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Creative Resources Conference in the Berkshires

I'm honored to be a presenter at the third annual Creative Resources Conference next week, in Dalton MA (that's in the Berkshires). This event is really special. It brings together creatives, artists, small business owners, marketers, web developers, designers, craftspeople and more for a full day of workshops. Focused specifically on the creative economy (that's the local system of artistic small businesses) in the Berkshires, this wonderful conference is a way for creatives to learn how to improve their small businesses, connect with other creatives and grow their network of colleagues and collaborators. 

I'll be part of the afternoon set of marketing presentations. Our panel will run from 3:00 - 4:15pm and will focus on social media for artists. I'm so excited to chat with my fellow presenters about how artists can use social media in an authentic and effective way. We'll have a great moderator guiding our discussion, and I know there will be so much amazing information shared between all of us. If you're a Berkshire creative/artist and run your own business, this is THE conference for you. 

 

 

Artists & Creatives: Stepping Up with Social Media    3:00 - 4:15pm
For many artists, social media is used strictly to catch up with family and connect with friends. It can be a great tool for businesses, but some artists don’t know how to create content about their work and process. Knowing when to post and, more importantly, what to say can be difficult and time-consuming. This session will provide best practices for artists who want to give their creative enterprise a boost using social media.

Jesse Freidin, Jesse Freidin Photography
Sienna Patti, Sienna Patti Contemporary
Kaitlyn Pierce, Pierce Social
Dawn Stanyon, Professionality Consulting (Moderator)

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Hire an Artist, Don't Price Shop

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The dog photography market is flooded. That's a fact. But so is every other photography market right now- weddings, family portraits, events, school photos, newborns etc. The world of commissioned art has changed drastically even in the ten years that I've been participating. Photographers are starting businesses without any knowledge whatsoever of camera basics, and film makers are using their iPhones to produce award-winning movies. Like so many other aspects of our contemporary world, technology has led us farther and farther away from the core of the matter. People are looking for fast, easy, cheap and homogenous as opposed to intentional, man-made and truly unique. 

So how do you go about finding the right artist to commission? It's honestly overwhelming at this point, with so many artists in all mediums coming at you from all directions, vying for your attention. Instagram and Facebook are great platforms, but it is a level playing field. By that I mean that anyone can use (and should use) social media. However, there are no filters or rules on social media to separate quality working artists from hobbyists, beginners and copy-cats. It can be difficult to sift through all the dog photographers on social media. It's also a challenge to find the right artist through a Google/etc search because some people are putting a lot of time into their SEO, adwords, key phrases and more. Just because an artist is good at web development does not mean their work is authentic and meaningful, or unique. 

When clients commission me they have found something in my photography, in the copy on my website, in the authentic messages I am putting forth through my marketing, that speaks to them. I believe that what motivates my clients is a sense of trust - they trust that I will listen to their stories and needs with genuine focus and understand the emotionality of the portraits they want to create. To me, the best advertising is authenticity, incredibly high quality products and very clearly proven results. I'm not worried about what everyone else in my market is charging, what their work looks like or how I can possibly please everyone. All I'm concerned about is creating authentic work and deeply connecting with my clients. As an artist, that's really all I can do. And after doing things this way for the past ten years, it seems to be enough. 

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Museum of Dog is OPEN!

I'm thrilled to announce that the Museum of Dog has finally opened it's doors! It feels like it was only yesterday that David York, the museum's owner/director, stepped into my studio during last year's Open Studios at the Eclipse Mill and introduced himself. He mentioned that he had just bought the old bar down the street and was going to turn it into a dog art museum. To be honest, I didn't believe him. Not until we really got to know each other and I heard all about his deep passion for dog art, his extensive and eclectic art collection, and his plans for cleaning up the old dive bar. 

Now that old dive bar has been totally turned around - while still retaining a certain amount of rustic New England charm. The Museum of Dog feels like walking into the personal collection of one of the country's biggest dog art collectors. And, that's exactly what it is. Walking in the door of the museum you're greeted by dog sculpture (both contemporary and antique), paintings (both fine art and folk art), photographs (both professional - ie Wegman - and found art), newspaper clippings, vintage dog collars and much more. It has the feel of a warm living room, and you get a personal tour of all the artifacts if you sign up online: www.museumofdog.com/location-reserve-tour

I'm honored to be exhibiting at the Museum of Dog in their rotating gallery. My dog photography show just went up on the walls, and the museum will soon have copies of my books for sale as well. Please join me for the museum's grand opening on Friday April 27th. More info to come about that on my Facebook page (which is right here: www.facebook.com/jessefreidin )

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One-on-One Dog Photography Mentoring Sessions

If you haven't heard yet, I'm now offering one-on-one dog photography Mentoring Sessions, and I'm pretty excited about it! I love helping other photographers succeed. It's a real win-win for everyone because not only do Mentoring Sessions allow my students to learn and grow and build their business properly and achieve true success - it also is a chance for me to revisit all the lessons I've learned over the past ten years while running my own successful dog photography business. And trust me, I've learned A LOT. I've made so many mistakes, and I share all of those mishaps with my students so that they can avoid the same pitfalls. I also share all my knowledge of the industry (which, after having been in the dog photography world for the past ten years, is pretty vast), marketing and networking techniques that really work, how to create an authentic and unique photographic style, and so much more. 

