My First Year As a Pet Photographer

pake

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
2,472
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.

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


49868792318_62f7dac168_h.jpg
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Titta - EM508619-2_b&w by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


49911654356_57b2390490_h.jpg
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Viehku & Maija - EM510933 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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Luna - EM518080_4x5 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


49932617023_f699c20138_h.jpg
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Rambo - #skeittaavakoira - EM518414 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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Carlos - EM520941 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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Carlos - EM521908 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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EM525065 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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Carlos - EM525835 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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EM526312 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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Nelli - EM527364 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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Jalo - EM528356 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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Vida - EM528624 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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Vida - EM528876 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


50790510991_28b3029035_h.jpg
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Max, Malla & Viivi - 092-EM521183 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


50798772361_585e0a06d5_h.jpg
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Max - 159-EM521628-vintage by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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Vilma - EM5A4022 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


50758015992_83adf09d01_h.jpg
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Pätkis - EM5A5120 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


50761864102_39b2e1d9ef_h.jpg
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Paco - EM525381 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


50770457817_6c0c7b9db6_h.jpg
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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
2,472
Location
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.
 

pake

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
2,472
Location
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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Jan 7, 2020
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Brian
@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
335
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
270
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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 868682 Titta - EM508619-2_b&w by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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


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


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


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


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


View attachment 868688 EM525065 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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


View attachment 868690 EM526312 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


View attachment 868700 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...
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
1,608
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 868682 Titta - EM508619-2_b&w by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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


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


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


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


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


View attachment 868688 EM525065 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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


View attachment 868690 EM526312 by Teemu Paukamainen, on Flickr


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


View attachment 868700 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...

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

Mu-43 Rookie
Joined
Jan 19, 2021
Messages
11
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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