Some of you know me (well, know me "virtually") and some of you don't. Either way, here is a short back story. Been interested in photography all my life. Mostly only the technical aspect of it as opposed to the art of it, but still interested. I've been a member of this forum (with on-and-off activity) for a few years now and have learned a bunch. Lots and lots. I have tens of thousands of clicks on the D7000, tens of thousands before that on the D3000 and have slowly learned enough to be dangerous. Am I throwing my hat in the ring as a pro? Hell no. I'm nowhere near that level. I have a different goal in mind, and I hope that the good folks of this forum (and the not so good ones too) will help me along with it. Recently I lost my dog Hank. Hank was 11, lived a full life, and was a fantastic pup. It was only after he passed that I realized I didn't have any REALLY GOOD photographs of him. Sure, I had some snapshots, I had some of him posing for test lighting... but nothing I would consider REALLY GOOD. That's not going to happen with my new dog. Nope, my hard drives will overflow with professional quality photographs of that dog if it kills me in the process. Here's what I'd like to do. I've spend the last few years collecting gear. I have some lighting, I (now) have some decent glass, and I'm considering converting my garage into a part time studio. I would really like to help myself and my friends get professional quality images of their dogs (no cats or people, I hate them both equally)... and I have no shortage of friends with dogs who would gladly drink beer with me whilst I record the likeness of their pup. I don't think I'm that far off. I need some more gear such as backgrounds, maybe another strobe or two... I need a bit more practice with lighting, but I have the basic concept down, and I need a bit of practice in photoshop for post processing. I probably need a bit of advice on trying to get dogs to show up on film, well, because dogs. I've gone through the phase where I thought I could make money with my hobby, but I learned, and currently know better. This isn't about the money. First and foremost the reason I posted this in the aspiring pros section is that I aspire to produce professional quality images on a regular basis. I don't need to get paid for this (if it happens, it happens, I know how contentious of a point payment is here), I just need to have the knowledge and skill to do it. Here's what I was ask from the forum. #1. any tips on stocking a part time "studio" would be lovely. Right now I have a couple of strobes, a large handful of speedlights, some reflectors, a couple of backgrounds and other assorted stands etc. I'm looking into building a rig to hold muslin backdrops as well. That should all be done pretty soon. I'm also planning on building a fold away riser.. maybe 4'x8'x20" so I can get to "dog" level without laying on the ground. #2. over the next several months I would ask that anything I post in this "Aspiring Pros" forum gets criticized as if I were a professional, and make sure you pick all the nits. ALL OF THEM. I'm tired of producing mediocre images. I've shot a few keepers, but it's time to buckle down and stop playing grabass with this hobby. I will certainly remind folks of this desire any time I post photos for critique. I appreciate the knowledge of those of you willing to share it.