I’ve spent the last few months debating whether to start a business focused on offering animal lovers a choice of pastel pet portraits and photographic portraits. The business idea is a possible alternative to full-time work or a side hustle that could supplement part-time employment whilst building up a client base. The latter certainly sounds more sensible.
Either way, one decision I have to make is to decide on a business name. Do I use my full name, a variation of my name, expand on the use of Two Black Dogs or even come up with something completely different? Two Black Dogs is my handle on Twitter and Instagram as well as being the title of this blog so I would need to have separate social media accounts regardless of what I decide. In researching existing businesses that focus on either pet photography or pet portraits there appears to be a mix of businesses using the artist’s name and those with names that reflect the genre of their art.
My reason for considering the expansion of the use of Two Black Dogs is the same reason for starting this blog, my black dogs Maxi and Bundy. Their antics, those big, brown eyes and my obsession with them inspired me to do pastel pet portraits, and being a crazy dog mum who volunteers in a shelter gave me a focus for my photography. Whilst the name is meaningful to me I realise it may not be meaningful to potential clients, which is often the argument for not using an individual’s name. It is all doing my head in and that is without even starting the business…what hope do I have?
I first came across the work of talented artist Graham Hoete aka Mr G in 2011, at that time he was on a mission to paint 100 dog portraits in 12 months and had painted a beautiful portrait of famous pit bull Daddy from the Dog Whisperer. Mr G is now in Australia and painting portraits for Aussie dogs including a 4 storey high portrait of a dog in Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach, bull breeds feature strongly and I can’t wait to see the end result. Check out Mr G’s work on facebook, you may even be able to get him to do a portrait of your dog 🙂
My husband gave me the nick-name of ‘crazy dog lady’ several years ago when I was lying on the living room floor surrounded by our dear Maxi dog and two foster puppies, one of whom is now our boy Bundy. I have always loved animals, but never thought of myself as a dog person until we got Maxi, from then on I became slightly obsessed with dogs and the obsession reached a peak with the adoption of Bundy. We now have dog themed calendars, notepads, artwork, stuffed toys, photo frames and I spend alot of time reading dog blogs, sharing stories of dogs on Facebook, talking dogs with other dog lovers and walking dogs at our local animal shelter.
Bundy and Maxi are pretty used to me taking photos of their every waking (and sleeping) moment, Bundy can switch between completely ignoring me or cooperating completely depending on what his focus is at the time – me or a ball/bird/rat/treat. Maxi has the innate ability to be able to identify a phone camera, whether I have my DSLR, point and shoot camera or iphone she turns her head away from the camera as soon as I take the photo. Photographing Maxi has to involve treats or the beach, both make her incredibly happy and easier to photograph.
I took these photographs last year and am quite happy with the result, Bundy and Maxi had their props, soccer ball and treat which helped take the focus of me holding a camera. The post-processing in Lightroom makes them look less like an every day photo and more like a piece of art, at least they look like that to me but I know that it isn’t everyone’s ‘cup of tea’. One day soon I plan to get them printed on canvas, however I am also toying with the idea of recreating them using pastel or oil paint after seeing doggy portraits on Treats A La Bark.