My First Year As a Pet Photographer

pake

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
2,414
Location
Finland
Real Name
Teemu
A bit over a year ago I noticed there were waaaaaay too many great portrait photographers in my home town and decided to focus on something else instead. The choice was pretty easy and obvious: pets. I have lived with dogs for over 33 years now and I've always felt "at home" around them. Not all the photographers have this advantage and I thought I should definitely exploit that. :)

So... I started asking for clients who would be willing to bring their dogs/pets to my studio and get free photos. In return I got more material for my pet portfolio. I think I now have enough material to showcase my competence and have started to advertise my work too (no paid ads though). Even though most of my pet photo shoots have been TFCD (ie. not getting paid), 2020 was the first year I managed to earn more money from photography than I spent on it! That's a huge deal for me. If I remember correctly the balance was around 200 EUR on the positive side but you gotta start somewhere, eh? :D Most of the income came from other shoots though and I the money from these pet shoots were only "peanuts".

I would like to think I could make another positive year in a row but I'm planning to buy the 12-100mm f/4 and the new 100mm macro lenses so I don't think I can earn enough to cover for those two purchases. But that doesn't stop me from trying! I do have a couple of ideas how to get more paying clients (e.g. pop-up photo shoots at pet stores etc.) and need to work hard to achieve the goals I've set. I've already spent weeks on optimizing my website to climb up in the Google rankings with certain keywords but still got work to do. Also, I've been more active on Instagram and started using Pinterest and other services to gain more visibility and linking sites/profiles/posts to my own website. It certainly takes a lot of time and effort and I do hope it's worth it.

So anyway... Enough with the chitchat and on with the show. Here's photos from all the pet photo shoots I did last year.

"Mila" (Rohmutassun Poppanen) - EM508204 (edit) by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Titta - EM508619-2_b&w by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Viehku & Maija - EM510933 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Luna - EM518080_4x5 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Rambo - #skeittaavakoira - EM518414 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Carlos - EM520941 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Carlos - EM521908 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


EM525065 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Carlos - EM525835 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


EM526312 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Nelli - EM527364 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Jalo - EM528356 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Vida - EM528624 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Vida - EM528876 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Max, Malla & Viivi - 092-EM521183 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Max - 159-EM521628-vintage by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Vilma - EM5A4022 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Pätkis - EM5A5120 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Paco - EM525381 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


Samppa - EM525690 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


If you want to see more, you can visit my website and see the current pet gallery at: Lemmikkikuvaus - Tampere. (Yeah, I know... A cheeky way to earn some SEO-points for my website. Sorry! :oops:)

PS. And I also know I need to cull my photo galleries more. I'm so terrible at it...
 

slmoore

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Feb 15, 2014
Messages
123
Location
Oklahoma
Nice work!

I remember about 5 years our church was doing free family photos w/ the goal to put in a directory. We thought it would be fun to bring our Westie (like your last pic) in with us (which was expressly allowed). What I didn't consider was how the flash would affect him. The photographer got one pic and then our dog was hiding behind the backdrop. I felt so bad. It was such a deal that even at home the dog would be cuddled up next to us, and then I would get my camera out to take a picture and he would leave the room.

I say all of that just to say there can definitely be lots of special challenges dealing with pets!
 

pake

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
2,414
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Finland
Real Name
Teemu
Nice work!

I remember about 5 years our church was doing free family photos w/ the goal to put in a directory. We thought it would be fun to bring our Westie (like your last pic) in with us (which was expressly allowed). What I didn't consider was how the flash would affect him. The photographer got one pic and then our dog was hiding behind the backdrop. I felt so bad. It was such a deal that even at home the dog would be cuddled up next to us, and then I would get my camera out to take a picture and he would leave the room.

I say all of that just to say there can definitely be lots of special challenges dealing with pets!
Thanks! I'm prepared for the "flash shy" models as well. I've been shooting in natural light (e.g. the last Westie pic), using LEDs and flashes. I prefer flashes but can work with what ever. :)

EDIT: And I learned something new after one of the shoots. If a dog has cataract (glaucoma) you should definitely think about how you use your flashes. I didn't know the effect they have on the eyes. Had to do quite a lot post-processing to get those eyes fixed in the photos.
 

