We recently connected with Mindy Dutka and have shared our conversation below.
Mindy, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Can you tell us the backstory behind how you came up with the idea?
Six years ago, I was at a point in my life where I had experienced several major life changes: I had moved from New York City to a suburb in Boston, my mom died, and I had remarried. I was also unfulfilled in my current job. I decided it was time to change careers. My goal was to find something I was passionate about and create a new career for myself. I started researching a few different possibilities and I stumbled upon some information about dog photography. I was intrigued as I am a lifelong dog lover and have always loved photography as a hobby. I had an aha moment and said to myself, looks like dog photography is a “thing”, that’s what I am going to do!
I had experience as an entrepreneur, as I had previously created a successful Event Company that I ran for 20 years and built from the seed of an idea. I was undaunted and inspired by the challenge. As I was learning more about the world of dog photography, I uncovered all kinds of helpful information. I was on a quest to educate myself and figure out how to have a successful dog photography business. I stumbled upon a retreat that was going to happen in California about the business aspects of dog photography. The retreat was focused on creating a brand, discovering your why and several other pertinent topics. I signed up for the retreat and began my new journey in earnest.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
What type of products, services do I provide:
I create high impact photography that connects pet brands with dog people. The right photos and story create an emotional connection that draws people in, increases online following and sales, and transforms them into loyal customers.
What Problems do I solve for my clients:
I help new and growing pet brands connect with pet owners through stronger visuals and compelling stories. I help brands tell their story by visually capturing the emotions they want associated with their brands.
What sets me apart from others:
My deep connection to dogs and my ability to capture the connection between humans and animals. For my clients I have the ability to ask the right questions to distill the essence of a brand story and tell that story through the photos I create for them.
I am a firm believer that – Every Dog has a Tale and Every Brand Has a Tale. I am on a mission to tell those tales through my photography.
What am I most proud of:
I am most proud of the work I have done for the Veterinary Emergency Group. As a dog parent and animal lover I am passionate about how VEG is changing emergency medicine for animals and their humans. They allow people to stay with their pets through all phases of treatment. I love that I get to tell their story through my camera lens. My photos are used throughout all of their marketing channels and they decorate the walls of their hospitals.
Dr. Bessler, the founder of VEG, explained what attracted him to using photography to tell the VEG story. “At VEG, we say that,”Emergency is our middle name. It’s all we do, so we do it best, but it’s not lost on us that taking a sick pet on an emergency basis to a veterinary facility is frightening for both the pet and the owner. Using images that show how we’ve changed that experience to be a more comforting, reassuring experience made a lot of sense to us. Mindy’s photography captures who we are and the VEG experience better than any words we could use.”
What do I want people to know about me, my brand and my work ?
I feel sincere joy and gratefulness that my work is my passion. I love that my photos have such deep meaning. They tell the stories of pet brands and animal rescue organizations. They are cherished by families that have a tangible representation of their beloved connection to their dog(s). And they document and bring awareness to the power of the human animal bond.
Dogs I Meet is about more than just photography. I work with my clients to outline a solid visual and content strategy that helps them stand out from their competition. I help them to connect with their customers, increase sales and build a loyal fan base.
Is there a particular goal or mission driving your creative journey?
Aside from the brand work aspect of my business, my passion is to use my photography to tell stories that inspire, create awareness and raise funds for animal organizations. My mission is to help animals that don’t have a voice of their own. To date I have helped countless animals and raised over $30,000 for organizations worldwide.
What’s been the best source of new clients for you?
LinkedIn has been a very valuable source for me. I have made great connections for both my brand work and animal advocacy. I love that it is a platform that has allowed me to become a thought leader in the pet space.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
Right before the pandemic my business was on a roll. I started working with the Veterinary Emergency Group in September 2019. I was busy traveling to photograph their different locations in the Northeast. I was about to launch an exciting project in Puerto Rico. I developed a plan and put together a team of people and we were going to start a student veterinary clinic to provide free medical care for people that didn’t have the means to provide vet care for their animals. We had our plane tickets booked to leave for Puerto Rico on March 29th to start implementing the project. On March 15th, the world shut down due to Covid-19. My business came to a screeching halt.
After several months of doing nothing, I knew I needed to keep working, keep photographing, and keep being creative regardless if I was being paid or not. During the first several months of the pandemic I spent a lot of time thinking about the role dogs were playing in supporting people during the pandemic. I decided to do a personal project that I called Tales of Support, about how dogs are among the unsung heroes of Covid-19. The pandemic had turned every dog into a therapy dog.Through photos and stories I spotlighted dogs that played an important role in sustaining their humans throughout the pandemic.
It was a meaningful, fulfilling experience that kept me in the game. The project inspired me, kept me relevant and was well received by participants, my audience, and the press. As the shutdown lifted I was busier than ever with new and exciting clients.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
My passion projects helped build my reputation. I knew I wanted my photography to make a difference for dogs. I spent time in Mexico, photographing a spay neuter clinic and the work of several other amazing rescue organizations. I went to Puerto Rico shortly after Hurricane Maria with the Global United Foundation to document and assess the scope of the problem of stray dogs and cats. I also worked with several rescue organizations in the States. Through the power of my camera lens I told visual stories to create awareness, galvanize support, and raise funds for these important causes. I shared my work on LinkedIn and other social media channels. Pet brands took notice of what I was doing, liked my work and my passion, and my client list began to grow.
- Website: https://dogsimeet.com/
- Instagram: @dogsimeet
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dogsimeet
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mindy-dutka-pet-brand-photographer-316b09181/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyARV1QJ0JEI524fos0Mw1A