How to Start a Pet Photography Business

Michele Wanke
Get tips for taking precious puppy pictures before you start a pet photo business.

Once you learn how to start a pet photography business, your dream of combining your love for animals with your passion for picture taking can finally come true.

About the Pet Photography Business

Professional pet photography businesses blossomed in the early 1980s as more pet owners desired eye-catching portraits of their beloved animals. Pet owners are a loyal bunch. They adore their four-legged pals as much as they do human friends or blood relatives. Not surprisingly, owners of dogs, cats, bunnies and turtles are willing to shell out good money for stunning shots of Kiki and Kodi. Your job as a pet photographer is to deliver high-quality images, in order to ensure today's customers will remain with you for the duration of your time in business.

The First Step

Before you start pouring money into your pet photography venture, it's important to conduct a bit of research. Examine your local market for excessive competition. If you live in a smaller community, there may be only a few professional pet photographers in business. To ensure your start-up is successful, there must be enough pet owners in your area willing to use your services. If you live in a larger city with countless animal lovers, your chances of maintaining a lucrative pet photography business are much greater.

Another good way to get started is by joining forces with other local pet businesses. Design professional-looking business cards and hand them out at shelters and pet stores. In addition, you might be able to score some much-needed publicity by volunteering to take photos of people's animals at the park, pet shelters or pet fairs.

Tips on How to Start a Pet Photography Business

Cute cat shots sell.

Once you've completed your research and devised a business plan, you can move forward by addressing the following items:

Equipment

A reliable high-quality digital camera is essential in pet photography. Once you start shooting clients, you will discover that investing in an above average camera will help your business grow. Your finished product will speak volumes for your skill level. What's more, you can't expect your clientele to grow if your photos are less than ideal. Other equipment you might consider purchasing include:

  • Studio lights
  • Tripod
  • Lens packages
  • Props
  • Mobile backdrops
  • Professional photo editing software

Skill

You should be at the top of your game when starting a pet photography business. Meaning you should be well versed in basic photo skills such as:

  • Lighting: It's best to shoot pets in natural light.
  • Poses: Make your subject as comfortable as possible to ensure a frame worthy expression.
  • Background: Keep the background as simple as possible to avoid losing focus of your animal subject.

It's also important to know as much as possible about your subject. Being familiar with dogs and cats is a good start, but you should also do research on livestock, reptiles and birds, so you will know how to bring out the best in them should you be hired to take their photo.

Image

Specialist pet portraiture studios are springing up all over the world, which means you need to have a stellar image to attract new customers. If you are a phenomenal photographer who truly enjoys interacting with animals, then you should have no problem attracting clients and gaining repeat customers. If a pet owner recognizes that his pup is comfortable with you, he won't think twice about using your services again.To cultivate a professional image, consider the following:

  • Studio: It's important to maintain a clean work environment. Keep your photo studio fresh and void of animal odor. Offensive scents are distracting to pets and will make your shoot much harder.
  • Portfolio: Compile a portfolio of your best photos as proof of your experience and what you can provide for potential new customers.
  • Personality: How you handle difficult pet shoots will illustrate your true character. Some pets are extremely easy to photograph, such as lazy lizards, while others are incredibly challenging, such as energetic puppies. Practice patience with the pets you are photographing and their owners. Doing so will yield excellent results in the end.

Final Tips

Once you learn how to start a pet photography business, you have a genuinely good shot at making a viable income. Just remember to practice safe shooting. Animals are unpredictable and you should never put yourself in a position that compromises your health or well being.

How to Start a Pet Photography Business