The Nature, Wildlife and Pet Photography Forum - Fine Art Landscape Photography

Back From Westminster

Posted By: James Morrissey

Back From Westminster - 02/17/11 04:56 AM

Hey Everyone,

I kept this fairly quiet, but I decided to make a second stab at working in the Green Room for the Westminster Dog Show at the Penn Hotel (located across the street from MSG). Last year, I gave a fairly stark experience of the show. I did not see it necessarily as a failure last year, just not as a real success. :P

However, having done the show last year, it had opened up several doors for us. We have been invited to help raise funds for several shelter groups and recently have been asked to join some boards for pet related causes. In short, I feel that it was a net positive and worth making another stab at. Also, I felt that I did not want to walk out with my tail between my legs!

This year, I went in having much lower expectations and completely re-tooled my packages. I also changed my promo material, including photographs of only pets that had been shot on backdrops and in studio lighting (vs outdoor work). I featured Westminster Dog Show dogs and added new products, such as throw blankets and some studio books.

While I am not crowing, I am satisfied with the results. The results were pretty solid. We were also fortunate that some of last year's owners came to visit - and brought their friends.

(1) We booked 29 different breeds this year - a huge improvement.
(2) We made a small, but meaningful profit (yeah!).
(3) We photographed 3 of the 6 'new breeds' though I was not 100% thrilled with one of the sets (they did a 'walk on' in between sessions and I tried to fit them in. The dogs were revved up and were not able to calm down until the end, and I had to end the session early because a prior appointment came to have their pet photographed).

Over-all, a very positive show and I am glad that I did it. I have been asked if I wish to do next year's show and I have decided with Chanthee that it is more than likely worth doing (90% likely). Of course, show photography is not my bread and butter, and I know I need to continue to retool my packages and product offerings. However, I am pretty happy that I made it out alive the second time and feel a bit better about myself and my performance in the process. :P

I am going to plow through some photos by this weekend and start publishing them as I fulfill orders.

James
Posted By: Welshfilly

Re: Back From Westminster - 02/17/11 02:49 PM

Congratulations on the good results this year, I'm looking forward to seeing some of the images when you get a chance to post them.
Posted By: Sunstruck

Re: Back From Westminster - 02/17/11 03:19 PM

Congrats James and Chanthee! Sounds like a much better experience than last year.
Posted By: Peggy Sue

Re: Back From Westminster - 02/17/11 06:14 PM

So glad you gave it another try. In a couple of weeks it may feel like childbirth and you will forget the pain and remember all the good things smile

Now that you have two under your belt, it is great that you are thinking ahead to next year.

How did the boards turn out that you have been asked to be involved with and has that helped you open more doors to pay work or more people asking for more free stuff? (I really would like to hear more about those organizations)

Also very happy that you are in the black with this show.
Posted By: Jim Garvie

Re: Back From Westminster - 02/18/11 01:49 PM

I was thinking about you as we watched Groups on TV Monday and Tuesday. Glad you gave it another try. It's a difficult environment and it sounds like you figured out how to make it work for you. Did you get a chance to shoot any Rotties? Three of the Rotties we do the advertising for showed in Westminster this year. We were proud of them. Next year, I'm hoping at least one of our own puppies will be there showing. So, maybe we'll get a chance to see you and Chanthee.

Jim
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Back From Westminster - 02/18/11 06:46 PM

"How did the boards turn out that you have been asked to be involved with and has that helped you open more doors to pay work or more people asking for more free stuff? (I really would like to hear more about those organizations)"

Hey Peggy,

This is a piece that is in process. This is VERY recent, but we received two invites. One is for a local SPCA. The other is for a vet group. I am still discussing this with them and I am trying to figure out if they work for us. When I finish the conversation, I will definitely share more.

James
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Back From Westminster - 02/18/11 06:50 PM

Hey Jim,

Thanks. We did shoot one Rottie during the show. They were relatively local (Buffalo) and the first thing I mentioned when they came to sit was you and your publication, hoping that they might be connected. He was beautiful and very sweet.

Honestly, they were not my best Rottie shots ever as the dog had recently been on the 'jog a dog,' and he was very hot when they came to visit. The mouth was open and the tongue was wide. They came down one more time, but I was busy and it just did not happen. frown Having said that, I did get a couple of nice shots of him - though nothing like you share here. I will share them with my stuff later.

James
Posted By: Jim Garvie

Re: Back From Westminster - 02/20/11 02:28 PM

James,
our first Rottie girl, Annie (Ch Nordike's Ruffiann V Mobster), was bred near Buffalo so a lot of our line goes back to dogs from that area. Annie was our foundation bitch and everything we've ever bred goes back to her. Just wondering if that dog was owned by Susie Grupp.

Jim
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Back From Westminster - 02/21/11 03:33 AM

...LOL, check out your PMs...

