees and old iron gates, and those iconic New York City park benches. I love New York dog photography sessions, because I have so much visual texture to play with. Just like this New York dog photography session with Harley the senior Pug and his beautiful humans. 

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Harley's humans contacted me because they were drawn in by how, in their own words, I "capture the essence of each dog and their relationship with their owners." I could't have said it better, and what a wonderful compliment to receive. I knew we'd get along really well, because this client (like the majority of clients that commission me) had a deep understanding of my unique perspective on the human/dog bond - that is why they chose to hire me instead of the hundreds of other dog photographers in New York City. And that's how I know my marketing, my hard work, my creative vision and my steadfast dedication to a consistent creative voice are always worth the effort. It allows me to work with wonderful clients like these guys, who are the perfect match for my studio. 

Our dog photography session in New York this Summer was so fun. We met under the arch at Washington Square Park, where Harley and his people take early morning walks with their favorite coffees every Saturday morning. I love getting to see clients and dogs in their natural habitats, and witness the intimacy of rituals. Nothing posed, nothing contrived. Just allowing my clients to be themselves. We photographed a bit around Washington Square Park (which is always full of beautiful benches, stone steps, leafy trees and of course dogs), then walked down to the river to finish our session. 

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During our Presentation, I helped my clients select three beautiful portraits that really brought together the essence of this kind and loving family. The editions, which were matted to 16x20 inches and signed, now grace the walls of their home in New York. Thanks for a great session, guys!

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A Beautiful Berkshire Session

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This dog photography session in the Berkshires of beautiful Western Massachusetts (that's about 3 hours West of Boston) was simply spectacular. The client is actually a couple whom I've become good friends with, who live right here in my building: The Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts in North Adams. I'm always so honored when friends hire me, because not only does it show a deep trust in me as an artist, it also shows that friends trust me to play both the role of professional photographer and good friend at the same time. It's a balancing act that I find challenging and exciting. 

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Chloe (the Golden/etc etc etc mix), Betty and Andrew live in a large, open, airy and bright artist loft here at the Eclipse Mill building. Betty is a textile artist, and Andrew is a writer and book collector, so it was important to me to incorporate their surroundings - the beautiful and unique home that they've built - into our portraits. Chloe is an incredibly sweet dog, always wagging her tail and smiling, but she is very mellow at home. She also pulls her family together, which - if you've ever read my blog before - you know that I love to see. For this fine are dog photography session, my focus was showing Chloe's sweet yet independent nature, while also showing the sweetness and deep love that exists between Chloe and her people. By keeping things mellow, and letting our photography session unfold very naturally, the end result was a series of fine art dog portraits that are warm and intimate, and truly a display of such joy and connection. I couldn't be happier with how these dog photographs turned out. 

In the end, my clients selected three beautiful portraits to be printed, matted and signed. They now hang on the walls of their studio, amongst an eclectic series of painting, photography and textile art, and I'm honored to be part of their collection. 

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Thanks for a wonderful session, guys!

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Publishing a Dog Photography Book: How To?

After successfully running a near $20,000 Kickstarter campaign and turning that into a book deal and then completing a bi-coastal book tour, I've received a lot of emails and phone calls about how exactly I turned a creative side project into a published dog photography book. So, here is a list of suggestions for any dog photographers looking to get their newest project in front of an interested publisher:

(Keep in mind - my Dog Photography Mentoring + Coaching Sessions are the best way to really get into the nitty gritty of the crowdfunding and publishing process. However, this is a great place to start). 

TIPS: HOW TO PUBLISH A DOG PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK

1) Have a Totally New Idea
Do not copy your fellow artists. Look at what projects/concepts have already been done, and think of a completely unique and new idea. If your idea does not inspire you deeply, does not keep you up at night, does not light a fire inside of you - it's not enough. 

2) Content Is Key
Relying on cute photos to carry the entire weight of your book is lazy. Our world is saturated with cute photos of animals, we do not need any more! Also, anyone can take a cute photo. A real artist makes images with meaning. Make sure your project has a message that is articulated through your imagery (or writing, of course!). 

3) Promote Your Project
A very important step in getting your dog photography book published is promotion. Even if you do get a book deal (fingers crossed), your publisher will most likely not be doing much publicity for you. It will be up to you to market your book, get the word out, and make sure it sells. Social media is enormously powerful, but don't forget about in-person events where you can give readers an inside look into your process. Also, make sure your book gets into the hands of media editors (both print and online) that have an interest in the topic. Google the heck out of writers and outlets and make sure each person gets a personalized letter or email along with a copy of the book or PDF sample. 

 

Got questions? Want to learn more about publishing a dog photography book or how to crowdfunding a creative side project? I'd love to help you out via a Dog Photography Mentoring Session or Dog Photography Class

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Upcoming Dog Photography Class in Cape Cod, MA

Pet Photography Class with Jesse Freidin Photographer

Pet Photography Class with Jesse Freidin Photographer

I'm teaching my semi-yearly Dog Photography Class this Summer in Cape Cod! I'm really looking forward to it, and I hope you'll join me. 

