Pointers for Starting a Pet Photography Business

child holding a puppy
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If you are good at a certain hobby, like photography, there’s no reason why you can’t make it work in your financial favor right now. Especially when people want gorgeous photos to post on their socials, there will surely be a market for people who want to have portraits taken—and all the more if it’s with their pets.

If you love photography and pets, why not start a small side business blending your passion for the two? Here are some pointers for starting a pet photography business.

Practice with your pet

Photographing animals will be very different from taking pictures of people, which is why you need to be as prepared as you can. Master the art of communicating with these fur babies by starting with your own pets. Here are some tips for getting your pets to warm up to you before taking their photos:

  • Consider hiring a puppy trainer to help your pet develop basic obedience and good manners.
  • Give them rewards for doing a great job posing.
  • Choose a time of day when you know they are most comfortable.
  • Avoid having new people around them when doing the photoshoot—the last thing you want is a fussy animal who’s anxious about new people.

Of course, every animal is different, so what soothes your pets might not always work with other pets. Read up on how you can help make specific animals comfortable with you before going to the shoot, and don’t forget to consult with their owners in detail, too.

Know the basics of marketing

Photography is one of those businesses that depend on a constant flow of clients. Here are some tips for marketing yourself well as a pet photographer:

  • Create a killer photography portfolio. When starting, it’s necessary to offer free photography sessions to people you know, especially if you’re building your portfolio and reputation. Make sure you think of creative ways to make your photos stand out—Pinterest photos may provide good inspiration, but if certain themes and concepts are overdone, make sure to stray away from them and think of ways to make them your own. Make sure you have at least these three things: A website, an Instagram account, and a few copies of a printed photo book that you can give away to anyone who might be interested in your services.
  • Understand the industry you’re in. This means you need to understand your direct competitors, how they operate and how you can provide services that are better than theirs. You also need to understand your audience and target market—what kind of content engages them, what platforms they spend the majority of their time in, and how much money they’re willing to shell out to have photos of their pets taken. In any business, knowledge of your competitors and industry is everything.
  • Make a name for your business on social media. Explore paid ads, create cute and engaging content that your followers will feel the need to share, and post consistently until you see your follower count and engagement growing.
  • Another way you can build exposure is by donating to a good cause. Consider giving a portion of your fee to an animal shelter to incentivize customers to choose your services over others.

dog on the floor

Accept that you’ll be doing a lot of cleaning

Once again, animals are not people. They don’t have the same manners that human beings usually do, which means you need to anticipate a lot of spills. Moreover, animals tend to carry bacteria, germs, and other harmful viruses that can cause diseases to their fellow animals, which renders sanitation crucial to your business.

When going to a set, make sure that you are prepared with the following items:

  • Pet-friendly disinfectant sprays
  • Paper towels
  • Cleaners for your equipment (cameras, lenses, stands, and others)

Consult with a veterinarian about the cleanest and safest cleaning products you can use in your shoots. It doesn’t matter where the shoot is happening, whether you’re outdoors, in a studio, your home, or the client’s—don’t forget to wipe everything down after you’re done.

Pet photography is not one of the more common types of photography. This means you might be entering an industry with room for more players and competitors. If you do well enough, you might even find yourself working for big corporations and agencies, not just individual clients. Build your portfolio, make yourself known on social media, establish a reputation for health and safety—and you might find success in this field.

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