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"Say Cheese!"  Pet Photography

For people who treat pets like children, having nice photos of their four-legged family members is a no-brainer.  Such photographs are often prominently displayed.  But it's NOT easy (or accepted) to bring a dog or cat to a typical photography studio, which is where YOU come in.

What a Pet Photography Business Involves:
You'll be taking photos of pets, digital as well as traditional.  It helps to have your own studio (or access to one - you can rent them), but taking photos at your client's home or in public places like dog parks is faster and cheaper.

Knowledge or Skills Required:
You'll need a professional (35mm) camera and appropriate lighting, as well as the skills and experience to use them properly (you can often take photography courses inexpensively at community colleges).  You'll need a place to develop prints or a larger facility to use for that task.  If you use a digital camera, too, you'll also need a high-quality color printer.

And yes, you'll need patience and a love of animals.  Having photos taken, especially in unfamiliar surroundings, can make pets very nervous.  If you get upset or impatient it will only make matters worse.

Advantages:

  • Can be started quickly if you have suitable equipment on hand, especially if you don't take photos in a studio

  • May not be much local competition

  • If you don't set up a studio in your home, you don't need to maintain a home office or worry about the hassle and liability of having pets in your house.
     

  • While many pet owners will want photos taken on a weekend, you do have the flexibility of working when/where you want.
     

  • It's fairly simple to create additional income sources based on your pet photography business.  You can take stock photographs that you sell to advertising agencies or clip art outfits.  You can add photos of pets to all sorts of merchandise - mugs, t-shirts, mouse pads, for example - for additional profit.

    Disadvantages:

  • You'll go through a LOT more film to get a decent photo of a pet, so you have to charge with that in mind.  And processing and printing can get expensive.
     

  • If you don't set up a permanent studio, you have the hassle and expense of moving and setting up equipment for every shoot

    Resources for More Information on Starting a Pet Photography Business

  • Still searching for specific information on PET photography, but here's a great book on photography as a business in general.

    Comments/Ideas:
    Try to sell packages of prints (say, $200-300 range) rather than individual photos. 

    A good way to get started is by doing joint ventures with other local pet businesses and handing out business cards at shelters and pet stores.  You can often get some great publicity by volunteering to take photos at pet shelters or pet fairs.

     

    Profitable Photography
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    Digital Photography Business