If you landed on this post, you are seriously thinking about how to properly start in photography business… In this article, I will try to orient your mind on the Must-Have Checklist for the Pet Photography Business and avoid many mistakes that will affect your time-for-succeeding.
If you’re a newbie in pet photography, feel free to take a look also to my Must-Have Setup to Start in Pet Photography and buy properly, investing your money in a profitable way.
🔔 please note that this post may be long and full of informations, so pin the following image to have a further eye on it; also, it may contain affiliate links so be sure to read my disclosure before proceeding.
When I first started my travel into Pet Photography business, I was lost on the correct way to build my reputation.So please make sure also to subscribe my Newsletter to stay updated on all the tips I provide in this Blog.
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By subscribing, immediately you will receive my FREE Lightroom Preset to edit in a quick mode your pet photos, in a super professional look, and make your pictures shine on all your Social Medias (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and… the sky’s the limit!).
And this is one of the items that The Must-Have Checklist for The Pet Photography Business contemplates…
If you want to buy the full version, you will find it here, on my Etsy Shop!
So, to dive into the matter, during my first period in pet photography I wasn’t sure what was to be done first and spent a lot of time fixing what I did because there weren’t resources out there I could find that gave me a simple checklist on what to do…
Just keep in mind, You Are Not Alone here!
Below is a list of things that will help you if you’re just starting out OR if you want to see if you have some important things checked off your already growing business in pet photography.
Feel free to print out this or pin it for further reference and check off as you work down through it. Also, if you have some suggestions to add please feel free to do it below in comments; I would be very welcome to read your reply!
Free Pet Photography Business Check-List
- Develop your business in your chosen niche (pet photography is made of a wide range of applications – for example, you can specialize in portraits, in-studio photography or in landscapes with dogs…). This will answer so many questions along the way from policies, to branding and more so please take the time to really write down who you will be in pet photography.
- Learn to shoot in manual if you’re not already. This is so helpful for learning how to showcase your “style” of shooting.
- Choose your business name carefully. Remember this is your brand, choose it with great thought. I myself made the mistake of jumping into my first attempts with a name I didn’t like later.
- Get legal with LLC or other. You can also read this Tutorial on how to set up an LLC (click here).
- Get a business/sales license & EIN (or VAT code if you’re not in US).
- Set up a business bank account, you will need your EIN for this.
- Talk to an accountant to understand Sales Tax and other applicable taxes according to your Country.
- Have a logo designed. Spend time on this as it is the face of your company and brand recognition (I did it myself and I’ll be really happy to help you in doing this with some experience I have in graphic design, so if you need a logo, simply email me with your request and I’ll send you a sample and the quote for it!).
- Choose company color / theme / brand, your identity. Jot down who you are on paper, what makes you unique, what you love, get ideas about the real you – because you truly will want to change it later if it doesn’t match your inner self.
In addition to this, there are a few steps that are truly essential to properly start and this is your public image!
Purchase a URL or Web Address
And here comes the principal part of our lovely business… you will surely want to have a website where to show your typical work and your galleries, or simply where to start a Blog about your agency and what you do as a pet photographer (mine is an example, where I post both my Blog ideas and my galleries, achieving public and potential clients…).
Depending on your area, you will want a .com or a .eu domain name, or simply .blog like mine, that is a cheaper extension but reminds your visitors about the aim of the website too…
Here is a very useful tool to check if your ideal website name is available for registering and then for buying the domain name (check the details below because I’m going to share with you a special offer…).
Search if your Domain Name is available on Bluehost
Bluehost is the perfect platform for new bloggers or a start-up agency. They have hosting solutions as low as $2.95 per month and offer a FREE domain name.
With the following search box you can directly check if your ideal domain is available and go registering through my offer:
This way, you will be lead through a very simple process to start your online blog or website about pet photography.
Setup Your Website
Once you’ve registered your own domain name and a hosting package (I suggest to start with the cheapest solution, you’ll be always in time to upgrade while your business grows…), you will have to install WordPress and choose a theme for your website.
I picked up Ashe Theme and since I started never changed it because I feel it is very good looking and Google Ads ready (it’s really good for monetizing your blog or website while you show your work to customers and clients).
