What does twoguineapigs do?
I am mainly a documentary/lifestyle portrait photographer - meaning I will document a snippet of pet’s life with a focus on telling a story with photographs - this includes portraits. I offer only original authenticated prints and/or fine art albums.
I also shoot for commercial projects and events if you are after professional images for your website, blog, social media, catalogue.
I make a living through commissions and sale of prints or albums, which isn't much considering a session average to 12 hours of my time from start to end*. And I believe your memories are worth preserving.
* A session may have taken me 12 hours to produce, but it took me more than 10 years to reach this stage.
What's a custom photoshoot?
The beauty is no two sessions are the same - it’s a photoshoot tailored to suit you and your pet. Perhaps you want something different, something more experimental? Or to see new places? Or have an afternoon documented.
You’ll have me as your personal photographer for 2 to 3 hours, at up to 2 locations in Sydney, followed by professional editing, concept planning and design consultation, a selection of 25-30 best images for you to choose from so you get your story presented in custom photography art, signed and authenticated, at the end of the process, be it framed fine art prints or fine art albums - you’ll be proud to show and tell.
My goal is to help you fulfill yours with beautiful images. The result I aim for from your photoshoot is producing finished, ready-to-display images. Think of my boutique service as a one-stop shop to get your custom artwork produced that feature your own pet.
Will you travel to locations other than 20km from Sydney CBD?
Yes, I can go anywhere. So long as my travel expenses are reimbursed (ie petrol, tolls).
What's your style?
Documentary. To describe it further: non-posed, candid, artistic and quirky. Imagine me as an observer on that day, recording you and your pet’s story visually - I do every now and then give some art direction. The aesthetic is hands-on and earthy - images are styled film grained and slightly timeworn - very little gimmicks or Photoshop processing (ie not digital composite art; there's nothing wrong with that, just not done unless it's for a particular conceptual shoot.)
As much as being an observer, I approach my shoot as more than just a fly on the wall. I get emotionally involved in a great story and invest time in getting to know my subjects. When you invest in time to get to know someone, you can’t not get emotionally involved (and still remain neutral). I believe this is how you can tell a story - and tell it well - I want people to be moved when they see your story.
If you're on Instagram, come check out my daily musings - @twoguineapigs.
Why pick twoguineapigs?
I chose to specialise in photographing pets and their people simply because I value pets. They aren’t with us for very long (except certain parrots and tortoises) but they give a lot. I am also intrigued by the bond and relationship pets form with their people; each is different, each has their own story to tell; each has their own personality and attitude. To me, the animals in our lives are like people we hold dear in our hearts - even though they do not speak our language, they somehow manage to show us unconditional love. They live amongst us, adapt our social conventions and adopt our ways. It’s the little details, simple everyday moments that count towards keeping the memories alive.
When it comes down to keeping memories of your pets in the form of photography, it is important that you like what I do, my style. Art is subjective; one person may like what they see and another person may not. So I encourage you to take some time to browse through my website and blog, and take advantage of the pre-booking consultation to discuss your photoshoot.
How we work?
Contact me first with details (use my Contact Form as a guide) -> Book your photoshoot* -> Shoot with us -> Order & pay for your prints or fine art album(#) -> Receive Prints/ Framed artwork/ Fine art album
* Prepay to confirm your photoshoot date (subject to my availability). As part of the concept planning consultation, I can discuss your photoshoot either over a coffee, the phone or Google Hangout (a pre-shoot home visit may be required especially where small animals are involved) - we will plan your location, how you would like your story told and presented.
(#) To be efficient, I normally set aside time after the shoot to produce your prints and albums so I can get your artwork to you as soon as possible. The best time to order your prints is right after you receive your online gallery (or at the most, within 12 days). After that, I can’t guarantee the availability of print material or framing options, nor a quick turnaround (as I'd have moved onto other projects.)
What suits best, outdoor or indoor photoshoots, or both?
I care a lot about you and your pet’s safety. So if your pet gets anxious or nervous around other people and dogs in public places, then I would recommend an indoor photoshoot, ie we shoot at home. Indoor photoshoots also suit very young/small animals and most cats.
If you like nature, love trees, spend a lot of time with your pets visiting favourite corners of parks, and your pet is relaxed and calm in public places, then an outdoor photoshoot may be suitable.
Keep in mind also that some public places may require a Permit to shoot, eg Centennial Park, or may have restrictions on pets, eg most Sydney beaches.
For documenting your story, I would recommend you to consider an indoor photoshoot at home first, then another location near home. Or if you're up for an adventure, we can explore a new location (recommended only when your pet is confident visiting new places.)
How many pets can you include in a photoshoot?
I recommend up to 3 pets from the same household. Extras at $50/each. The more pets and people you include at the photoshoot, the less images you will get to select of each pet and person you included. Which goes without saying, more time will need to be put aside for the photoshoot.
Is there any breed you do not photograph?
Yes, homosapiens who abuse animals - unless I am working on a photo essay.
What to wear for the photoshoot?
What you normally wear. Though I do encourage my clients to keep in mind that it is a big deal to commission your personal photographer to create long lasting photographs. So probably dress up a little - don't worry, I won't ask you to swim the river, crawl on the ground or climb a mountain (maybe). For some ideas, head over to my Pinterest board.
How to prepare for the photoshoot?
A good night sleep, and walk your dog before the photoshoot. Grooming ahead of time may be necessary for pets that require it. Clear away/ tidy up clutter at home or anything you prefer not to be captured - especially small animal’s pen. I will send my clients notes ahead of the photoshoot.
What products do you offer that I can select my images to present and preserve them in?
Nothing beats preserving your memories in archival printed materials - they last a long, long time (think heirloom) and are more reliable than digital format. Our memories only exist when they have been printed.
If there is a particular product in the market that you would like but prefer not to go through the trouble and time to source, let me know.
I invested a lot in sourcing and testing products and evaluating the professional printing labs / album printers / professional framers I partner with. This is because I believe in only the best quality products for presenting and preserving your images so they last a very long time. There's something magical about prints.
I am super fussy about the paper your images are printed on, and the frames they go with.
It goes to say, $19 will never deliver you good quality framed photographic prints or wall art that last for decades (think heirloom). twoguineapigs clients normally invest $1500 - $2200 for their custom artwork.
Will the photographs be available in both colour and black and white versions?
No. When I photograph, I have a pretty good idea if what I’m seeing will be colour or black and white. Some images are suited for either colour and black and white, few for both. The artwork I create works best if there is only one version of the photograph.
What’s the turnaround time before I get to view my photoshoot and select them for print or fine art album compilation?
Usually in a forthnight. For fine art albums, before I send them away for production, I will get you to review and approval design and spreads of the images you have selected.
What methods of payments do you accept?
Credit card via Paypal or direct transfer.