This class is open to photographers of all levels (advanced beginner to professional), and brings you through so much valuable content such as: camera basics, utilizing natural light for portraiture, dog handling skills (and people handling skills, too), storytelling through imagery, and working with real live dog models. I always start my classes by going over camera basics - ensuring that all my students not only understand the crucial concepts of shutter speed, ISO and aperture - but can comfortably utilize those concepts while shooting. Camera basics need to be second nature, and this class will really challenge you (while supporting you, too, of course) to get very comfortable using your camera's Manual setting. Students will develop personal projects to produce over the course of the class, getting assistance and feedback from fellow classmates. We'll bring in concepts of style and perspective, as well as have time to get outside into the beautiful beaches, dunes and trails of Cape Cod, Mass to create content for final projects. 

Though this course really packs a lot of information and learning into a short 4 days, we go at a very easy and digestible pace and have a lot of fun while we're at it. Learning is fun, and so is teaching! So be sure to sign up at the link below for this dog photography class, as space is limited. 

Dog Portraiture Class
at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill

Date: Monday July 31 - Friday August 4, 2017
Location: Truro, MA (Cape Cod)
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

 

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Two Pugs in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Pet Photography

Los Angeles Pet Photography

I photographed Evian and Eddy, two black Pug siblings, in Los Angeles recently. I met this adorable, squishy and sweet duo at their home in West Hollywood while I was in Los Angeles for my book tour with Finding Shelter. Evian and Eddy's people commission a Los Angeles dog photography session to celebrate a month-long birthday bash. Luckily, I got to be part of that celebration as our LA dog photography session was one of the gifts! I love working with clients who've given a session as a gift because it makes everything so much more special. 

Los Angeles Dog Photographer

Los Angeles Dog Photographer

This was a truly special family. Everyone loved everyone else equally, there was such a kind and calm sense of support and caring that it made creating great dog portraits almost easy. The bright Los Angeles sunshine filled their West Hollywood apartment with just the right amount of light to open up the tones on these two black dogs, letting everything feel airy and joyful. I couldn't really have asked for anything more during this photography session. 

Best Pet Photography in Los Angeles

Best Pet Photography in Los Angeles

Jesse Freidin Los Angeles Pet Photography

Jesse Freidin Los Angeles Pet Photography

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A Dog's Family Portrait

What makes a good family portrait? First thing off the top of my head is: a dog. But that's too obvious, and I hate being obvious. So, here's what I really think makes a good family portrait. 

Family portraits are very difficult - whether you're photographing a family with dogs, dogs and children, just children, etc. Whenever a photographer puts multiple subjects together, each with their own size and personality and independent character, the task at hand becomes increasingly challenging. Not so challenging that it should never be done - if you hire a photographer who shys away from photographing your entire clan you know you've made the wrong choice. Photographers should accept the challenge and rise to the occasion! Because it's not any old photographer off the street who can seamlessly wrangle multiple humans and dogs to create a beautiful and moving family portrait. 

Even though I am technically a 'dog photographer' my focus is never solely on my client's dogs. Our dogs don't exist in a vacuum. Without us, they are nothing. And without them, we are the same. Why hire a dog photographer to photograph your dog on a white background and call it a day? To me, that is flat. It doesn't tell a story or include any of the moving parts that make animal companionship so powerful and fascinating.

So, my recipe for a strong Dog Family Portrait:
1) Find a spot where everyone typically spends time together
2) Make sure you've got a balance of light/open shade
3) Let everyone get comfortable/situated for a good three minutes or so to create a sense of ease
4) Let things unfold naturally. 

If a family is full of love, your portraits will be too. 
Here are a few favorite examples of my family dog photography from the past few years. 
 

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Plagiarism Hurts Everyone

(Above: examples of stolen content on other dog photographers' sites)

The danger of the Internet is that any and all content is up for grabs. Whether copyrighted or not, anyone can come to your website and steal literally all of your content - imagery, copy, design, brand identity and more. There is literally no way to stop this from happening. 

The Internet is also the great leveler. It immediately puts all photographers on the same level. Instead of having to put in years and years and years of hard work, sweat, tears, terrible reviews, countless rejections and self doubt - to then climb your way to the top and establish yourself as a successful working artist -- now everyone can be found on the exact same playing field. The beginner hobbyist (and great that they are out there making work and having fun) can be listed in a Google search above a photographer who has literally been around for decades, with an incredibly deep catalog of exhibits and tear sheets. This makes the Internet a very dangerous place because quality does not drive the internet. In fact, what drives the Internet (especially social media) is lies, copying and vapid personalities. 

