2012, A Busy Year at Zoo Studio!
2012 was a great year at Zoo Studio, so much happened of which we are very proud. Unfortunately our year started off in a devastating way, when we lost our beloved Sophie early in January. She had been by our side for fourteen and a half years and we were just shattered to say goodbye. A really sad start to the year.
On a more positive note, we also expanded our team, with Julie who joined us in February. If you give us a call, it will likely be Julie who answers the phone, and with her 14 years of experience as a vet nurse and as a dog trainer there is nobody better to talk to you about how you love your pets and what you are looking for in our photos. Then in July we expanded further when we welcomed little Charlotte to the family in July. If you can measure a pup’s personality, I always think that the number of nicknames is a good place to start, and Charlotte has about ten already! Some we can’t list here, but Pootle is the name we most use. She is cute and loving and playful and infuriating all at the same time, but who can ever say no to that face? Our graphic artist Johnny also added to his family, and has given a home to Penelope, a kitten that Julie has been hand nursing since 2 weeks old. She is so pretty and playful! And Julie is fulfilling a long term ambition and has taken on some ex battery hens, so welcome Daffodil, Geranium, Lily and Rose, and Darcy the rescue cockatoo. We have to get them in the studio soon! Now do you know why we are called Zoo Studio?
Out of all we do at Zoo Studio, we are most proud of what we can contribute to the charities we support. The headline news in this category will be the $35,000 we raised for the RSPCA QLD in 2012, much of which is coming from the publication of our very first book, Tail Tales, which will be available for purchase from February. We also worked with Oscars Law and helped them produce their very first book too. We organised the whole thing from the business planning to the design and the printing, and we had photographic contributions from lots of other photographers around Australia. This book is available to purchase now, it really is stunning! Additionally, we teamed up with our friends at Urban Dog Training and raised over $2,500 for Oscars Law with a special Christmas photo day. We also continued to work with and support other local charities in Queensland including our best friends at Peiradise, The Underdog Staffy and Bull Breed Rescue, Little Paws Kitten Rescue, Karma Cats, Wildlife Emergency and the Parrot Society of Australia. Altogether we spent many thousands of hours working with our charity friends, producing 2 books and 4 calendars as well as greeting cards and rehoming photos, and we are very proud to know we are making a tangible difference to many animal’s lives.
We photographed a record number of dogs, 1400 dogs posed for our camera in 2012 and I think we fell in love with every single one of them! Despite being going for nearly 7 years, we still get breeds that we haven’t photographed before and in 2012 we were privileged to photograph Field Spaniels and Borzois for the very first time. People also traveled a record distance to get photographed at Zoo, and we had a client fly her dogs in from Perth especially. We also had a client drive an 18 hour round trip with her cats and her dog to get photographed at Zoo, a couple came down from Hervey Bay which is a 600km round trip, and we continued to have lots of clients drive in from the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba. As well as people traveling to us, we also traveled interstate with trips to Melbourne and Sydney. We are so honored that people make such a special effort to get their pets captured forever by our photographer Ken! Big thanks and hugs to all our wonderful clients!
Ken had another great year for winning awards for his animal photography, and I think we can safely say he is now Australia’s most awarded specialist pet portrait photographer. He followed up his amazing wins in 2011 with winning outright the International Photography Awards pet photography competition, and also the Australian School for Wedding and Portrait Photographers pet photography competition. He once again won 3 Silvers at the Australian Professional Photography Awards, 3 silvers at the Queensland Professional Photography Awards, 3 silvers at the International Loupe Awards, and 7 silvers (including 5 photos in the top 25 Finalists) at the Creative Asia Awards. Finally, Zoo Studio were awarded Best Australian Pet Photographer at the Master Dog Breeders Association awards, an award we shared with our good friend K9 Kate from Perth. But we didn’t just win awards for our photography, Quest Newspapers made us their Number 1 business for customer service with their award for Specialist Retailer in 2012. As a result of all this industry recognition we received a fair number of media plaudits, including an interview on ABC Radio, Articles in Q Weekend and the Courier Mail, and we were asked to present a seminar to our photography peers at the Australian Institute of Professional Photography. Wow!
One particular bit of recognition we we were very proud of came from Nikon. Once they found out that we had decided to switch over to exclusively use their camera systems, they asked if they could feature us in their 2012 magazine and use our photographs to show off the abilities of their cameras. This is a huge honor and our photographs graced the cover and an 8 page interview inside the magazine. If you live outside Australia, keep an eye out for the iPad edition of the magazine that is due out in February this year. Out of all the millions of photographers who use Nikon cameras they wanted to use our photos, I think our neighbours can still hear our excited screams in their ears!
No wonder we finished the year absolutely exhausted! But we have had our break and are back at work, and we have so many exciting projects planned for 2013 I’m sure our blog this time next year will be even longer. Here’s to wishing you all the best wishes for a happy and successful 2013 for you and your loved ones.
Ken, Beck, Johnny and Julie