Behind the Scenes of the 2022 Biggies Bullies Pet Calendar

How did I spend most of my summer? Dodging torrential thunderstorms, knee-deep in creeks, sweat-soaked, and photographing the thirteen furry faces of the 2022 Biggies Bullies pet calendar.

Not-so-secretly my favorite passion project of the year, this annual calendar contest opens to Pittsburgh pets every January as an effort to raise money for Biggies Bullies, a Pittsburgh area foster home-based pit bull rescue founded in 2011. As one of the city’s 100% volunteer-developed and staffed rescue, Biggies Bullies relies on fundraisers and donations to further its mission of rescuing and re-homing pit bull-type dogs in the greater Pittsburgh area and continuing its efforts of responsible pet ownership education, positive force-free training, and the importance of spaying and neutering. Fees for photo entries and votes, alongside a limited number of reserved undated grid spaces, went entirely to Biggies Bullies to help with special programs like Hungry Hippos Food Pantry as well as its Freedom Harness Exchange and free vaccine clinics.

To be eligible to win one of thirteen grand prizes and one of eight weekly mini-contest prizes, entrants submitted their favorite photo of their pet along with a $5 entry fee for voting between mid-January and early March and encouraged family and friends to donate to vote.

This year, our fifth for the contest, was a record-setting one with $21,501 collected just during the eight-week contest period alone. Subsequent sales of the calendar itself are expected to push this total well past the $22,000 mark.

Photographing the Calendar Contest Sessions

Photographing from late March through mid-July, these 13 dogs were treated to their own one-on-one professional pet photography session to capture their calendar image. The top vote-getter, a two-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier named Walter, won the coveted cover while the remaining 12 entrants received a featured month. While the initial grand prizes included a complimentary session, nine of these winners chose to upgrade to a full session that included a longer session at a location of their choice, product credit, access to Bark & Gold Photography’s full product and design guide, and other perks. And boy–these sessions did not disappoint!

Locations like Phipps Conservatory, Robin Hill Park, Schenley Plaza, Brady’s Run Park, and others throughout the greater Pittsburgh area presented us with a variety of options ranging from rural and rustic to woodsy to garden gorgeous and uptown urban.

Biggies Bullies 2022 calendar dogs at various locations throughout the greater Pittsburgh area

Together, we created not only stunning calendar images but a mix of heirloom-quality artwork as well so their humans could remember their special day forever. Among this year’s most popular calendar contest products were framed prints and heirloom folio boxes.

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The final weeks of August were spent inputting a year’s worth of pet-themed holidays and uploading reserve-a-grid-space submissions, mini-contest prize sponsor ads, and the calendar photos themselves. Once drafted, I ordered my sample to ensure everything looked just as I envisioned before opening the online storefront to sales.

Order Your Biggies Bullies Calendar

The 2022 Biggies Bullies pet calendars start at $20 with all proceeds going to Biggies Bullies to further the efforts of the rescue’s volunteers. Click here to purchase your calendar, which will be available through July 2022.


This post is a part of the Content Marketing for Pet Photographers blog circle. To see what the next pawesome photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” check out Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography, sharing images from her summer vacation in Wyoming photographing horses, cowboys, and cowgirls. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.

8 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes of the 2022 Biggies Bullies Pet Calendar

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      Thank you! I love this project so much. It’s amazing seeing Pittsburgh pets and their people come together for such a great cause. The rescue benefits so much for their efforts!

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      Thanks, Angela! It was an amazing year for the contest and I can’t wait to try and top it for Biggies Bullies in 2022!

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      It was an amazing summer photographing Pittsburgh’s winning calendar dogs! I am already looking forward to next year!

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