Retiring from teaching Pet Photography Workshops. Blame it on a puppy.

After five great years, 15 workshops, 185 photographers and 8 different cities, I’m sad to say that the time has finally come for me to officially retire from teaching workshops. I know many of my photographer followers were already making plans to come and learn from me next year, including those who have been trying to get to Seattle to take a Cowbelly workshop for several years. I am sincerely sorry for any disappointment this decision has caused. Believe me I did not make it quickly or lightly.

Unfortunately this decision spans both my Cowbelly Pet Photography Workshops, and the Passport Workshops I was co-teaching with my colleague J. Nichole Smith. This means we won’t be coming to London next year, and I won’t be teaching any workshops in Seattle or anywhere else next year. I spoke to Nichole about this and gave her my blessing to continue teaching but her path has taken her to London, where she is completing a master’s degree, so she also doesn’t have the time at this point. I know, I am so sorry!

First, I want to tell you all WHY I am retiring, and then list the Cowbelly educational products anyone anywhere can continue to learn from.

The WHY:

For a long time now the most common phrase out of my mouth has been “I don’t have time”. It got to the point where I was sick of hearing myself say this. This phrase, this state of mind, this way of life, is not a good one, not to be admired, robs one of joy, and makes time pass far too quickly. I’ve been learning since my mom died in 2010 that life should be about connecting with people, enjoying the moment, finding true beauty and joy in the everyday, and cherishing simple pleasures. These things can’t really be done when your plate is so full it’s overflowing. My plate has been overflowing for a very long time.

This summer in August I did a photo shoot for the puppy Jones and his older brothers. I was there at their house for several hours- much longer than normal. Not because the dogs were uncooperative (they were great), but because I loved the process SO much. Photo shoots are what I live for, why I started this business, what truly and ultimately fulfills me, and what I miss in the summer when I am busy teaching workshops.

On the drive home from the shoot, I did some thinking. Some of the thoughts were: “I want to do more shoots, but I don’t have time to do more shoots”. “I love doing this more than anything else”. “I want to do more commercial work”. “I need to start checking things off my marketing to-do list”. “I want to pursue the many creative ideas I’ve had for my business over the years that I haven’t had time to”. And finally: “Something has to give”. That something, unfortunately, was in-person workshops. Although they are incredibly stimulating to teach, and a heckuva lot of fun, they are incredibly demanding of both time and energy, require a great deal of planning and post-workshop work, and always take place during my busiest season. I knew when I finished my last workshop in September that it would be my final one, and I left with a deep sense of relief. If you have ever felt that feeling upon making a major decision, you know you are doing the right thing.

The Cowbelly Educational products:

First, there is the book: Beautiful Beasties: A Creative Guide to Modern Pet Photography, by yours-truly, published by Wiley Publishing.

Whether you are a seasoned pro looking for more creative ideas for photo shoots and wanting to learn another’s workflow process, or a total newbie trying to figure out how to do portfolio shoots, there is something for everyone in the book.

Check it out and read the Amazon reviews here.

Then there are the more in-depth PDF Guides: the 2013 Marketing Guide, the 2013 Pricing and Selling Strategies Guide and the Simple Price list. Chock full of knowledge gleaned from ten years in the industry, they are worth their weight in gold. Purchase the guides here.

Thank you so much photographers. It has been a wonderful, wonderful run!:-)

Some highlights of past workshops:

Workshop I: September 2008 Pet Photography Workshop

Pet Photography Workshops photos (1)

September 2008 Pet Photography Workshop

Pet Photography Workshops photos (2)

September 2008 Pet Photography Workshop

Pet Photography Workshops photos (3)

October 2008 Pet Photography Workshop

Pet Photography Workshops photos (4)

October 2008 Pet Photography Workshop

Pet Photography Workshops photos (5)

September 2008 Pet Photography Workshop

Pet Photography Workshops photos (6)

October Pet Photography Workshop 2008

Pet Photography Workshops photos (7)

Boston Pet Photography Workshop 2009

Pet Photography Workshops photos (8)

Boston Pet Photography Workshop 2009

Pet Photography Workshops photos (9)

Boston Pet Photography Workshop 2009

Pet Photography Workshops photos (10)

Boston 2009 Pet Photography Workshop

 

Pet Photography Workshops photos (11)

Chicago 2009 Pet Photography Workshop

Pet Photography Workshops photos (12)

Seattle 2010 Pet Photography Workshop

Pet Photography Workshops photos (14)

Seattle 2010 Pet Photography Workshop

Pet Photography Workshops photos (15)

Seattle 2010 Pet Photography Workshop

Pet Photography Workshops photos (16)

Seattle 2010 Pet Photography Workshop

Pet Photography Workshops photos (17)

Seattle 2011 Pet Photography Workshop

Seattle 2011 Pet Photography Workshop

Seattle 2012 Pet Photography Workshop

Seattle 2012 Pet Photography Workshop

All good things must come to an end.:-)

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November 19, 2012 - 11:54 am

Daniel - I’m sure it was a tough decision but I’m so excited for your upcoming DVD’s! :D

November 19, 2012 - 4:32 pm

Lexie Cataldo - Thanks for all you’ve done for us, Jamie! I’m one of the very lucky ones to have been able to participate in one of your past workshops and have had my photography quantum jump up some levels! I’m glad you are putting yourself first and doing what you love–following what you love ALWAYS takes you to far better places, doesn’t it? I will definitely be awaiting your DVD, but just wanted to pass along my big gratitude to you and to wish all the best that our life offers us! Thank you, Jamie!

November 20, 2012 - 4:19 am

John Waire - HUGE decision but I’m glad you made it. You deserve that time back in your life. Exciting times ahead for you Jamie!!!

December 10, 2012 - 11:06 pm

Dolores Matthys - I’m so glad I found your book, which has been a great guide (and good excuse to buy equipment ;-)), I’m bummed I couldn’t make it to your Sept workshop, and I look forward to more guidance. I’m down the road (sorta) at the Oregon North Coast – Gearhart. If you ever come down this way and wouldn’t mind giving a newbie, shelter photographer a few pointers, drop me a note! I’ll buy you dinner and show you the awesome beach shot spots ;-)

December 10, 2012 - 11:07 pm

Dolores Matthys - I’m so glad I found your book, which has been a great guide (and good excuse to buy equipment ;-)), I’m bummed I couldn’t make it to your Sept workshop, and I look forward to more guidance. I’m down the road (sorta) at the Oregon North Coast – Gearhart. If you ever come down this way and wouldn’t mind giving a newbie, shelter photographer a few pointers, drop me a note! I’ll buy you dinner and show you the awesome beach shot spots ;-)
BTW – my facebook page is more active than my website for now: http://www.facebook.com/FurryZen

December 12, 2012 - 12:27 pm

Dana - Regardless what you do, you will always inspire us! Can’t wait for the DVD and happy holidays to you! :)

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