Pets are considered as part of the family. As we capture the significant memories of our lives such as marriage, childbirth, baptism or birthdays, pet photography is used to acknowledge the importance of these wonderful creatures in our lives.
It does not matter if they are cats, dogs, tortoises, or guinea pigs, capturing that perfect image that reflects our love for these animals has turned into a booming business.
The business of pet photography has seen significant growth over the last several years. Pet photographers create beautiful images that celebrate the role played by these four-legged friends in our lives.
And unlike other genres of photography, pet photography can be done by anyone who is passionate and truly dedicated to working with animals.
Below are some facts that you need to know if you are looking to become a professional pet photographer.
Pet photography requires good photography equipment
Good photography equipment is key for any pet photographer. Such equipment is, however, pricey and there are several components that you need to be bought.
Not just one, but several digital cameras are needed as it is important for you to always have backup cameras during any photography session.
Other must-have photography equipment include reflectors, tripods, flashes, and different kinds of lenses.
Even though some shots can be taken outdoors with nature as a background, you will still need a backdrop material and stand for taking indoor shots.
Props might also come in handy for either case; they are often very useful when it comes to composing shots.
One thing you should never forget is to get toys and treats for the pet. It might not seem so but these two items are helpful in getting a pet’s attention.
The wrinkling sound of a candy wrapper, for instance, makes them prick their ears and focus on the camera.
You could also get a tape recorder with interesting noises to get the attention of the pet. In fact, using species-specific noises is one of the best ways of drawing attention from the pet.
The best pet photographers have experience
Experience is the best teacher and this is no different in pet photography. Months or even years of experience makes one more knowledgeable with the camera and comfortable around these friendly creatures.
But if that is not the case, you could take a few classes to learn about the basics. Another great alternative is to find yourself a willing mentor and become their apprentice.
You will need to learn how to use the different lenses, lighting, shutter speeds, angles, poses and flash to capture the most detailed images of your pet.
Unlike children, animals are difficult to photograph. Getting them to sit still for a shot might be challenging but you could think of something even better in the process.
You should willing to go with the flow of things. Embrace the unexpected moments and capture them in breath-taking shots. With time, you will get better and better and what you do.
Pet photography involves different services
Pet photography is wide and it involves several different services. First off, the photo shoot can be done at your own studio, a local park or client’s home.
The client is usually offered a photo package after the first meeting session and they decide what proofs they wish to get.
A pet photographer can also take pictures at pet adoption events, horse shows, and dog shows. Holiday shots with Santa are a festive favorite.
You might also take advertising shots for pet shops, breeders, groomers or trainers.
Another growing area of the pet photography business is equine photography. Those specialized in this subset take pictures at equestrian centers, breeding farms, racetracks, and horse shows.
Competition and conformation are among their top purchases.
There are different prices for different services
Some pet photographers charge a session or sitting fee, but most of their income actually comes from selling digital images or high-quality prints.
Prices might differ but generally, a photographer offers different packages at differing prices with prints of varying sizes.
Pricing can widely vary depending on the location, included options, and photographer experience.
For instance, one popular Chicago animal photographer offers a one-hour session for up to two pets, and you can pick two different locations.
The base fee is $300 and the photo packages run about $450.
Other photographers in different areas also have their own rates, cheaper or more expensive.
Your best bet is to get to know what pet photographers charge in your area for different packages and services. You can then reasonably price your services and packages based on your experience level and the area’s going rate.
Advertising is key for your pet photography venture
Advertising plays an important role in your new pet photography business. People should know you and what you do in order for your business to succeed.
Fortunately, there are several ways of getting this done. You can start by leaving business cards and flyers at any pet-related businesses, using Craigslist or phone directory listings or even taking out ads in lifestyle or pet magazines.
A photo session package could be a nice item to donate to a fundraiser. This is a good idea as you will not only be contributing to a well-deserving cause but also giving your business great exposure.
You could also come up with an arrangement with humane societies, local vets or restaurants to provide animal artwork to cover their walls.
Additionally, you might even be able to offer your shots for sale while on display, possibly leaving a part of the proceeds to the business owner. This is actually a win-win situation and will definitely bring the desired attention to your business.
Word of mouth and referrals also another great way of advertising. Be sure to offer some sort of incentive to your clients for referral and repeat bookings.
In conclusion, pet photography is rooted in the basic concept of creating lasting memories. As a photographer, capturing that perfect shot for your client should always be your main goal.