Ashe theme has a fully customizable appearance and it is responsive. With this powerful WordPress theme, you can build Personal or Multi-Author blog websites. It is very easy to use and user-friendly. With the WordPress Live Theme Customizer – a real-time Theme Options panel you can create your own, unique design. Multiple Blog page variations with cutting-edge Featured Posts Slider, Promo Boxes, Instagram Footer Area and many more are guaranteed to WoW and Inspire!
This theme has different layouts to choose from, so you can be sure to be original with every chance of customization.
Set up a professional email address
The typical example is email@example.com and that is usually accomplished by your website hosting company.
Every website must have three dedicated email addresses:
- info – for general informations;
- mailing – for your newsletter options;
- support – for every customer question regarding your services.
Set up an Accounting Worksheet
This one is very useful for tracking sales, purchases, miles, net profits and more.
I worked at one that is very useful for pet photographers. Soon this one will be available for sale on my Etsy Shop, professionally edited to fit Pet Photography needs and items.
Or, you may want to have a sample copy for FREE… It is possible by subscribing my Newsletter and you will have it directly downloaded after subscribing process.
Develop a List of Sessions
You may want to set different pricing to different types of shooting sessions or type of dogs, breeds, locations and so on…
So you better to offer a price list that is clear to anyone willing to hire you as their official pet photographer.
Think of what you’re willing to offer and what works best with your company projects.
🔮 IMPORTANT PRO-TIP: never over promise delivery times when answering your clients requests. You never know if you will be able to work in nightshift to finish in time.
The pricing list is fundamental: please do not do this without figuring in ALL your business costs or you will quickly be out of business and in debt.
Plan your timeline from session date to finished product. It will also be useful to purchase a planner to help you organize your business, goals and success.
Develop Business Policies & Processes
This has to include digital images policy, retainer, ordering, cancellation, scheduling, product delivery and so on…
This is a very important item! Take your time developing this, cover every single aspect of the matter. It’s easier to refer back to if your client becomes confused with the process if you can point them to documents you both signed or looked over.
Have a Photography Contract
This must be drawn professionally and according to your State Laws. It depends, so, on uses and costumes of this business in your living country, so it’s better to check for a consultation from a legal-side professional.
As a starting guideline, here are 11 things you should think about including when writing a generic photography contract.
- Contact Information for you and your client – name, address, email, phone
- Start/End time and date
- Payment Terms – pricing, payment schedule, deposits, retainers…
- Extra Fees – travel, second photographers, permits, late payments…
- Deliverables – what you and your client will deliver, and when
- Cancellation Policy – what you’d be responsible for, a refund of deposit…
- Image Rights – copyright ownership, transfer of usage rights, time period…
- Model Release – one for each person shown
- Image Copyright – who owns the copyright to the images, is the client able to edit images…
- Liability Limitations – the inability to perform a job, loss of files, acts of God…
- Signature Blocks – one for each page of the contract
You may also want to read my article about setting up a Limited Liability Company here…
Do you need more details on the Photography Contract?subscribe my Newsletter to get notified when I am going to publish the article “How to Write The Perfect Pet Photography Contract“
Other Fundamental Steps to Take in Account
As you surely noticed, starting a Pet Photography business is not a relaxing walk. It’s a job. And if you don’t want to invest your money ending up with no revenue from your investment, it’s better to follow these suggestions step-by-step, or you will end up losing the bet…
I remember I myself decided to write every effort down (and this post is the final result of that “ray of light” into my mind) when a client came to me and asked: “How much do you take for a picture of my own dog?“; I answered and she jumped on her feet saying “What??? For A PHOTOGRAPH??? My daughter’s phone does it the same…“.
Do you think she understood what that price was covering? Here it is why I noted every effort and decided to share it with you, that probably are experiencing the same reaction from your potential customers…
So here some additional (and important) things to do:
- Develop digital file back-up schedule and plan
- Set up a business insurance
- Find your niche and investigate on how much it’s requested in your area – first of all, if you shoot at everything you will never be recognized as an expert in a field; secondly, do some marketing research in your local area to know where your target customer is and what they’re searching for
- Develop a short-term marketing plan – how much are you willing to spend in the current year for your photography setup?
- Plan your marketing strategy through your blog posting and social sharing
And this is only what it comes immediately to my mind to suggest… but I promise to improve this article with further ideas about the complete check-list of the good pet photographer really soon.
In the meanwhile, if you have suggestions to add or a matter you want me to write about in my blog, feel free to suggest it by commenting here below.
Share this article if you think it’s useful.
See you in the next one,