Sonoma Valley Fall 2017

September 13-17, 2017. In Sonoma Valley, California.

This workshop is now open for registration!

You may have been photographing dogs professionally for a while, or maybe you have a professional people photography business and want to try photographing animals, or maybe you are just getting started in the business as a professional and need more foundation.  Whatever your reason, this boot camp is for you!  

We will cover dog handling, dog posing, dog and people posing, lighting, marketing, branding, business, Photoshop, in person sales and more. This workshop is a time for you to get ideas about how to better your photography and your photography business. It is a chance to practice “in person sales” and to get tips and tricks on how to maximize your sales. It is a chance to practice choosing your lighting, posing dogs and most importantly, posing people with their dogs! This will not be a case of copying what the instructor has done, but really planning out what you want to accomplish, and then doing the photo session. You will visit pricing for profit and ideas for marketing your business.  You will have fun photographing dogs, all while practicing your photography and Photoshop skills. (Kim and Margaret will be sharing their favorite Photoshop tricks on retouching dogs!) And that is just the beginning! With a limit of 9 students there will be a lot of individualized attention. Learning from each other is a huge added benefit of a small group!  We guarantee that we will have you thinking about your photography and your business in more detail than you ever have before!

So what is all of this going to cost and what is included? The workshop is $1750 USD for the 3+ days and includes instruction, locations, models, a resource guide as well as all lunches, drinks and snacks.

Don't wait! There are only nine spaces and the clock is ticking! The spaces usually fill up fast!


Your instructors are Kim Hartz, a PPA Master Photographer, PPA Photographic Craftsman and Certified Professional Photographer, and Margaret Bryant, a PPA Master Photographer, PPA Photographic Craftsman and Certified Professional Photographer.  Both have full time photography studios and are experienced teachers and speakers. Margaret was a platform speaker at Imaging USA in 2014, and Kim was a platform speaker at Imaging USA in 2016 and soon to be at Imaging USA 2018.  Assisting us will be Chris Kittredge, who has her own photography business, as well as a long time working relationship  with Canine Companions for Independence. 


Where is the workshop? The bulk of the workshop will take place at a private residence on five acres of land in Santa Rosa, CA. Classes and studio practice will be inside and location photography will be outside on the five acres. We have also made arrangements to photograph dogs at local areas of interest. 

- How many hours a day is the workshop?  We start Wednesday evening with a meet and greet dinner, followed by an introduction about the schedule for the workshop. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are full 9 hour days and Sunday is a 4 hour day with an optional two hour time for one on one questions at the end of the workshop.

What is included? Classroom instruction, photographic locations, dog and people models, Wednesday evening dinner, lunches, snacks and drinks, and a resource guide.

What is the Resource Guide? This is a booklet that will have some of the more detailed notes from the class, plus in depth discussions of some of the topics covered in class. It will have many useful links and be a great reference long after the class is over. 

How much is the workshop? Regular price is $1750 USD. You may pay the full amount up front, or pay $875 USD up front and the remaining $875 USD by August 15.

- Is there a discount for signing up early? Yes! A $100 discount for signing up by August 4 at midnight CT. However the entire $1650 USD in one payment is due by that time.

What do I have to provide? You will provide your own hotel, meals (other than lunch each day and Wednesday evening dinner), airfare, and transportation to and from the airport, and transportation to and from the workshop location. We encourage ride sharing with other members of your class. It is also a chance to share information and get to know them better!

- Is there a limit on the number of people in the workshop? Yes, we will take a maximum of nine students for the class. This will insure individualized attention.

Are there a minimum number of students needed to have the workshop? Yes, we need a minimum of six people to sign up to have the workshop. 

Is there a restriction on who may attend the workshop? Yes, anyone within a 30 mile radius of either Kim’s studio in Houston, TX , Margaret’s studio in Carrollton, TX, or Chris' studio in Santa Rosa, CA, will not be able to attend.  Yes, this workshop is for advanced amateurs and professional photographers looking to start or grow their photography business.

Is there anything else that comes after the workshop? Yes.  The last day of the workshop (Sunday) has two hours of optional time set aside should class members want a portfolio review, a price list review or other one on one topics. There will be a private Facebook page where the learning continues. You will also receive a printed resource guide, which will prove to be useful long after the workshop is over.

- How do I know if the workshop is right for me? To get the most out of workshop, it is important to have people of similar skill levels. This is not a workshop for beginners with a camera or beginners in Photoshop. You should already have knowledge about camera settings, light, and Photoshop. If you have any questions about the workshop being a good fit for you after reading the questions and answers below, be sure to drop us a note or give us a call and we can talk!

What do I need to know about my camera before coming to the workshop? You need to have a good working knowledge of how your DSLR camera works. You need to be solid on f stops, shutter speed, ISO settings, exposure compensation, and how they work together for the desired exposure. You should be confident about operating your camera in manual mode, be able to white balance it and know where the most often used controls are and how they are used.

What do I need to know about lighting? To get the most out of the class, you should already have some knowledge and experience with using light. You should already know something about light quality and quantity, such as hard light, soft light, light direction and lighting control. You should have some experience with using artificial light (flashes and strobes) off of the camera. We will be spending a whole day in the studio using studio lighting in manual modes. We will also be spending a good part of another day working with balancing ambient light with flash on location, using natural light and/or flash in a client's home. You won't just be watching, you will be doing it too!

Do I need to bring a computer?  Yes.  Each day after the dog photo shoots, you will need to download your camera’s memory card and select a couple of your best images from each session which will be given to the dog owners in exchange for being your models.  You will fully retouch the images and size them for printing.

During the retouching portion of the workshop, we will be using Photoshop.  You are encouraged to follow along in the class.  You should have a licensed and installed copy of Photoshop on your computer. You will be given files to practice what we are teaching and will be given time to work on images you took during the workshop. We will also touch on using Lightroom, so a licensed and installed copy of Lightroom will be helpful too. 

How much do I need to know about Photoshop? You need to be comfortable with layers, layer masks, adjustment layers, and basic Photoshop tools. If you are not already comfortable with these items, you might want to consider some instruction in Photoshop prior to the workshop.

- How much business do I need to know? We are assuming that many of you will be in the beginning stages of your business, or are adding pet photography to an existing photography business. Pet photography is a little different than other photography specialties, and we are going to cover in what ways it is different. Already being set up in business as a sole proprietor, LLC, or other business entity will be helpful.  

- Is there a list of equipment or other materials I need to bring to the workshop? Yes. You receive a list a few weeks before the workshop begins, but expect it to include a DSLR camera, one or two lenses, memory cards, card reader, note taking materials, comfortable clothes, comfortable shoes, an open mind and a desire to learn.

What about transportation and hotels? Each participant is responsible for their own transportation and hotels. People usually fly into San Francisco or Oakland airports. You can rent a car or take an Airport Express bus to the Santa Rosa area. We have reserved a block of hotel rooms, however you can stay wherever you like. Ride sharing is encouraged in getting to and from the workshop each day, as is sharing hotel rooms. We can give you more information when you are ready to sign up.

 - What do I do about breakfast and dinner each day? Breakfast can be done on your own at your hotel. Dinners are also on your own (except on Wednesday evening), and we find that classmates usually go out to dinner together some place in town. We will provide you a list of suggested places to eat. 

- Are there other things to do in the area if I were to bring my spouse? Yes! There is beautiful countryside to tour, vineyards and wine tastings, golf, redwood forests, The Pacific Coast Air Museum, The Charles Schultz Museum, biking, hiking, and more!

What if I have questions not listed here? Just email us at

Drop us an email at if you have any questions.