(Above: another example of my content being stolen word for word)

 

But what gets me the most heated is how amateur photographers believe that they can steal copyrighted content without getting caught. As if they can simply steal someone else's (Let's say mine, for example) creative and professional identity and pass it off as their own. And sadly, that's what happens to me more frequently than I'd like to admit. Beginner photographers and established photographers alike come to my website and steal my copy, word for word, as well as my design and copyrighted content. The fact that it's truly illegal (as all my copy, design and imagery is officially filed with the Copyright Office of the United States- there's nothing fake about the copyright symbol on my sites, and there's certainly nothing fake about my amazing IP lawyer) isn't what gets me so upset. It's the fact that any other artist has the gall to take advantage of my incredibly hard work, the years and years of building up my career, learning how exactly to articulate myself visually and through very well written copy and design. These artists just come along, and because they are simply not smart enough or confident enough to create their own creative identity and brand - they simply copy and paste mine. It's maddening, and it doesn't just hurt me and my business, it hurts every other true professional out there. Because I know it's happening to them, too. 

Instead of listing publicly the names of all the artists who have plagiarized my content over the past few months (the list is embarrassingly long), I'll just give you a few anonymous responses to my well crafted Cease and Desist letter. As much as these people infuriate me, stooping so low as to list their business names here would be simply unproductive and immature of me, and then I'd be acting like the plagiarists.

(Above: more copy stolen word for word from my website)

 

Instead, enjoy some really funny responses from actual 'professionals' after being caught red handed:

"Hi Jesse
I am horribly embarrassed. I had assistance with the writing and design on my website. I'm sorry I was unaware that they were using information from other resources. (And here I thought, man she nailed it on explaining me and my process). 
If it makes you feel any better, it’s obviously well written.  I’m going to blame it on youth. The internet has robbed many of them of any scruples when it comes to copyright. I'll work on the correction immediately. The new site just went live and I'm still working out some bugs and things I see that need to be changed. I'll make that top priority today. I'm sorry this happened. I take IP seriously as well. I've had a lot of problems with this with my photo booth series. 
Please let me know if
anything is needed."

"You are right Jesse. I am working on a new website and it was supposed just to be a starter to rework later. Turns out the making of a website is very difficult indeed. I will remove it immediately
My sincere apologies."

"Hi Jesse,
First of all, I apologize for any inconvenience this might've caused. I recently had someone update my website and I can assure to you the images are 100% mine. I did outsource a content writer, so if you can please send me the screenshots of the similarities I'd be more than happy to take a look at it and of course, make the appropriate changes. As an artist, it's my intention to make sure everyone's work and talented skills are respected. I will revise the content by the end of the day, but it will be extremely helpful if you can provide me with the information you believe it's been plagiarized. I also need to take appropriate action with the person who worked on my content, because that was unprofessional of her. Thank you so much."

"I will remove everything. I am currently out of the country so it will take me a few hours to get back to my hotel and take it down. But I should be back in about 7 hours or so and will remove it then.  I have apologized, I didn't realize it was illegal, I just started a business for the first time in January. As I said, ignorance is the reason. Regardless of how poor of an excuse you think it is, now that I know it won’t happen again, and it’s better than the alternative which is that I knew it was wrong and did it anyway. You don’t have to keep coming at me, I’ve admitted fault, and committed to fixing the problem. Our situation is resolved."

 

I use a great company called CopyScape which automatically scrolls the internet to find websites that have stolen copyrighted materials. It's amazing, and worth the small monthly fee. Check them out here: http://copyscape.com

 

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(Above: companies illegally using my images to advertise their products/services)

 

Multiple companies have even stolen my images and used them on their websites to advertise their products. Clearly, they have stolen from many other photographers, all of which is 100% illegal. And just so deeply rude and inappropriate. Artists deserve to be paid for their work, but the internet makes it just way too easy to take things for free. All the images above were stolen from me by over-seas companies. 

 

I know that I'm not the only artist out there being plagiarized. I hear about it happening constantly - stories of colleagues having their artwork stolen by large companies who make a huge profit off the content, yet are untouchable because of their hefty legal department. It's a sorry state of affairs, all thanks to the double-edge sword of the Internet. However, artists persist. All we can do is protect our work via filing it with the Copyright Office of the United States (all my copy and images and design and Intellectual Property is now officially filed), keep tabs on their websites by using programs like CopySentry, and open their eyes to the new generation of 'artists' who believe mimicking what's hot is how to succeed (spoiler alert: it's not!). 

If you've got a good copyright story, please share it in the comments! Or shoot me an email and we can commiserate and support each other. 

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New York Dog Photography: Upcoming Sessions June 16 - 18

New York Dog Photographer

New York Dog Photographer

I can't wait for my upcoming New York dog photography sessions. I'll be in New York for fine art dog photography clients June 16 - 18, 2017 and have two spots still open. Spring will be sprung, flowers will be out, the sky will be clear and New York will be in bloom - what a perfect time to be photographing! In the Spring, New York dogs get to do dog things, like sniff and play and run in the grass. Everyone is happy that Winter is over, especially the dogs, and it's such a wonderful time to be in the city working with my private dog photography clients. 

There's always something about New York dogs that I love. It's that unique balance of tough, yet loving; hard yet soft; city slickers who still love to get out to the country. You can book one of my last New York dog photography sessions by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking 'Contact.' 

NEW YORK DOG PHOTOGRAPHY SESSIONS
June 15, 16, 17
Two Spots Left

New York Dog Photographer

New York Dog Photographer

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