Pet photography is one of the most popular photography niches in which a photographer can combine his love for animals and photography. Just a decade ago, pet photography wasn’t as popular. Today, many pet owners want to have professional photographs of their beloved pets, which lead to this beautiful niche making a name for itself. And that’s why I decided to share this post called Pet Photography On A Budget: 7 Tips From The Great Depression.
For a photographer, it’s very important to be charismatic and to know how to work with the animals. Since animals can’t communicate with us by using words, the challenge to make a perfect photo is pretty hard.
Before indulging in this business, a photographer needs to ask himself if he/she really loves animals and is able to adapt to different scenarios. Every animal is different being and taking a photo of a dog isn’t the same as taking a photo of a cat, parrot, snake or any other animal. If a photographer loves animals, he then needs to find the right market to sell his work and speaking of the market, we’ll examine how much do pet photographers earn.
This post, possibly, contains affiliate links, so please make sure you read my disclosure for more infos about them.
How Much Does Pet Photography Cost?
This is the first question I get from my clients: Dog photography costs vary. Professional pet portrait prices can range anywhere from $500 to $5,000 per dog. Most amateur and student photographers charge much less, often charging as little as $250 to $500 per session.
Because of this extreme disparity in price, it is important to understand who you are working with and what they actually plan to deliver when comparing pet photography package costs.
How pet photo prices are calculated
As a general rule of thumb, prices depend on five factors…
- Skill and reputation of the pet photographer.
- Time spent on the session, travel, and edits.
- Quality, size, mounting, and number of prints.
- Photographer overhead for studio expenses, permits, and advertising.
- Market influences such as neighborhood affluence and median income.
To make things even more complicated, not all pet photography studios weigh those different cost factors evenly. When comparing the cost of different pet photographers it is important to compare the total investment associated with working with each company.
To have a good idea of these previous matters, make sure to read my posts about:
If these don’t help, well feel free to email me with your questions and subscribe to my newsletter to keep being posted about new blog releases.
Common dog photographer fees
As a general rule, the following are the main chargeable fees:
- Sitting fees and session costs.
- Costume, prop and set design or acquisition fees.
- Studio rental fees.
- Travel fees.
- Location permit costs (common for sessions held at national monuments or parks).
- Parking costs.
- Post processing and photo editing.
- Leash and collar removal.
- Compositing (common with multi dog shoots).
- Room and print mockups.
- Print costs.
- Framing and mounting.
- Gift packaging.
- Shipping and handling.
- Sales tax.
- Minimum print commitments.
- How much do you need to spend?
- When do you need to purchase by?
- What happens if your order falls short?
- Miscellaneous fees.
- Cancellation and rescheduling penalties.
- Clean up and damage fees.
- Image and commercial use licensing.
- Additional dog or human subject surcharges.
- Rush production and expedited delivery fees.
If you’re at your starting point, make sure to have an accounting cheat sheet in your hands. If you don’t have one, feel free to grab my free one that could suit your needs if properly adjusted:
How much money does a pet photographer make?
Animal photographers capture images of animals for use in commercial and artistic endeavors. They must have an eye for capturing balanced, interesting images of their animal subjects. They must also have knowledge of how to use various lenses, flashes, and other equipment to compensate for lighting conditions, weather conditions, and animal movement.
Again, make sure to check the following post of mine (it’s helpful, believe me, especially if you’re just starting out!):
The job generally requires the ability to perform the following duties:
- Capture professional-quality images of animal subjects
- Plan the composition of photographs
- Use professional photography equipment, lighting, and techniques
- Enhance images with photo-editing software
- Archive and manage a database of images
- Maintain a professional portfolio to showcase work and advertise to potential clients
Animal photographers can specialize by photographing one specific species or a category of animals such as wildlife, horses, or pets. There may be further specialization as a photographer finds a particular niche in their area of the industry. For example, an equine photographer might specialize in show, racing, conformation, or stallion photography.
Pet photographers generally work directly for owners at their request. They may work in a studio or visit clients in a convenient photoshoot location, such as their home or a local park.
Some animal photographers focus on supplying images to stock photo agencies. The photographer earns a commission when the stock agency licenses a client to use the image for a fee. Photographers may also choose to bypass stock agencies entirely and sell their own pictures directly for use in advertisements, magazines, or websites.
If you want to start like me, practice and send your first shots to some recommended agency:Many communities have groups or clubs for photographers. These clubs can connect aspiring photographers and seasoned professionals, as well as provide a forum for discussing new techniques and emerging technology in the field. Click To Tweet
Is Pet Photography Profitable?
Pet photography is a fun and profitable niche business that allows you to combine a love of animals with technical skills in photography. … A growing number of owners are interested in displaying professional photos of their pets, and they are willing to pay a premium for high-quality images.
Good photography equipment is expensive and there are many components you will need to purchase. You will need several digital cameras, as it is important to always have backup cameras during a session. Tripods, reflectors, and a variety of lenses and flashes should also be a part of your inventory.
