It Started with Prom Dresses – How I Became A Pet Photographer
Written by Courtney Bryson
Prom Dresses to Dogs
I got my first real job at 13 years old. I didn’t know at the time that this job would shape the entire trajectory of my life. I was selling prom dresses to teenagers older than I was. At the time, the store also sold couture bridal gowns, so I began selling high end bridal gowns. By 16, I was the top bridal sales person on the floor and managed the bridal side of the business. I worked part time through college.
In 2007 the owner of the shop started a nationwide advertising agency. I was working full time as her assistant running the marketing for the store, as well as working alongside her in every aspect of the new marketing business.
Our competitive advantage was that we photographed a custom 116 page magazine featuring designer prom dresses. It was mailed directly to more than half a million high school girls.
I traveled all over the US meeting with designers to select dresses, working with other prom dress shops, selecting models, planning a massive photo shoot, and then spending 2 grueling weeks of 20+ hour days photographing the dresses. The rest of the year it was still a huge job with 60 hour weeks being the norm.
Then Comes Marriage
Ready for a plot twist? While we were traveling all summer meeting designers in New York & Fort Myers & Memphis & Chicago, my boss didn’t want to leave her two small children home. She convinced her sister to take her vacation time & come with us to watch the kids. This is when I started to get to know Renee. We’d be both be up early in the morning watching the news & drinking coffee before my day of prom dresses and her day taking her niece & nephew to museums and landmarks would start.
Renee & I went on our first date in 2009, and less than a year later she introduced us both to Boston Terriers when she got Willa. Once Willa came into our lives, we might have gotten a little obsessed with Boston Terriers, which led us to adopting a deaf Boston Terrier named Bocephus.
And introduced us to the crazy world of rescue.
So How Did I Start Photographing Dogs?
Now I saw the need of dog rescue. I started to realize that photographing prom dresses to make people want to buy them wasn’t really that different than photographing my foster dog to make people want to adopt them. So, I bought a cheap DSLR and started photographing my foster dogs, and then other foster’s dogs.
And then we bought a farm
So I’m now officially a crazy dog lady. We wanted to have a place where we could rescue more dogs and get out of the suburbs. We moved to 11 acres in Rutledge, Georgia (and renovated an 1840’s farmhouse and build a 40 x 60 foot shelter with 17 kennels, but that’s a whole other story or two).
And while I was still helping to sell prom dresses remotely via email and websites and social media marketing, I was feeling more and more compelled to work with dogs.
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