I’m a Diva! A Paw Print Diva that is! I recently had the pleasure of attending an intensive three day pet photography workshop (Paw Print Divas Workshop) in Chicago. Led by professional pet photographers Barbara Breitsameter of Poppyblue Photography, Kim Hartz of Kim Hartz photography and Margaret Bryant of Bryant Dog Photography, I walked away with so many tools that will help me take my own photography business to the next level. With just 12 attendees working with the three instructors and three assistants, we got a lot of one-to-one instruction and plenty of hands on experience too.


It’s taken me a couple of weeks to process everything I learned. I came away with tons of inspiration, not only for my photography, but also for my photography business. We covered a range of topics including pet behavior, how to work with dogs during a photo shoot, posing with dogs and their people and how to set up props for a photo session. We also covered lighting, from natural light outdoors, to using a reflector and off-camera lighting outside, as well as working in a studio and home environment. And last, but not least, we covered the art of owning and operating a photography business. After all, a photography business is much more than just pushing the shutter button on a camera.


We were privileged to focus our cameras on a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, Dalmation puppies, Bassett Hounds, a German shepherd, a Havanese dog and her puppies, and a guide dog in training. There were four Rottweilers and a Labrador, all from the same family! Oh, and a Corgi, a chipmunk hunter mutt named Ping, two Frenchies, a Siberian Husky and a Golden Retriever. Usually when I travel, I have to do without the companionship of a dog so indulging in the company of all of these canines was just a delight. (Frankly, if I could have gotten away with smuggling the Berner puppy home, I would have!) Combining that with immersing myself with a dozen other photographers talking shop (my other favorite thing) well, it made for just about the perfect weekend! The only thing missing was my husband and my own dog Izzy!


I can’t say THANK YOU enough to Barbara, Kim and Margaret for sharing their experience and knowledge with us. The three of them make a fantastic team and I’m so glad I took the plunge and decided to attend PPDW now instead of waiting another year. I’ve made new friends with my co-attendees and look forward to watching everyone grow in the years to come.

Now that I’ve had some time to absorb everything, if I had to pinpoint one lesson I took away from this, it would be how important it is to invest in myself so I can grow as an artist. I gained new skills, as well as more confidence in what I’m doing. I also walked away with the inspiration to try new things as well as try things I’ve wanted to try, but have been afraid to do. Now, if only there were more hours in a day!