As 2019 nears its end, I thought it’s about time I finally updated the blog! These past few months have been so busy it’s been sorely neglected! These end of year, reflection blogs are almost more for me than anyone else as I am not sure how interesting you’ll find it, but if you’d like to hang around and see what I got up to at BrindleBerry this year, I’d love to have you!

CPP Certification

Certified Professional Photographer

Since January through March are typically slow months for photography, I started off my year by finally finishing my CPP designation from the Professional Photographers of America! The certification involved a detailed technical written examination, and then analysis of a set of images.

I chose to certify through the PPA because all other certifications I found were based on images alone. I wanted to be tested on the theory too since I didn’t get a formal photography education.

From what I could find, it was the hardest certification to acquire – so of course that’s what I wanted!

Certified Pet Food Nutrition Specialist

So since I was on a roll with certifications, I decided to obtain my Pet Food Nutrition certification too. For years I have tried to find a designation that wasn’t created or sponsored by a pet food company and had no luck! I’d started a few courses and when I saw the information they were peddling they immediately lost any credibility to me.

This certification by DNM University was real, hard, and not created by anyone with an interest in selling pet food!

Tail Blazers Legacy and BrindleBerry Studios

It was in late 2018 that I decided to open a pet exclusive retail photography studio for BrindleBerry, AND with that also a second Tail Blazers location in Legacy, Calgary. It may surprise you to learn that we spent most of the first half of 2019 negotiating the lease for the space! My negotiation skills had vastly improved from the Copperfield Tail Blazers’ location, so there was much more back and forth and this time a lawyer was involved!

Once the lease was signed, it was time to design and buildout TWO spaces. One for the store, and one for BrindleBerry studios. This was also a lot more time consuming than I anticipated, so taking clients for BrindleBerry continued to get pushed back. Luckily, I had some clients that waited FOREVER for me! The lovely ladies below, for example!

The store finally opened two months late in late September, and I was still needed on the store side, so BrindleBerry once again got put on the back burner for a little longer while we got the store up and running. Again, thank you to the lovely clients that waited for me!

September is the busiest season for sessions, so getting pups in for their sessions before the leaves changed became a priority over getting the actual studio set up. Then, Christmas came and well, we know what happens in retail and in photography around Christmastime!

I am happy to say with the exception of missing my final studio artwork sample, the studio is set up and it’s beautiful! I’ll be getting my studio documentation etc in order in January and we’ll be ready to roll end of the month!! 

Season’s Treatings

Last year I created the Season’s Treatings event for ARF fosters at our Copperfield Tail Blazers location! We have lots of foster parents that shop at our stores, and they invest a lot of extra time and money into their foster cats and dogs – even though they don’t have to! Most rescues provide essentials for their animals, but the foster parents like to spoil their critters and often invest a portion of their own money for upgraded food and treats.

So I thought, what if I used my connections to get free goodies (more often discounted goodies) and created gift baskets for these fosters to have under the tree Christmas morning? I could get the price really low, around cost, so that our customers could buy these baskets for the foster critters for an affordable cost. Give a lot, for a little! (This year the dog baskets had a retail value over $80 and could be purchased for just $20!)

Well, the event was such a success last year, that I had BOTH locations participate this year. And it was a good thing we did – ARF had almost double the kitties they had last year! And last minute several new doggies came in too.

We had over 80 Season’s Treatings baskets donated to ARF this year! In fact, the event was such a success we sold out of baskets a week early!

New Gear!

I have been a Canon photographer for pretty much my entire professional career! My current camera body, a Canon 1DX, is around 6 years old now and it’s time for upgrade! It’s been a great camera, but if you have your finger on the pulse of professional photography you’ve probably noticed that digital is going mirrorless! Mega pixels have increased! Print quality is getting better!

So since I need to upgrade my camera I started looking at other brands to see what’s out there, and I kept coming back to Sony being the latest and greatest, and years ahead of the competition when it comes to mirrorless. The problem with switching to Sony is that I have tens of thousands of dollars invested in canon compatible memory, lenses, etc.

Therefor, I have been sitting on this decision for a VERY long time. But today I finally invested in my first piece of Sony gear. An A9ii mirrorless body. Over the next few days I’ll be deciding on lenses and getting the accessories I need to start playing!

This was a super big decision, but one I feel is aligned with the goals I have for my business. I will update you all on my findings once I have enough gear to start shooting!

Goals for 2020

Ok, I have not really sat back and written this out formally yet! The first three weeks of the year are set aside to rest, and get caught up and to sort out my goals for the year. I’ll be working on that soon!

What I CAN say today is that I plan to:

  • Set up a JAM Session for the first quarter (stay tuned!)
  • Have a grand opening for BrindleBerry Studios!
  • Decide on and begin a personal project
  • Prepare my AIM (Animal Image Makers) presentation for April
  • Get my Advanced Pet Food Specialist designation
  • Get Accredited as a Canine Portrait Photographer from the PPOC
  • Enter more print competitions

I’d like to thank you for following along with my journey and being so supportive and patient with me this year! I am wishing you health, prosperity and abundance in 2020!!

If you struggle to get amazing photos of your pup, or simply would like to create some memories with YOU in them give me a shout! I will be on a break getting the studio in order until the 3rd week of January, but would love to chat with you when I’m back!