When I began building the Bark & Gold Photography brand just over four years ago, I was at a loss trying to come up with some sort of clever tagline, that business mantra, if you will, that tells people who you are, what you do, and where you do it. Everything felt so…generic and basic, neither of which is me. (I mean, did we really need another photographer “photographing pets and their people”?)
I stewed, not on who I was or where I did it, but on what I wanted people to feel when working with me. I sat down at my desk, Hunter curled up at my feet as he often does while I work, and hastily scribbled word after word onto a piece of scratch paper as I looked down at him and wondered, What is is that I want to convey?
With this growing list of words, I searched Thesarus.com for synonym upon synonym until I found the combination of nouns and adjectives that just felt right: words like joy, love, emotion, connection, natural, expressive. I remember asking Hunter aloud (because, you know, he totally understands everything I say to him), “How do I set myself apart? What is it that I do?”
The welcome distraction of petting the top of his ultra-soft head pulled me away for a few minutes. I always say that Hunter is my heart dog, why our home is a little hairier, our bed a little tighter, and our hearts a lot fuller; he is the inspiration behind Bark & Gold Photography. Looking down on him and into his amber eyes left me with my tagline: “Celebrating the joy and love between Pittsburgh pets and their people.” But how?
I knew from the beginning that I wanted to do more than just leave my clients with digital files that they’d rarely download or print, or that they’d risk potentially losing to some unexpected catastrophic technological glitch. I wanted to provide my pet parents with not only a unique and meaningful experience but something to remember that experience along with the joy and love their four-legger brings them. Slowly that tagline developed to include the words “through signature wall art, fine art albums, and heirloom products” as I realized that if Hunter meant as much as he does to me, my clients’ certainly felt the same about their furry friends.
The Bark & Gold Photography experience is all about creating art from the heart, every product meticulously sourced from the industry’s best of the best. From internationally handcrafted artisan touches to heirloom-quality that promises the excellent standards you expect. As a Certified Printmaker (and the only one in Pennsylvania at the time of writing this), I highly value the service I provide to you every step of the way, from your initial inquiry to the delivery of your archival-quality artwork, and I’ve seen firsthand through happy tears and huge hugs the importance of my clients having tangible products for generations to follow.
In this week’s post for the Photography Blog Circle focused on the value of print, I’m sharing four reasons why you need to print your photos.
1. Digital Media Can (And Does) Fail.
In her novel Hallowe’en Party, Agatha Christie wrote, “I know there’s a proverb which that says ‘To err is human,’ but a human error is nothing to what a computer can do if it tries.” There’s a reason why whenever you receive your digital files that match your ordered product images that I include a digital file care card. It’s because digital media does fail and technology changes quickly. No one is immune to the bugs, malfunctions, and blips that coincide with everchanging technology. I recommend all digital media be backed up in multiple places, including your hard drive and a cloud-based service. (I love Backblaze, which saved my butt big time about two years ago.) Definitely don’t rely on hard drive storage alone to archive your images; it is not sufficient and my goodness–your images are toast when your hard drive fails.
While I typically archive images for approximately six months following your reveal and ordering appointment, I cannot guarantee that images will be available after this six-month period. For that reason, I can’t stress this enough: back up your images for safekeeping! Of course, the best way to prevent losing your images is to print them. It seems so simple yet so few people left on their own to do so actually follow through due to the reality of time, patience, and the skills required to print with proper calibration and the appropriate aspect ration that align with how your images were intended to be.
2. This Is An Investment of Time and Money.
A successful portrait session is an investment of both time and money. Your pet’s session deserves more than to simply sit on a CD or USB on your desk, to be buried on your computer only to be looked at once or twice, or to be printed as inaccurately colored, poor-quality prints at your local drugstore. There’s no faster way to devalue the work of your photographer as well as the time and money you invested in your pet’s session than to not print your images.
3. Share Your Pet’s Story.
Author Sue Monk Kidd said, “Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” Printing your images helps share your pet’s story.
Signature wall art is always spectacular, but when it comes to truly sharing the depth of joy and love you share with your pet, it’s hard to beat fine art albums and heirloom folio boxes. Both of these can hold such a variety of images; fine art albums, potentially all of them! It’s what makes them so fantastic for everything from Puppy Love Sessions to Rainbow Sessions. And because these products are designed with archival-quality in mind, you can invest in them knowing that they’ll be a permanent piece of your pet’s story.
4. Someday You’ll Miss Him.
Since the moment I first held my big-headed, floppy-eared boy at just 11-weeks-old, Hunter has been the best part of my life. With him by my side, I’ve laughed, cried, succeeded, failed, and created thousands of irreplaceable memories that include shark-toothed puppy bites, adventures, snuggles, mischief, and chin scratches (Hunts’ favorite). I will forever know that my world is a better place because of Hunter. He is my heart dog and the boy who made me a pet photographer.
When Hunter turned 10-years-old, it hit me hard. Despite his puppy-like playfulness and good health, celebrating those double digits came with the reality that, as pet parents, we are not privileged to forever. Someday you’ll miss him. You’ll miss those early morning potty breaks, the clumps of dog hair that collect along the edges of your furniture, the chaotic mess of squeaky toys from one end of the room to the other, your drool-covered legs as a pleading face rests upon them begging for a taste of your dinner, and the loving touch of a please-pet-me nuzzle.
Being a pet photographer comes with the pride and pain of watching your beloved companions grow up alongside you. I see them sprout up from the very same four-legged shark that Hunter was the first four months of joining our family (when I wasn’t sure my arms could take one more chomp from his dagger teeth) to the gratitude-filled, sugar-faced seniors that pull at my heart. I receive your messages letting me know when they’ve crossed the Rainbow Bridge, always accompanied by messages like, “Thank you for creating keepsakes of him that we can cherish always,” and “Thank you for what you do. You captured her in such a beautiful way and I’m so grateful,” and my eyes well with tears every single time, equally from sadness in hearing you’ve lost what is possibly the best part of your life too and with gratitude in knowing that I was able to serve you in the best way imaginable by filling your home with archival-quality products
I understand just how much your dog means to you too and why it is so important for you to document the joy and love you share. Whether you choose a large wall art piece to fill an empty space above your fireplace, a beautiful fine art album filled with all of your session images, or another heirloom-quality product, I’m there every step of the way to deliver a personalized experience you won’t forget, natural and expressive images you’ll love, and five-star artwork to last generations.
Booking a session is just one way to honor your beloved companion, whether that be an on-location Standard Session, a series of seasonal Puppy Love Sessions where you can watch your pup grow, or a Rainbow Session designed specifically for aged or ailing pets. If you would like to book a Bark & Gold Photography session for your pet, click here or give me a call at 724-913-BARK (2275). For more information on Bark & Gold Photography sessions, visit “The Experience” in the menu and be sure to share your email on my homepage to join the VIP list.
This post is a part of a photography blog circle featuring photographers specializing in a variety of niches. To see what the next photographer is sharing for our weekly theme, “Print,” check out Amy Tedrow with Amy Tedrow Photography, photography and branding solutions for lifestyle, business, or non-profit organizational needs. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.