I don't write many blog posts about my sessions, instead I prefer to share those images on my social media sites like Facebook and instagram. There's only so many ways you can write this was the best session ever (because it was!), or isn't this dog the cutest thing you've ever seen? But Wilson's story is one I can't help but share. Not only because of all that he has been through, but also because of how this session really affected me.
Before I tell you about this adorable blue eyed pup, let me share with you a little bit of behind the scenes in my life as a photographer. While I love being a photographer, having a photography business is a lot of work! It's not as simple as sharing adorable photos of dogs and cats and hanging out a shingle saying "open" for business. It's a slow process building up a following and getting clients. There's the business side of things like insurance, taxes, and contracts. And marketing side like determining who my clientele is, where to find and how to advertise to them. Of course, I need to decide what products I am going to offer and how to price them. And answer questions like what services will I provide and how will my business operate?
At the same time, I am growing as an artist developing my style and brand. I'm constantly learning by attending workshops, taking classes and working with a mentor. And while it's been a fun journey, sometimes I get impatient. I want more clients, I want to earn more money so I can invest in more equipment, more classes, more marketing. I want to grow faster technically and artistically. Some days it feels like I'm spinning my wheels. And I start to wonder why bother?
I know better than anyone, it takes time to build a business. Most businesses don't start making a profit until they've been open for 3, 4 or 5 years. I'm only in my second year. And working a full-time job as well. At another business I started 25 years ago. I think it's harder to create a successful business now than it was then. So much competition. Navigating social media and a world that's changing so rapidly, it's hard to keep up. Sometimes I think about giving up. Or putting this dream on the back burner and trying again sometime in the future. But then I met Wilson.
Wilson's owner responded to a model call ad I ran while I was in Florida this winter. She had just adopted him days earlier. He had been surrendered by his breeder to a pet store because he had knee issues. Wilson's mom wasn't looking for a puppy, but an older dog, one that had been potty trained, knew basic obedience and was no longer teething. But something about this blue eye little bundle of fur drew her to him. She had a story too. Her husband unexpectedly passed away a couple of years earlier. She didn't know what to do, so she packed up her car and with her dog and they drove south. And drove. Until she arrived in Venice FL. She stayed for a few months before her dog passed away too. Not knowing what to do next, she headed back home to Canada. But she couldn't stop thinking about FL.
So this winter, she came back. She was ready to open her heart to a new companion. And Wilson came into her life. She didn't care about his health issues. He was the calmest puppy she or I had ever met. The vet thought he would outgrow his knee problems since he was still so young. They took walks daily. And within a week, he was much stronger.
I met Wilson and his mom at Brohard Paw Park, a dog friendly beach on the gulf coast side of Florida. It was a very windy evening, but there were still several dogs with their owners hanging out on the water. We watched while a few folks packed up and called it a day before letting Wilson run off leash. Having taken my girls Izzy and Kita to this dog park, I've been impressed at how well all the dogs get along. Wilson made a few canine friends who came over to check out the newcomer. I photographed him exploring everything - the sand, the water, the dunes, and so on. He ran, he played with the other dogs, he dug holes in the sand, he watched the waves come and go. We had a blast watching this little pup learn about our world, through the eyes of a dog. Time flew by so quickly. And I had never had so much fun during a session as I did with Wilson. I didn't want it to end, but red tide was in the area and it was getting harder to breathe.
It was during this session that I knew this is what I am meant to do. I found a sense of happiness out there on the beach with this puppy and my camera, that I had never experienced before. I never felt so focused as I was during that hour and a half crawling on the sand, not wanting to miss a single precious moment. I was so excited to see my images and show them to Wilson's mom. And perhaps for the first time ever, I wasn't concerned with whether she was going to be happy with the images and approve of my work. I just knew I had captured something so wonderful, so special, so unforgettable.
As it turns out, Wilson's mom was just as excited about the images as I was! She couldn't make up her mind which ones she wanted, changing her order 2 and 3 times before placing it! Meeting and photographing Wilson was a turning point for me. I'm a little more patient with myself and my business knowing all good things take time. It's just enough to know I'm doing what I love and what makes me happy. Whatever the destination is, I'm going to enjoy the journey that gets me there!