My name is Erin McNulty and I’m a professional pet photographer in Melbourne, Australia. I specialize in relaxed and candid pet portraiture.  I have recently completed a fundraising calendar for Saffron on the Hill, a dog rescue group here in Melbourne. Creating a calendar is a huge amount of work but a very rewarding project, and I’m excited to share my experience here with you on Hair of the Dog.

This article is broken up into 3 parts; before you start, during the process, and finding a printer.  Please start by reading the first post in this series here, and the second post in the series here.  If you have any questions that I haven’t answered, I’d love to hear from you!

Finding a printer

This can be a daunting task. When choosing a printer, you don’t want to shop based solely on price but you also need to accept that you may not be able to use the highest quality available either. Before you started you should have discussed what the budget is and go from there.

Here’s how I approached it – we set the budget at around $4-5 per calendar:

  1. First, I approached all the businesses and labs that I have an existing relationship with. I explained what the project was, a bit about Saffron on the Hill, and what our budget was. All came back and said they couldn’t work within that budget but they could do X price. We also put shout outs on Facebook asking if anyone had any contacts within the industry. If this approach works for you, great! You can avoid the whole next step.
  1. I then turned to the almighty Google. I made a list of companies in our area that offered a good balance between quality and price. I also had a couple of requirements such as free shipping and having a hard copy proof included. I sent each one an email explaining what our project was and asking what the best possible price they could offer me. Eureka Printing came to the party with a price that was in our budget, with a great turnaround time and hard copy proofs. They also had fully customisable layouts which was very important to us. If you’re willing to use a template you will find you have more options.
  1. There are several very important things to check with your printer – What colour space do they use? DPI? Do they have templates you can download? What are their bleed margins? Minimum file size?
  1. Once you’ve uploaded and received your proof copy go over it with a fine tooth comb, and don’t be afraid to resubmit an image if it’s not exactly what you envisioned.
pet photography calendar

And a few final hints about the calendar itself

  1. Keep the layout simple and clean, and don’t try to cram too much in there! Avoid comic sans or wacky fonts, just let the photos do the talking.
  1. We included a page with the logos of local businesses that had helped Saffron on the Hill throughout the year. People were thrilled with this and it’s a nice way to thank everyone in one spot.
  1. Have fun doing it! I can promise you that there’s nothing more rewarding than holding the final product in your hand knowing that you’ve helped in a small way.
Thank you Erin for sharing your knowledge with us!  You can connect more with Erin on her Facebook page or through her website.