Starting out?Grab these FREE Tips for a Cheap Beginning!
While some shots may be done outside with a natural background, you will also need a backdrop stand and backdrop material for indoor work. Props are often useful when composing shots.
Don’t forget to have treats and toys available to help get a pet’s attention. The crinkling sound of a candy wrapper often gets them to prick their ears and focus on the camera. You also might bring a tape recorder of interesting sounds to get the pet’s attention. Species-specific sounds are often the best bet for drawing attention.
If you do not already have a background working in photography, taking a series of classes to learn the basics is highly recommended. Local community groups or colleges often offer photography classes. Another option, if you can find a willing mentor, is to apprentice yourself to an experienced photographer.
You will need to know how to use lighting, lenses, flash, shutter speed, angles, and poses to capture the most detailed images possible of your subject. The animal’s expression and coat texture are especially important considerations as you compose your shots.
Animals are a lot like children in that they can be difficult to photograph. Be willing to go with the flow and take advantage of unexpected moments. You might not get them to sit still for a particular shot, but you could come up with something even better in the process.
The Best Camera for Pet Photography
Although I shoot the most action pet photography and here are some of my FREE tips about it, I do recommend to own at least two or three different cameras to better suit your needs.
For pet photography, the first and foremost thing that you need is a good camera. If you can choose the right camera for you, then it will be a thousand times easier to take good pictures of your adorable pet.
A classic and cheap model is Nikon D90, that still offers you some outstanding features like shooting HD videos including fantastic sound quality, live view and 11-point auto-focus. It provides you with some professional quality stunning features. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best cameras for pet photography. It is a user-friendly device. You can efficiently operate the functions and mode which may seem pretty difficult while operating other cameras.
This Sports camera takes good pictures under almost every condition. So for pet photography, it is a huge advantage. It has various AF- area modes to shoot or take pictures in different situations. Advanced scene mode is another magnificent feature of this model. Just keep the mode on and it will automatically optimize the image processing and picture control to get the best picture.
It is easy to capture pictures of nature, weddings, friends and any other thing. But it is quite tough in the case of pet photography. Sometimes people lose patience easily for pet photography and become frustrated. If the camera for pet photography is not compatible then it will become more irritating and even tougher than before. So you need a good camera which is compatible with pet photography. It is the first and foremost condition if you want to get bright, clear and high-quality pictures of your pet.
How do I Start My Own Pet Photography Business?
I am never tired about repeating this: starting a pet photography hobby can be a profitable business…
A pet photography business can be a great side gig or a business venture all on its own. If you want to start a pet photography business, start by establishing a studio and getting the right equipment. Market your business in pet-friendly locations so you can find clients. Work on creating high-quality work and pleasing your clients to grow your business over the years.
When photographing pets, you may be dealing with animals that are nervous, rowdy, or timid. An animal behavior class can help you learn useful skills that are vital to a career as an animal photographer.
- You can take classes online or at a local community college. You can also check to see if businesses like vet’s offices and animal shelters offer any classes on animal behavior.
- If a class is out of your price range, try purchasing books on animal behavior to teach yourself a bit about the subject.
As you start establishing your business, it’s important to narrow down exactly the type of services you’re providing. Decide if you’re providing portrait style pictures or outdoor shots and any extra services.
- Narrowing down the services you’re going to provide is often a matter of determining your capabilities. If you don’t have a room in your home with solid lighting, for example, you should probably advertise yourself as someone who takes outdoor photos of pets.
- Do you have any special skills? If so, find a way to use them to entice customers. For example, if you know printmaking, offer to print t-shirts with people’s pets on them.
You will need technical equipment, including a digital camera, tripods, reflectors, and various lenses for different types of shots. If you work indoors, you’ll need a backdrop to shoot against, as well as a backdrop stand. You will also need to invest in lights designed for photography studios if you plan to shoot indoors.
- For a camera, look for a DSLR camera and use a prime lens with autofocus.
- If you don’t know how to use your camera or other equipment, read the manuals carefully before getting started. You can also watch tutorials online or consider taking a photography class.
Do you Have to Have a Business License to Be a Photographer?
Make sure also to read my LLC Tutorial here, just in case you need it…
Make sure to get your licenses! In most jurisdictions in the United States, no professional license is required to run or operate a photography business; however, this is not the case in ALL jurisdictions.
Before digging into this, I suggest to go checking this article I previously posted, too:
For this specific matter, I recommend reading this article from Improve Photography to know more about it.
How Much Does A Pet Photographer Make?
The fact is that the average photographer does not make a lot of money. Most photographers make about $30,000 a year. Of course, top photographers can make hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. There are some photographers who top one-million dollars…
But the pet photographer plus a super well-built blog, plus a little experience earned with lessons and time, plus good advice from experts can do a lot of money!
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