by Skip Cohen
Michele Celentano and her husband, Paul, were here in early December. We haven't all been together since before the pandemic, but that didn't stop the laughs. We've been friends for a lot of years, and with great friends, even a one-night stay-over is time to cherish.
So, what happens when one of the industry's finest family photographers falls in love with your dogs? First, she threatens to steal them! When Michele wanted to photograph our girls, I figured a couple of grab shots, not a complete series. But the fun of it all was watching her work with the puppies. There's are reasons she's one of the best - her love for the craft and her ability to communicate with her subjects, whether they've got two legs or four.
For all of you younger artists, there's a lesson here. Michele's skill set is extensive. While she's not a pet photographer, she understands every aspect of composition and lighting. Moreover, she's never stopped learning and fine-tuning her skill set.
Lucy and Belle responded to the love they were being shown, the same as Michele's clients. When you wander through her galleries and look at her work, you can tell from the natural expressions of her subjects. It's a story of trust in the photographer combined with fun during the sitting.
Here's my point: As photographers, you've got an enormous responsibility to consistently deliver the best to your clients. They're trusting you to exceed their expectations. And when that happens you become habit-forming.
If you're at a convention and Michele is speaking or doing a demo on the trade show floor, run, don't walk to get a seat. She never disappoints and never compromises on the quality of what she delivers! Click on any of the images in today's post to link to her Facebook page, and then put her on your radar!
In the hierarchy of why consumers hire a professional photographer, it goes to brides, babies, and pets. That's the top three from a Kodak study at least twenty-five years ago, and I don't believe it's moved a bit. The pandemic changed the ranking slightly, but not the top three. Now, add to that the incredible growth in households with pets worldwide!
Take it a step further and look at the size of the pet industry. I took a quick stroll through cyberspace, and PetKeen.com had one the most thorough sets of statistics. Click on the banner below to link to the complete article. It's the top line you need to appreciate - the global market for pets is worth $261 billion, and pet owners in the US are spending over $100 billion on the furry members of the household. But one more statistic made me smile: Americans spent an estimated $490 million on Halloween costumes for their pets!
Here's the bottom line - pet photography can be an incredibly lucrative business, but don't underestimate the need for a great skill set. The standards for a great portrait and the experience of a fun sitting don't change just because the subject's got four legs!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.