Of Pets and Pics

A versatile portfolio will enhance your business’ publicity opportunities.

authors Janice Anne Costa | July 23, 2015

As a pet owner, I know it can be a challenge to balance the maintenance of claws, paws and constant shedding with the desire for a beautiful home. And, as editor of KBDN, I know many of our readers exercise enormous creativity in fashioning wonderful living spaces that accommodate all of the members of their clients’ families – including the four-legged ones.

So when I was asked to write a story about pet-friendly design for a very high-end pet lifestyle magazine, I knew it would be a great opportunity to show off what designers can do. I immediately contacted a few designer friends (fellow pet lovers) and told them about the article. The magazine’s readership – pet owners with an interest in lifestyle topics and a median income of $250,000 – aligned well with the designers’ clientele, and I knew this would be a great opportunity for them to get some free publicity.

All I needed was a great home design project with some pet-friendly amenities and photos that featured pets.

Everyone I spoke with told me about the wonderful projects they’d done for families with pets – with great features from built-in dog feeding stations and cat beds to a bathroom done with perches designed specifically to fit the family’s pet lizard. But as they each looked through their portfolios, they realized they had no photos with actual pets in them.

“I can’t believe I never thought of this before!” exclaimed one, lamenting what she saw as a missed opportunity, and vowing to rethink her photo sessions before she planned her next photography project.

Photography is one of the most important investments a designer can make – projects show off not only what you’ve done, but also the kind of creativity you’re capable of. Those photos can be used for everything from your Web site and social media sites to advertising materials, design competitions and publicity in magazines or online sources.

But many times, publicity opportunities come in unexpected places. Consider the following:

–A stunning open-plan kitchen with a baby playing on a designer vinyl floor might be perfect for a parenting magazine doing an article on child-friendly design.

–A new kitchen showcasing a beautiful window herb garden might be a good fit for a Web site on organic living.

–A fabulous design with a kitty enjoying a built-in padded cat bed tucked into the island or a dog being bathed in a pet area off the laundry room or mud room could end up being a terrific spread in an upscale pet magazine.

Pitching magazine editors or Web sites outside of the design arena with a story that combines design with another topic may also create new avenues for reaching potential clients.

Additionally, there’s something to be said for having photos that are not only aesthetically appealing, but that also have the “cuteness” factor. An adorable puppy makes a design look warm and homey…and there’s a reason all those cat videos get so many “likes” on Facebook. So when showcasing your designs, don’t forget to take some pictures with the pets! They’re great social media magnets, and will make your clients smile.

Most of the time, you get only one chance to photograph a project. Before you do, consider all the angles – literally and figuratively! A versatile portfolio will enhance your business’ publicity opportunities.

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