There is no 'right place' to start from. Some of my students are truly starting from scratch, not even knowing how to use their camera. Other students have vast photographic backgrounds and are just starting out in the dog photography world. And yet other students have an established dog photography business, and are looking for help rebranding or growing. These are all perfect jumping off points. Because each student is different, my one-on-one approach really works well. As someone who grew up with major learning differences, I believe that we all learn best when we get to participate in building a personalized curriculum. And that's exactly what we do in our dog photography Mentoring Sessions. 

The first step is a quick (and of course free) call with me to chat about where you're at, what your goals are, and how I can best help support your success. 

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An Old Chihuahua on the Couch

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I've been cleaning out my hard drive recently, and have unearthed some real gems. Like this dog portrait from many, many years ago. It's such an old image that I don't even remember the session.... I'm sure it was photographed in San Francisco at the beginning of my career because I was still using my Hasselblad 500c (and Ilford HP5 medium format film, of course. What else even is there?) Why do I love black and white dog photography so damn much? Because it does not flood the viewer with unnecessary information- like color. All that's left are tones of gray (and trust me, there are a lot of tones), and emotion. That is a pure recipe for success, in my opinion. It's what I've based my entire dog photography career on, and it's an approach that just does not get tired or dated. 

Shooting in color, and relying on saturation and wide angles and close ups and silly mishaps like tongues lolling out or grass on a dog's face - all these things are crutches. They are tricks, short cuts even. Instead of filling a portrait with depth, meaning, emotion, story etc so many dog photographers these days rely on the 'whoops!' factor - hoping they'll get lucky and capture something cute by shooting on auto mode and blanketing the scene with a million exposures. It's certainly an approach that has been proven to be popular, I can say that for sure. But it creates vapid work. 

Put your camera on manual, connect with your subject, be in the moment fully and make work with meaning. That's what matters at the end of the day. If this image had been photographed on color film, it could possibly feel a little bit cute. But in black and white all you have are the expressive eyes, that quirky snuggle tooth, the gentle head tilt where obvious we know the dog's human is just out of frame. This is all the kind of content that makes a client tear up, and makes for an unforgettable image. I'm so glad I dug this one up. 

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Santa Fe Dog Photography

 Santa Fe fine art dog photography

Santa Fe fine art dog photography

For the next six months I'll be living and working in Santa Fe, New Mexico to develop a personal photography project and take a breather after a few very busy years of dog photography commissions, multiple exhibitions and completing a book tour. Pheyoo! During this time I'll be accepting Santa Fe Dog Photography commissions in and around the Santa Fe area. 

Not only is Santa Fe one of the most beautiful parts of the country, it is full of my favorite kinds of people: dog owners and art lovers. The light is magical, the landscape is inspiring, and the dogs are all really, really good. I'm looking forward to working with my new Santa Fe dog photography clients, as well as taking time to refill my creative cup. 

If you'd like to chat about scheduling a Santa Fe Dog Photography Session, please get in touch via the CONTACT page. 

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DownEast Magazine: Dog Friendly in Maine

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This past Summer I was approached by DownEast Magazine- Maine's premier travel and lifestyle publication. They were pulling together a very special Summer issue all about dog friendly Maine, and my black and white dog portrait of dogs at San Francisco's Chrissy Field caught their eye. It's an honor seeing this huge image introducing their list of dog friendly activities, dog friendly hotels and dog friendly Maine vacation spots both online and in print. It's always been a favorite dog portrait of mine, and I'm so glad I got to share it with my friendly neighbors to the North!

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Museum of Dog comes to the Berkshires

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I'm thrilled to be involved in a wonderful and very exciting new project in conjunction with David York - creator of the brand new Museum of Dog in North Adams, Mass. This amazing new gallery will feature one of the most eclectic and impressive private dog art collections in the country. Opening in January 2018, the Museum of Dog will be the newest creative addition to my wonderful town of North Adams, just one block from MassMOCA and two blocks from my North Adams fine art dog photography studio. 

I'll be helping David York curate the first exhibit, as well as develop the concept of an interactive gallery that melds the world of dogs and art - my favorite intersection, of course. The Museum of Dog is already creating lots of buzz:

www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pet-rescue-advocate-david-york-to-open-museum-of-dog-in-the-berkshires-300542531.html

www.eturbonews.com/168590/museum-dog-open-berkshires

 

More news about this exciting collaboration with Museum of Dog coming soon!

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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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