James
Posted By: StarrLight

Re: Back From Westminster - 02/21/11 09:17 PM

Hey James, I'm also glad to see that you tried this again. Even though your focus is not pet/dog photography, I'd think it would be fun and each year there would be the potential for learning about new and interesting possible leads for additional work.

I was watching on and off also on TV, may have been one of the news shows, that went to the Penn and was filming different areas, and there was a few seconds of a photographer with a ponytail and I wondered if that was you!?!

Diana
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Back From Westminster - 02/21/11 10:00 PM

Hey Diana,

Professionally, our focus is pet photography these days. I have cut my wedding work down by 85% over the last two years as we have increased the pet photography business. What we are not are 'show photography' people, which is an entirely different type of work. I really respect the show photography people - it is almost a different sport, LOL. Having said that, I enjoy doing portraiture at the Dog Show and may consider adding venues over the next year or so as time allows.

As to watching TV - LOL, that was me!!!!! I allegedly made two TV stations - one of which supposedly showed our studio signage (Wild Coyote Studio). I would like to get copies of the footage. It would be good for our website. Of course, nothing like looking at the North end of a South bound photographer. :P

Thanks
James
Posted By: StarrLight

Re: Back From Westminster - 02/21/11 10:53 PM

Ahh, I thought you were doing more pet photography than before but didn't realize that was not the majority of what you were doing. I actually am wanting to do more in-studio portrait work rather than shows, just need space to do it and some upgrading of equipment as well as some more local networking and marketing.

I missed the signage on the TV spot but it definitely looked like the setup I thought you might have. Maybe if you find it you can post it on youtube. wink

Diana
Posted By: StarrLight

Re: Back From Westminster - 02/21/11 10:55 PM

Originally Posted By: StarrLight
... didn't realize that was not the majority of what you were doing.


oops, meant to say "was now", not "was not"...
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Back From Westminster - 02/23/11 08:27 PM

Hey Folks,

I saw one of the clips. I was doing a 'behind the scenes' photo shoot for one of the dogs. I am featured for a total of about 1.5 seconds - and of course, since I was out of the studio set up, there was nothing indicating who we are or where we are from. frown It is on the Feb 15th MSNBC broadcast called, "Pedigreed Pooches." I know that one of the crews was in our booth from a different station, so hopefully that one showed the sign.

Next year, I am DEFINITELY having Wild Coyote Studio shirts made up! I may even make them for walking around NYC.

James
Posted By: Tucson Jim

Re: Back From Westminster - 04/01/11 11:12 PM

James:

I noticed some folks had posted replies to your article about your experiences at this year's Westminster Show. I wanted to add my congratulations to those that already appeared below the article, but could not do so. No reply button. So, I post here instead.

I am really happy to read about your positive results from this year's Westminster Dog Show. I did not realize you were quite so disheartened by your experience last year. I could tell you were a little disappointed, but I also thought you were encouraged by some positive aspects.

In any event,I can see you did the right thing by learning from your past experience and having another go at it again this year. Taking what you learn from this year, I have no doubt you will do even better next year.

Congratulations!!!

Jim
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Back From Westminster - 04/04/11 12:02 AM

Hey Jim,

I was disappointed in our first year mainly becase I only survived. My expectations were way too high, and I really did not approach the show properly.

I
LOL, I still remember dinner the week before, having met up with Helmi, Ken and my wife and seeing how they operated a pet show. The long and the short of it was that I kmew it was going to be rough in advance..,,,but it was just a glimmer (given how big Helmi's name is). We were working until 11 PM most nights in order to get my numbers...it was intense and stressful. This year we really did not suffer that. It was a success from start to finish!

James
Posted By: StarrLight

Re: Back From Westminster - 04/04/11 06:23 AM

Originally Posted By: Tucson Jim
James:

I noticed some folks had posted replies to your article about your experiences at this year's Westminster Show. I wanted to add my congratulations to those that already appeared below the article, but could not do so. No reply button. So, I post here instead.


Yeah, I noticed the same thing, I couldn't see anyway to comment after the article?
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Back From Westminster - 04/08/11 10:19 PM

Hey Jim,

Thank you so much! I just changed the article a bit. After I re-read it, I realized it sounded a bit sad-sacky...and it really should not. 2009 was a success for many reasons. It was not a huge financial boom that I had hoped it would be, but it really was a success. That was a bit of working digging up my initial thread that I wrote on it and really tried to make it more coherent and consistent.

James
Posted By: Visceral Image

Re: Back From Westminster - 05/05/11 11:46 AM

Jim;

Congrads on a successful show; thanks so much for posting your experiences. I do my first two shows, one memorial day and the second June 11; very nervous about this (posted questions in pet forum). These are small local shows but my first try at this type of photography.
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Back From Westminster - 05/07/11 08:00 PM

Hey John,

Thank you so much! It was a great opportunity and I am looking forward to doing it again next year. We have already worked that out with the show people, so I am pleased. I just saw the thread in the Pet Forum - it looks like it has really taken off.

James
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