Welcome to Wear Wag Repeat Podcast Episode 14: Natalie Williams of Grey Dog Photo Studio recently relocated from Denver to London. She’s talking to me about how her dog helped her adjust to life in a new city, sharing why you should try all your terrible marketing ideas to get to the good ones, and of course, you’ll get some dog photo editing tips to take your photos to the next level.
Listen to the Episode
Natalie Williams is London’s newest dog photographer. She left her dream studio in Denver, CO just 6 months ago to follow her other dream, living and traveling in Europe with her husband, Casey and dog, Roger. Starting from scratch is no easy feat, but Natalie is determined to take London by storm with her pet photography and development of her own pet-centric content agency.
Tori: How did your dog Roger help you adjust to a new city?
Natalie: Having Roger here has made London the friendliest place! Usually on the tube you don’t talk to anyone, but with Roger everyone comes up to us. You’re allowed to bring dogs into pubs here and when we take Roger people will queue up to say hi to him.
Tori: Why did you make the switch from wedding photography to dogs?
Natalie: Right before I started photographing weddings, by dog Max passed away tragically. After that I left my day job to pursue photography. During that transition I started dog sitting on the side. As I got new camera equipment I tested it out on all the dogs I was watching. I ended up getting burnt out photographing weddings after a year and a half and decided to photograph what I love – which is beautiful, sweet, happy pups. I found success when I really dedicated my business to one thing. Grey Dog Photography is named in honor of Max.
Tori: How do you approach getting the word out about your business in a new city?
Natalie: In Denver it was easy to start up, but London is a whole new market. It’s about getting out there and trying all your terrible ideas to get to the good ones. Even if they don’t work! Before Christmas I was out at a park with a backdrop just photographing dogs on the street. I say your first 20 ideas aren’t going to work, so you just have to get through them! I have tried doing model calls, which is actually a good idea. Just getting out there and photographing is key to me. If I’m ever feeling stuck, I go out on the street and approach people and their dogs. It gets me out there and I can use it for my Instagram account.
Tori: As a professional photographer do you have any photo editing recommendations to help amateurs create better images of their pets?
Natalie: I love VSCO, I use it for all my personal Instagram photos and funnel some of my professional photos through there, too. It’s all about practicing and experimenting with editing. But I try to have fun with it and go wild! Sometimes you can get lost in so many different color apps and lens flares. So go crazy, but maybe sleep on it!
Lately I’ve been playing with my shadows and highlights. I go to the extreme with those settings then go back into the contrast to make it look more natural. I learned that from a landscape photography editing tutorial and I’ve been having fun using it on my dog photos.
Tori: What are your plans for 2018?
Natalie: My husband and I are trying to take advantage of great flight deals and do one little trip per month around Europe, so that’s really exciting. Professionally, I’m also working on growing my business beyond pet photography. I love working with brands and getting the word out there about how amazing dogs are. I’m excited to explore content creation and social media with brands this year.
Tori: Roger is a sheepadoodle – what is his temperament like? And is he a good model? Tell us all about Roger!
Natalie: Roger is not a good model! He is so smart and stubborn that he knows when I want him to pose for something. So that makes him my best practice model because he makes me try new techniques. And since he’s black and white, it’s challenging to get the contrast and lighting right on him.
We’ve had Roger for about a year but I didn’t have him for 4 months when we first moved to London. He stayed with my in-laws while we got settled, found a flat and worked on the paperwork to get him over here. There was no quarantine, but it was complicated. I recommend using a travel agency for pets that figures all this out for you.
He’s also very smart and very sensitive. It’s really interesting when we’re on the street if someone ignores him and doesn’t say hi his feelings get hurt. He’s such an interesting dog!
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