Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Chris Fisher. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Alright, Chris thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Can you walk us through some of the key steps that allowed you move beyond an idea and actually launch?
I knew the idea of execution was going to be a long process that takes time.
The idea to start a business for dog photography actually came from fellow landscape photographers who liked the photos of my dogs in my landscapes. From there I worked to establish a few basic items for the business – the name, website domain, and social media names. Once I found something that worked for all three, I went to work.
I set up an LLC, hired a designer to create a logo and brand identity, purchased the domain name and set up an initial website, and set up social media accounts with my new business name.
I then reached out to some friends to begin developing my portfolio so it wouldn’t be photos of just my dogs. Though my main focus is photographing dogs in landscapes, I tried my hand in a few other things too to see if they’d fit (urban dog events, porch portraits during the pandemic), but none of them quite stuck.
Once I found my specific niche, I started to develop more parts of the business. This has been the tricky part so far. Determining customer intake and touchpoints, setting appropriate pricing, and figuring out marketing.
The administrative part of the business hasn’t been too bad, though I know I need to do more/better with the tax aspect. The part with the steepest learning curve has definitely been marketing.
I have taken a number of free and paid courses to help me determine the ideal course of action given my own capabilities and personality. I’ve also invested in Google Ads to help supplement organic online search. The last bit I’m working on is doing in-person events like expos and local retail-sponsored events.
As it stands now, 3 years into my business, I’m looking at making the transition to a full-time photographer within the next year or two. I know I have a little bit of work for automating my lead process, refining my online advertising strategy, and determining how I would set up my workdays in a full-time capacity, but I’ve definitely set up a solid foundation for my transition into full-time!
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I am an outdoor dog photographer based in Colorado. Though I’m located in the Denver metro area, I serve the entire state of Colorado and beyond. My goal is to introduce and immerse people into the world of adventure-inspired portraits for their homes.
My focus is on providing dog lovers with more than the average photo of their dog. I seek out locations with epic views that not only help their dog stand out but also make for a beautiful portrait to hang in their home. I do so by providing framed portraits and other finished products so my customers never have to worry about framing themselves.
What makes me stand out is the fact that I will go anywhere for a session – a 20-mile hike, up a 14,000 mountain, or in the middle of a lake – to capture the perfect portrait. I also am specifically a dog-photographer only, so I don’t spread myself thin with other kinds of photography. Lastly, I’ve sourced from a lot of different image vendors and have selected the best for each of my products, so customers will never feel like they’re investing in a cheap photograph.
Overall, I just want to help celebrate dogs! Being a dog dad of current and past furry children, I know just how special dogs are to a family and want to make sure they’re celebrated as such.
How did you put together the initial capital you needed to start your business?
I’m definitely more of a safe/secure person, so I have kept a full-time job to help finance my “side-hustle.” In the beginning, what I charged for my sessions was more of a “vote of confidence” in my efforts, but investing in a professional-grade camera, training and courses, advertising costs, administrative costs, and insurance have all been financed with my full-time job.
The next step is to have an emergency savings account once I start photography full-time, as well as having all of the tools I need to work without worry for the next couple of years.
I’m also still working on plans for supplemental income due to seasonal differences, not to mention long-term budget considerations. I want to make sure that starting a business doesn’t affect my retirement!
For you, what’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative?
The most rewarding aspect of being creative is seeing my own work come to life.
Learning the craft of photography is one thing, but there are so many facets to understand along the way. Initial location and lighting, camera settings, and editing can be done in so many different ways. If you were to have two photographers capture the same idea, their final products will always turn out different, and that’s what makes photography such a personal and creative experience.
I also love that photography provides me with an outlet for my creative side. I’m normally a very logic-driven person, but I can only tolerate it for so long. There comes a time when things shouldn’t be done in such a straight-forward way — there needs to be an outlet where you can express yourself as an individual, and photography does exactly that for me!
- Website: https://www.adventurepupphotography.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adventurepupphotography
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/adventurepupphotography
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/adventure-pup-photography/
- Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/adpupphoto
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC13bHX0QeK3afxVSiOU0ozg
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/adventure-pup-photography-arvada