FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT TYPE OF CAMERA DO YOU SHOOT WITH?
I currently shoot with a Canon 1-DX and a Canon 5D MkIII. I absolutely love these camera bodies - the colors, the focusing system, the controls… all of it! I have a battery grip attached to the MkIII as well which makes for an impressively comfortable and ergonomic fit in my hand. (Plus, it doubles the battery life! Woo Hoo!!) :)
HAVE YOU ALWAYS SHOT CANON?
Yes, I have always shot Canon. I learned to shoot on a 35mm Canon film camera back in college. Once I switched over to digital, I shot with a Canon 7D for a few years before upgrading to the Canon 5D Classic. About 4 years back, I upgraded again to shooting with the 5D MkIII and two years ago, I got my dream camera - the Canon 1-DX!
DO YOU USE AN ASSISTANT WHEN SHOOTING ON-LOCATION?
Yes! In fact, there are times when I have not just one assistant, but two. In addition to shooting natural light, I also use portable studio lighting with multiple types of very large (and sometimes very awkward) light modifiers. So, to help me move my lighting rig, camera gear, treat/toy bag, reflectors, diffusers, etc - I need at least one set of extra hands. I also have my assistants hold reflectors to help me control light in any given atmosphere as well as act as human light stands when I cant keep my studio light source stagnant. (which is quite often with very fast moving pups!) :) Above that, I have my assistants control treats, toys and special noises (i.e. - squeakers, iPhone noise apps, whistles, duck calls!) that we use to keep our four legged subjects engaged with the camera. :) Oh, and most importantly - they control the peanut butter!!
WHAT LENSES ARE IN YOUR BAG?
At any given shoot, I have these five lenses in my bag:
Canon 24-70 mm f/2.8
Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8
Canon 50mm f/1.2
Canon 35mm f/1.4
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8
WHAT IS YOUR VERY FAVORITE LENS?
Oooh! That is a fantastic question! (and really tough!) Id have to say its a toss up between my 50mm f/1.2 and my 16-35mm f/2.8. Id say I spend at least 50% of my photo sessions with the 50mm attached to my camera. Then, I can be seen with the 16-35mm attached for another 40% of the shoot. The last 10% of the shoot is divvied up between the 70-200, 24-70 and 35.
The reason I have such a love affair with my 50mm is hands down, for its gorgeous, gorgeous wide open aperture capabilities. If I have the 50mm on my camera, there is almost never a time when my aperture isn’t set to f/1.2. The soft, creamy bokeh that come from that lens is just plain magic. It makes me all googly moogly and equally weak in the knees & starry eyed to photograph pups close up, at f/1.2, with just their eyes in tack sharp focus while letting the rest of their body melt off into sweet, sweet puppy softness! Ahh! :) Thats what I call ‘soul’! (see the gorgeous pup below for an example of this:)
The 16-35 is a favorite of mine because of the extreme comedy that it so proudly produces. Photographing dogs at 16mm is pure joy. Their silly, wiggly, unbelievably bobbly little heads never cease to bring me laughter — and its the best kind of laughter. Its the kind that comes up from deep in your belly and kind of tickles you right in the stomach. When I give myself (or my clients!) those kinds of laughs is when I know Im using the 16-35mm exactly as it was intended. :)
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN PET PHOTOGRAPHY?
Animals have always been my driving passion. Ever since the days that I couldnt formulate actual words. I’d crawl around the world as a little tiny human, putting all kinds of dirt and other fun, shiny things in my mouth and laughing at my own feet (because thats what babies do, right?). At that point, I wasn't much yet besides some really cute lumps of skin adorned with a diaper and also with a brain attached — but my brain - even at that tiny, tiny age - knew for certain that I loved animals. Im talking - with a passion that was sort of silly. I would feel our family dog’s fur between my fingers and my eyes would well up with tears of joy. I just wanted to spend my whole baby life squishing and cuddling that dog that I loved so much. I couldnt explain the happy tears when I would see him - they just came. As I grew up - that never changed. Ive always found solace in the smile of a dog, a sort of peace in his eyes, a wisdom in his soul that I could never duplicate anywhere else in my life. I knew that there was no other purpose for me than to spend my life working with animals.
But,on the other hand, Ive always been extremely creative. The right side of my brain was constantly working overtime. I was a dreamer, a thinker, a creator. I went to college and majored in Visual Arts for this second love of mine, and minored in biology for the first. I was drawn to design, color and expression. I dreamed of a day where I could take both of these passions, and merge them into one, single career. After graduating from college into a terrible job market, the idea of ultimately owning my own business was born into my head. The idea of pet photography came very naturally to me.
The long version of this story can be read here on the Hair of the Dog blog where I was interviewed last year and asked this very question: http://hairofthedogblog.com/2013/08/photog-feature-kaylee-greer-from-dog-breath-photography/
HOW DO YOU MARKET YOUR BUSINESS? DO YOU PAY FOR ADVERTISING?
No, I do not pay for advertising. I feel very, very blessed that I am able to live my wildest dreams on a daily basis. I am blown away and humbled by the incredible people who appreciate my art and support my business. And the most amazing part of all of it is that it came very organically for me. I don’t advertise in newspapers, magazines, phone books, photographer directories. I don’t pay for advertising in web ads, on social media, for search engine optimization, etc. But what I have done is poured my whole heart and soul into this business. Ive channeled every tiny passion lurking in every corner of my body into Dog Breath Photography and into the things I believe in. I think when you are passionate about something to this degree, its bound to catch on. People start to notice. They tell their friends, their doctors, their dentists, their librarians, theirpharmacists.. :) Word of mouth has been completely invaluable to my business. An organic use of social media, blogging, networking and key wording have all been huge, huge players in success as well. I also volunteer at my local shelter photographing their adoptable dogs and I have since the very beginning. The appreciation for my craft and exposure of it that that earns Dog Breath Photography is out of this world. Do what you love and let that shine through. If you are doing it for the right reasons, people are going to start to notice. Again - you can find more of my thoughts on marketing and connecting with your client base in my blog interview here: http://hairofthedogblog.com/2013/08/photog-feature-kaylee-greer-from-dog-breath-photography/ Or! You can listen to my most recent podcast interview with Andrew Hellmich of Photobizx here: http://photobizx.com/Kaylee+Greer+Building+a+Dog+Photography+Business (maybe next time you're in the car on a long drive, you can tune into my muppet voice for an hour's time or so, eh? haha!!)
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BREED TO PHOTOGRAPH?
Yes! I do! And I know I shouldn’t be biased, but I just cant help it - nothing thrills me more than getting the opportunity to photograph a wiggly, waggly, outrageously silly Pit Bull Terrier!!
It’s their smiles, their wags, the way that the character and joy just oozes out of them. Their expressions are endless - their smiles are enormous and just totally out of control, and, across the breed, they seem to be the most tolerant of the lenses, lights, squeaks, and general shenanigans that a photo session can bring.
(also, it doesn’t hurt that I am one VERY proud Momma to a rescued shelter Pittie myself! Check out that face below!) :)
DO YOU OFFER ONE-ON-ONE MENTORING?
Yes. I offer Boston-based two day private mentoring sessions for out-of-state photographers. I open a limited number of spots to which photographers can apply each year that tend to fill up quickly. To check in on this year’s availability and learn more information, head on over to this magical place on the web, fill out the form, and the rest is history! :)
I would be so thrilled to meet, hang with, and teach you all kinds of unique pet photography gems while we simultaneously kiss and cuddle pups of all shapes and sizes. (I mean, how awesome would that be?!) :)