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Guest Blogger: Peggy, Photos Before and After

August 10, 2011
Today’s guest blog comes from Peggy Mundell at DogBreedz, and she’s showing us how improving the look of a photograph will also increase its commercial appeal. Thanks, Peggy!
How to Tweak Your Photographs
to Improve Marketability


Marketability – the noun from marketable:  (1) Fit to be offered for sale, as in a market (2) In demand by buyers or employers; salable (definitions from The


Why is such an innocent word striking such fear and dread on the GCU Forum these days?  Don’t we all have just enough confidence to think that our work is already marketable?  We have our stores open, already!  Striving for an even better product is a natural part of our growth as artists.


We are lucky to have a partner like GCU to do the web presentation and promotion for us (I know it isn’t one of my personal strong suits in the business world).  Let’s face it … those GCU Artists who regularly check out the Forum and this Blog are already in the improving process – you are learning with every post you read, in one way or another.  YOU are the ones who likely don’t have to worry about the bar being raised in this respect!  I’m willing to bet that if no mention had been made of the improved standards, we probably wouldn’t have even noticed.


But all the words in the world won’t put an artist’s self-doubts to rest.  As an artist myself, I understand this all too well.  So let’s illustrate this with what I do best – photographs!


On my photo site I have put up five examples of photos that really aren’t so bad on their own – until I started to look at them with both an artist’s eye AND a seller’s eye.  I describe under each photo what keeps it from being something that I would consider for sale.  But still – something within those photos reached out to me and made me want to salvage them.  So I did!  The end result is also pictured and under that sample I describe what I did to turn it into the final result that was accepted at GCU and worthy of my signature. Find it here:


Peggy’s GCU Teaching Gallery
19 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2011 5:23 am

    Very good article, Peggy! Thanks for sharing your tips and encouragement. 🙂


    • August 10, 2011 2:23 pm

      Thank you, Cindy – sometimes it doesn’t take much to save an image – we just have to look objectively at our art to see when saving IS necessary, however!

  2. August 10, 2011 5:56 am

    Hey Peggy!

    I agree with Cindy – really good article! I have noticed a few posts on the forum expressing concern but I think your blog will make people feel much better about some of the changes.

    I think your quote “Striving for an even better product is a natural part of our growth as artists” says it all. I think we all do this but as you also mention, let self-doubt sometimes get the better of us.

    Wonderful job Peggy!!!

    Rach xox

    • August 10, 2011 2:25 pm

      Thank you Rachel. As artists first, business people second, it’s HARD to be self-critical, and when asked to be, we tend to be OVERLY critical and think we must be the worst artists out in our community – nature of the beast. I do hope that my before and afters will help calm those self-doubts and help inspire some folks.

  3. August 10, 2011 9:27 am

    A very positive post! I’ve been over to your gallery – great examples. 🙂



    • August 10, 2011 2:27 pm

      Thank you, Rosanne for your comment. I am glad that the examples were clear for you. I tried to choose image that might speak to many.

  4. August 10, 2011 11:57 am

    Peggy,Thanks for a great post! Love Bentley!

    • August 10, 2011 2:30 pm

      Betsy – I appreciate the comment! Bentley has such an expressive face – perfect to fill a card front with!

  5. August 10, 2011 2:24 pm

    Thanks for offering your wisdom Peggy!

  6. August 10, 2011 8:08 pm

    Thanks for the blog post. It was very informative and inspirational.

    I have a question. I was under the impression that in order to take a photograph of someone elses pet and use it commercially, you had to get permission. For Bently and the Poodle, did you have to get consent or was it implied because it was an AKC event where the animals are being videotaped and photographed anyway? Thank you!

    • August 11, 2011 3:23 pm

      HI Valerie –

      Great question! Regarding model releases for dogs – from a legal standpoint they aren’t required for proofing galleries nor for online sales, when taken in public (as opposed to paid studio sittings). They are also not legally required for “trade magazine publication” although when I do submit to Dog Fancy and Brown Trout Calendars, I do prefer to have a release on file, just as a standard business practice (it also helps me to contact the dogs’ owners to let them know that their dog is being published). See: for more information. But if I’m taking a picture of a current day version of Lassie, then I DO need a release because Lassie is tradmarked. FYI: for a dog it is a property release, rather than a model release (I still use the terminology model release with my dog parents tho, I like the sound better!)

  7. Cathy Gangwer permalink
    August 11, 2011 1:02 am

    Thank You, Peggy for the reminder and the post!

  8. August 11, 2011 10:26 am

    This is a great way to show the process. Your ideas and work are an inspiration!

    • August 11, 2011 3:24 pm

      Thank you, Sandy – I hope I left folks with the impression that YOU can do it too! Marketability will soon be a word we all embrace, rather than run from!

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