Panolyman

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Joined
Jan 7, 2020
Messages
1,807
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Wild West Wales
Real Name
Brian
Yes Teemu, your clients must be delighted with those and I'm sure they'll be spreading the word for you. :thumbup:
And is that a Pembrokeshire Corgi I see in one of your shots?
 

pake

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
2,414
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Finland
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Teemu
@Erich_H, @demiro, @Kalifornier, @moonraker: Thank you, guys!

If it leads to work time being filled doing something that clearly interests you and gives you huge enjoyment - it's ALWAYS preferable to the alternatives.
Yes, I agree. And I do have to admit that I like it. I can think of worse ways to spend my time. :D

Yes Teemu, your clients must be delighted with those and I'm sure they'll be spreading the word for you. :thumbup:
And is that a Pembrokeshire Corgi I see in one of your shots?
Thank you - and yes, you are correct. :2thumbs: I don't think I've ever met such an easy model. He was so well-behaving and patient. He didn't move a muscle until he was given the permission to. Got dozens of good photos of him and he's welcome to my studio anytime!
 

Panolyman

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Wild West Wales
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@Erich_H, @demiro, @Kalifornier, @moonraker: Thank you, guys!


Yes, I agree. And I do have to admit that I like it. I can think of worse ways to spend my time. :D


Thank you - and yes, you are correct. :2thumbs: I don't think I've ever met such an easy model. He was so well-behaving and patient. He didn't move a muscle until he was given the permission to. Got dozens of good photos of him and he's welcome to my studio anytime!
Well, count yourself lucky you've still got all your fingers.
They're renowned as one of the snappiest dogs on earth.
Though our Queen seems to have managed OK. ;)
 

PhotoCal

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
281
Thanks! I'm prepared for the "flash shy" models as well. I've been shooting in natural light (e.g. the last Westie pic), using LEDs and flashes. I prefer flashes but can work with what ever. :)

EDIT: And I learned something new after one of the shoots. If a dog has cataract (glaucoma) you should definitely think about how you use your flashes. I didn't know the effect they have on the eyes. Had to do quite a lot post-processing to get those eyes fixed in the photos.
Good that this is brought up.

I don't think it's ethical to use artificial lighting (flash) on any animals, especially wild animals that depend on their vision for survival.
Using flash, I believe, is a form of cruelty. I've never used flash on any of my pets, either.

The animals don't benefit from having their picture taken.
 

doxa750

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
226
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KC USA and BKK Thailand
Real Name
Narin
A bit over a year ago I noticed there were waaaaaay too many great portrait photographers in my home town and decided to focus on something else instead. The choice was pretty easy and obvious: pets. I have lived with dogs for over 33 years now and I've always felt "at home" around them. Not all the photographers have this advantage and I thought I should definitely exploit that. :)

So... I started asking for clients who would be willing to bring their dogs/pets to my studio and get free photos. In return I got more material for my pet portfolio. I think I now have enough material to showcase my competence and have started to advertise my work too (no paid ads though). Even though most of my pet photo shoots have been TFCD (ie. not getting paid), 2020 was the first year I managed to earn more money from photography than I spent on it! That's a huge deal for me. If I remember correctly the balance was around 200 EUR on the positive side but you gotta start somewhere, eh? :D Most of the income came from other shoots though and I the money from these pet shoots were only "peanuts".

I would like to think I could make another positive year in a row but I'm planning to buy the 12-100mm f/4 and the new 100mm macro lenses so I don't think I can earn enough to cover for those two purchases. But that doesn't stop me from trying! I do have a couple of ideas how to get more paying clients (e.g. pop-up photo shoots at pet stores etc.) and need to work hard to achieve the goals I've set. I've already spent weeks on optimizing my website to climb up in the Google rankings with certain keywords but still got work to do. Also, I've been more active on Instagram and started using Pinterest and other services to gain more visibility and linking sites/profiles/posts to my own website. It certainly takes a lot of time and effort and I do hope it's worth it.

So anyway... Enough with the chitchat and on with the show. Here's photos from all the pet photo shoots I did last year.

