About Learn Pet Photography

Meet Charlotte Reeves

Through her Brisbane-based business, Charlotte Reeves Photography, Charlotte has fearlessly photographed over a thousand dogs since 2007.  She has coaxed gorgeous images from hyper staffys to reluctant retrievers, helping many rescue dogs along the way.  She may have split her pants open on a shoot and accidentally laid down in duck poo to get the shot (white shirts are a bad photoshoot wardrobe choice), but she has never cracked a lens.

Her work has beckoned readers from newsstands on magazine covers and pages from Australia to Germany.  Whether she’s shooting for a commercial or private client, she holds herself to technical standards that she hopes to share widely and lift the entire pet photo industry.

Addicted to creating lightbulb moments for students, Charlotte has been teaching pet photographers since 2013.  She relishes simplifying tricky concepts, and helping people achieve their goals by making the learning fun, practical, and positive.  In between shooting and teaching, she also mentors photographers one on one – you can book your own session right here!

FAQ

What is the fastest way to get started?

Tell me where you are, and I’ll tell you where to go:

  • If you want the confidence that comes with a solid, no-missing-pieces foundation in pet photography, and enjoy reading books loaded with examples and lightbulb moments, then head over and grab an instant download of my e-books Fetching Photos and Dog Shoots.
  • If you have already read a lot about pet photography and have tried a few things, but need to SEE how this all comes together, I recommend watching my RealShoots episodes.  You’ll see the process end to end – live shoot, live editing, and final product.  Plus all the X factors that can make or break a session, including handling dog behavior, changing light, and setting owners at ease.  See full episodes here!
  • If you want a quick bite of daily information while you explore Learn Pet Photography more, sign up for free Tip of the Day emails.

I struggle to find the time to improve, and then feel like I’ll never get good enough. Any suggestions?

I know – it’s easy to take on a bunch of education at once, then set it aside telling yourself you’ll practice, and one month later… you’re in the same spot.  Here’s how to get around that:

  • Write down the reasons why you want to learn pet photography and put them somewhere you can see them.  Is it to help rescue animals?  Remember what you and your pet did together every day?  Earn money to pay for a vacation?  Keep those reasons on a post-it note on your computer or somewhere you can see them.  You’ll find you’re less inclined to log into Facebook and more inclined to study up!
  • Find a way to engage with pet photography every day, even in a small way.  Follow me (and other great people) on Instagram, and sign up for Tip of the Day emails.  You’re a lot more likely to grab a camera and practice if you see something inspiring and keep thinking about it than if you just read once in awhile!
  • Create a standing “Pet Photo Date” on your calendar.  Once a month, twice a month, once a week, whatever works.  A Pet Photo Date might be where you sit and watch a RealShoots episode, and the next Date might be going out with your dog to practice.  You might meet up with another pet owner at a park to practice a few things you’ve seen on Tip of the Day.  Another week you could fire up Lightroom and follow along with an Editing Tutorial while playing some upbeat music.  Remember how much you could learn from a college class?  There was no magic to it – you just showed up at the same time and did the same thing.  Apply the same to your photography.  Set up a ‘syllabus’ of options (indoor, outdoor, with camera, cozy with your laptop, hanging with a friend’s dog) and you’ll find that ‘practice’ is something you look forward to – and can feel guilt-free in between because you’ll cover it at the next Pet Photo Date!

I see you only shoot natural light, I want to learn off camera flash and studio photography. Would your RealShoots or e-books be helpful to me?

No matter what your desired style, if you’re still learning to work with pets and need the basics (or to fill in holes) regarding posing, working with animals, communicating with owners, adjusting camera settings, and learning the ins and outs of software, you can benefit from the information on this site.  Even if you do want to work with external lighting, that’s only one ingredient in the shoot – a flash doesn’t magically get a pet to cooperate, set an owner at ease, or edit your photos.  (But if you ever find a flash that does all that, let me know!)  These are all things I can help you with.

If you feel there’s nothing left for you to learn in these areas, and you really want to learn about external lighting specifically, then this website won’t provide the information you need.  I don’t cover integrating portable or studio lighting setups, and my style relies on the interaction between the pet, the sun, and the great outdoors.  My only suggestion for you would be to remember that there may come a day when your flash or studio are unavailable, and flexibility is the ultimate mark of a professional.  Should you ever find yourself photographing a family or wedding, on a trip without your gear, or asked to do charity work for a cause you believe in where you’d need to rely on available light or work with animals who can’t handle flash – these skills will be useful.  I’d consider watching RealShoots episodes, or at least signing up for Tip of the Day or my editing tutorial emails – the latter two are free!

Why did you start Learn Pet Photography?

I’ve been photographing pets since 2007, before it was a well-established field.  It didn’t take long for pet lovers to find me and flood my inbox with questions.  I started teaching in 2013, releasing my first e-book, Fetching Photos, and started accepting inquiries for one-on-one mentoring two months later.

As demand and the pile of questions grew, and I created live video editing tutorials, live photoshoot videos, and workshops to keep up.  Learn Pet Photography became it’s own website in 2014 as a single place where you can access it all.  Every year, I listen to my audience and deliver knowledge in quick, easy-to-understand ways that fit the lifestyles of busy pet owners and pet lovers!

Why give away all your secrets? Are you holding anything back?

Helping other photographers means they’ll produce quality work more quickly, helping our whole industry grow tall and strong and become more visible to the public.  If you fertilise and water something regularly, it will bloom into something that just can’t be ignored.  That helps all of us!  The more high-quality pet images people see, the more likely they are to take it seriously and want it for themselves.  I can’t wait to see the day when pet photography is as ingrained a service as wedding or family photography, and when hiring a pet photographer when you get a new rescue is as commonplace as hiring a newborn photographer.

And no, I don’t hold back any secrets.  I’m not a restaurant that keeps out an ingredient so you still have to come back for more.  Like I said in my bio… I’m addicted to lightbulb moments.  I come alive when I see others ‘get’ something for the first time.  There’s no way I could hold back!  Integrity is central to what I do, and the industry won’t grow until we’re all conversant in the same skills bringing joy to animal owners everywhere.

Besides, a lot of people come to me hoping to create images for rescue organisations and shelters.  This can be actual life-saving work helping cats and dogs get new homes.  I engage in this work myself.  Building a generation of generous volunteers with a high standard of work that truly speaks to potential adopters will save lives.  If there is any skill, any idea, any tip I can share that would give these animals a greater chance at a happy life – you’ll hear about it!

What do you recommend I do next?

Sign up for the (free!) Tip of the Day emails below, then go learn about RealShoots episodes (my most-demanded service).  If you want to get better at pet photography, keeping that goal top of mind and learning a little bit consistently is going to go a long way.  Little nudges to try one thing at a time create amazing growth!

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