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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

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 11.56.22 AM.png

(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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Polaroid Dog Photo Booth + Book Signing: A Benefit for The Little Guild

Instant Dog Photobooth

Instant Dog Photobooth

I'm excited to be bringing my "Instant Doggie Photo Booth" to RTFacts Gallery in Kent, Connecticut tomorrow for a big Mother's Day book signing event. I'll be signing copies of Finding Shelter, as well as talking about the book to guests and Little Guild volunteers, staff and supporters. 

I photographed The Little Guild for Finding Shelter and am so proud to have them be part of this amazing book. They were one of the very last groups I worked with, and tomorrow's event is an important way for me to give back to their volunteers and raise funds for their shelter. You can purchase tickets on Eventbrite (link here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pics-for-pups-tickets-34345297710?aff=es2) for a private Instant Doggie Photobooth sitting (see above for a handsome portrait of Pancake helping me test tomorrow's set up), or pre-purchase a copy of Finding Shelter to bring with you to the event to get signed. I'll even put a special message in the inscription as a gift for Mom!

PICS FOR PUPS
Book Signing + Polaroid Dog Photo Booth
Benefitting The Little Guild of St Francis

DATE: Sunday May 14
TIME: 11am - 4pm
LOCATION: RTFacts Gallery
8 Old Barns Rd, Kent CT 06757
TICKETS: Eventbrite

 

setting up for the photo booth

setting up for the photo booth

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Butch + Rocco: A Bonded Pair

Photographing dog siblings is a really special opportunity. Just like human siblings, dog siblings have their own language, their own complex relationship structure, and their own complicated kind of love. Some dogs get along perfectly with the other dogs in their family, and some just have a harder time. Whatever the situation, I love when clients commission me to photograph two dogs together. For me, it is a chance to illustrate a complex relationship that often times is hard to describe in words. How do you speak about the tenderness between two sibling dogs, when words inevitably fall short of carrying the weight of that emotion and connection we can only understand visually? How do you describe the flop of one dog's paw over it's sibling's paw without making everything sound one dimensional? 

Rocco and Butch were two Italian Greyhounds I photographed in San Francisco a few years ago. This fine art dog photography session has always meant a lot to me because Rocco passed away not too long ago, and all of us - my clients and I both - felt a deep sense of relief amidst our sadness knowing that we had created such a strong series of dog portraits to memorialize him. My job as a dog photographer is to form a deep connection to my clients so that I can understand what kind of meaning and value is wrapped up in their relationship with their animal companions. With that, I'm able to look more critically at their entire worlds, and illustrate who their animals are and what their animals mean to them. That's all wrapped up in one or two or three or four beautifully crafted dog portraits, which are then installed in my clients' homes to serve not only as reminders of a deep, deep love - but also to add depth and beauty to their homes. My San Francisco dog photography session with Butch and Rocco was a perfect example of this whole process.  

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East Coast 'Finding Shelter' Book Signing Events

I've got two really exciting Finding Shelter book tour events coming up this month (May) on the East Coast - one on Mother's Day, and one the weekend after. If you're anywhere near Connecticut or Massachusetts, I'd love to see you there! Make sure you come up and say hi. I'd love to meet you and any/all dogs you want to bring my way :)

 

FEATURED EAST COAST BOOK SIGNING EVENTS:

PICS FOR PUPS
Sunday May 14th (Mother's Day)
Location: R. T. Facts, 8 Old Barns Rd, Kent CT 06757
Time: 11am - 4pm
Benefitting: The Little Guild

Come celebrate the launch of renowned dog photographer Jesse Freidin's latest project, Finding Shelter, a touching tribute to the symbiotic relationship of shelter dogs and their loving volunteers. Wonderful volunteers and dogs from The Little Guild are featured in the book!

And sign up for the rare opportunity to get your pup photographed by Jesse himself with real instant Polaroid film! Tickets required: www.eventbrite.com/e/pics-for-pups-tickets

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
11:00am - 12:15pm - Photobooth
12:30pm - 1:00pm - Book Signing
1:00pm - 1:30pm - Talk by Jesse Freidin about his book project
1:30pm - 2:45pm - Photobooth
3:00 - 4:00pm - Book Signing

 

COFFEE HOUR SPEAKING SERIES + PHOTO CLASS
Saturday May 20th
Location: Berkshire Humane Society, 214 Barker Rd, Pittsfield MA 01201
Time: 2 - 4pm
Benefitting: Berkshire Humane Society 

Join us for our next Coffee Hour Speaking Series event featuring award-winning photographer Jesse Freidin . Photographer and his new book Finding Shelter

Finding Shelter is a portrait project about animal shelter volunteers and the animals they care for, by Jesse Freidin . Photographer, featuring some wonderful Berkshire Humane volunteers and dogs! Jesse will join BHS on May 20th for a talk about the book and his experience photographing shelter volunteers and animals across the country. He will also be signing books. 

If you are interested in pre-ordering a discounted copy through BHS, please contact Elizabeth Nelson at enelson@berkshirehumane.org by April 30, 2017.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
2 - 2:30pm - Photography Class (open to all levels)
2:30 - 3:00pm - Artist Talk about 'Finding Shelter'
3:00 - 4:00pm - Book Signing + Reception w BHS Volunteers

 

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Book Tour Update: On The Road with "Finding Shelter"

The 'Finding Shelter' book tour has been amazing so far! I've been doing book tour events on both the East and West coasts with more events happening through the Summer (you can see a full list of Finding Shelter book signings here: www.findingshelterportraits.com/events). It's been a thrilling combination of totally exhausting, completely rewarding, and genuinely fun and exciting. 

Selling books is great and all, and as a full-time artist making a living off of my photography is an enormous part of my job. But the true value in this book tour for me has been meeting so many deeply stellar people (and dogs, of course) along the way. At every book signing for 'Finding Shelter' I made sure to shake hands with the people who gave money to my Kickstarter campaign, take time to chat with each and every person who got their book signed, draw attention to the shelters and rescues the co-sponsored each event with me so that visitors got introduced to their work and also donated to their causes. It was a real group effort, and I felt a lot of love from the shelter and rescue communities, especially the volunteers who showed up. 

'Finding Shelter' will continue to have a positive impact on the shelter/rescue world - I'm very sure of that. 

Another great thing that happened in the past two weeks is that 'Finding Shelter' became a #1 New Release on Amazon! Now that's pretty cool. 

I hope you can join me at one of the upcoming book signing events (info here: www.findingshelterportraits.com/events). And in case you missed the last two weeks of events, here's a quick recap: 

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