View attachment 868681"Mila" (Rohmutassun Poppanen) - EM508204 (edit) by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868682Titta - EM508619-2_b&w by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868683Viehku & Maija - EM510933 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868684Luna - EM518080_4x5 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868685Rambo - #skeittaavakoira - EM518414 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868686Carlos - EM520941 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868687Carlos - EM521908 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868688EM525065 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868689Carlos - EM525835 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868690EM526312 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868691Nelli - EM527364 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868692Jalo - EM528356 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868693Vida - EM528624 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868694Vida - EM528876 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868695Max, Malla & Viivi - 092-EM521183 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868696Max - 159-EM521628-vintage by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868697Vilma - EM5A4022 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868698Pätkis - EM5A5120 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868699Paco - EM525381 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868700Samppa - EM525690 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


If you want to see more, you can visit my website and see the current pet gallery at: Lemmikkikuvaus - Tampere. (Yeah, I know... A cheeky way to earn some SEO-points for my website. Sorry! :oops:)

PS. And I also know I need to cull my photo galleries more. I'm so terrible at it...
Teemu, these are terrific! Well, I just help adding more SEO-points for your website :).

Cheers
 

jrsilva

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
1,584
Location
Portugal
Real Name
Jaime Silva
A bit over a year ago I noticed there were waaaaaay too many great portrait photographers in my home town and decided to focus on something else instead. The choice was pretty easy and obvious: pets. I have lived with dogs for over 33 years now and I've always felt "at home" around them. Not all the photographers have this advantage and I thought I should definitely exploit that. :)

So... I started asking for clients who would be willing to bring their dogs/pets to my studio and get free photos. In return I got more material for my pet portfolio. I think I now have enough material to showcase my competence and have started to advertise my work too (no paid ads though). Even though most of my pet photo shoots have been TFCD (ie. not getting paid), 2020 was the first year I managed to earn more money from photography than I spent on it! That's a huge deal for me. If I remember correctly the balance was around 200 EUR on the positive side but you gotta start somewhere, eh? :D Most of the income came from other shoots though and I the money from these pet shoots were only "peanuts".

I would like to think I could make another positive year in a row but I'm planning to buy the 12-100mm f/4 and the new 100mm macro lenses so I don't think I can earn enough to cover for those two purchases. But that doesn't stop me from trying! I do have a couple of ideas how to get more paying clients (e.g. pop-up photo shoots at pet stores etc.) and need to work hard to achieve the goals I've set. I've already spent weeks on optimizing my website to climb up in the Google rankings with certain keywords but still got work to do. Also, I've been more active on Instagram and started using Pinterest and other services to gain more visibility and linking sites/profiles/posts to my own website. It certainly takes a lot of time and effort and I do hope it's worth it.

So anyway... Enough with the chitchat and on with the show. Here's photos from all the pet photo shoots I did last year.

View attachment 868681"Mila" (Rohmutassun Poppanen) - EM508204 (edit) by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868682Titta - EM508619-2_b&w by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868683Viehku & Maija - EM510933 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868684Luna - EM518080_4x5 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868685Rambo - #skeittaavakoira - EM518414 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868686Carlos - EM520941 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868687Carlos - EM521908 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868688EM525065 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868689Carlos - EM525835 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868690EM526312 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868691Nelli - EM527364 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868692Jalo - EM528356 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868693Vida - EM528624 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868694Vida - EM528876 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868695Max, Malla & Viivi - 092-EM521183 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868696Max - 159-EM521628-vintage by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868697Vilma - EM5A4022 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868698Pätkis - EM5A5120 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868699Paco - EM525381 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


View attachment 868700Samppa - EM525690 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


If you want to see more, you can visit my website and see the current pet gallery at: Lemmikkikuvaus - Tampere. (Yeah, I know... A cheeky way to earn some SEO-points for my website. Sorry! :oops:)

PS. And I also know I need to cull my photo galleries more. I'm so terrible at it...
Excellent works! 👏👏
You got quality and I have no doubt that you will get more and more clients.
This is a kind of portrait I also like very much.
A dozen years ago or something I had in mind doing these kind of photo sessions, but then I've started to do people portraits and I love it even more.
Keep up the good work and keep sharing.
 

ChuckG

New to Mu-43
Joined
Jan 19, 2021
Messages
8
What a great idea. People love to have photos of their pets. I have a friend in Florida that used to bring her dog and have a bunch of seasonal photos taken to make into a calendar.
 
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