About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Photo Shoot

A few days ago a long time customer of mine asked me if I would take a picture of her dogs.
All three... at the same time... in one shot.
A golden and two Schnauzers.

This would have been no problem a little over a year ago.
Not now.
Let me explain.

Almost 10 years ago I moved my shop to a new location so that I could add a Self-Serve Dog Wash.
When I moved I wanted to do something different on the walls.
I decided to take pictures of all of my four legged customers, and put them all up on the walls in nicely decorated poster frames.

WOW, did that get a response.
Everyone LOVED seeing their pet on the wall.
It was great for a while.
Then about 5 years after I put the pictures on the walls, new customers started asking why their dogs were not on the wall.

'I ran out of room.'
'I don't have time to take pictures anymore.'
'I took those pictures years ago.'
'No, your dog is not bad. We weren't grooming him when I took the pictures.'
'I need to update my pictures.'
I was getting tiered of explaining why some dogs were not up on the wall.

So, about a year and a half ago I set up a new photo spot in my grooming room, and started all over again, taking pictures of ALL of my four legged customers.
I used the top of my Clipper Vac as a place for the dogs to sit.
Then I draped fabric on the walls and over the Clipper Vac.
After each dog was groomed, I took a picture.
Thank the Lord for Digital Cameras.

When I first did this, almost 10 years ago, I only had a small 35mm camera.
I took about 5 shots of every dog and prayed that I had at least one good picture.
There were quit a few retakes.

When I did this the second time, I had to make the pictures a little smaller to fit everyone in 6 large poster frames.

These are some of the pictures I took almost two years ago.

I added flowers with the dogs.

I did not have PhotoShop at the time to help fix some of these pictures.

I cringe now when I look at some of them.
The lighting in my grooming room is not the greatest for taking pictures.

The customers did not care.
Once again, they LOVED them!
Some of my customer actually brought other family members in just to see their dogs picture.
I also had one of my long time customers literally drag her husband out of the car to see their dogs picture.

Now, once again, my newer customers are asking 'When will my dogs picture be on the wall?'

When I painted and rearranged my grooming room, I did not put the photo spot back up.
So when my customer asked me to take a picture of her 3 dogs the other day, this was a little bit of a problem.
How do I get a nice picture?
Where do I put 3 dogs to take their picture together?
Where do I put a Golden and two Schnauzers?
Where did I put my fabric?
Do I have a big enough piece of fabric?
What will I put it up with?
Why ME?

I decided to use the spot where my poodles sleep all day.
On top of two 500 kennels.

The two biggest pieces of fabric that I still had were RED.
I tacked one up on the wall.
I draped the other piece over the top of the kennels.

To top everything off, the owner walked in without calling.
I had just finished the last dog.
She said that she would wait while I took the pictures.

So, we got them out.
Let them sniff each other to make sure they were still the same dogs.
I started taking pictures.

 Tried to get them to look in the same direction.
At the same time!

They had to check each other out again. 
And again.
And again.

Really guys, this is not the time for a nap. 
I know you want to go home.
So do I!

 Look guys!
Look THIS way.
Squeak, squeak. (toy)
PLEASE look this way!

Everybody look this way.
You get to go home after the picture.
Come on guys!

Please, please, PLEASE!

After about 35 pictures, this is what I got.
Thank God for PhotoShop.

I had to do a little stamping and cloning on the sides to get rid of my green walls.

 At least they were all looking at the camera in this one.

I really did not like any of the group shots, but I am pretty sure the owner will like them.

 After I finished fixing some of the group shots, I decided to play a little.
I cropped each of the dogs out of different pictures.

I softened them up a little and did some fixes.
I also like to play around with the filters.
I did not like any of the filters on the Schnauzers.
But, the Golden...

I just LOVE what the Vintage Filter did for him. 
His coloring was just right for this filter.

We'll see if the owner likes it.
People are soooo fickle.
Anyway, you can't be picky when someone is doing you a favor.
Can they?

Oh, yes they can!

I will be setting up a new photo area in my shop again soon.
I love taking pictures.
I am hoping to take a PhotoShop class after the holidays.
If I get better at taking pictures and working with them, I may start to charge for taking pictures.

Yes, I know, I should be charging already.
I have always had a bad habit of giving away my art, some grooming services, and my pictures.
It drives my family crazy.
I just never think my work is good enough to charge for.
Trying really hard to get out of that mentality. 
Happy Grooming, MFF

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