My First Year As a Pet Photographer

pake

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Teemu
First of all, thank you for the front page feature! Such a pleasant surprise to see one's photo there when coming to the forum. :)


Teemu, these are terrific! Well, I just help adding more SEO-points for your website :).

Cheers
Thanks! Much appreciated. :)

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.
Getting complimented by you means a lot to me. I REALLY enjoy your portraits (even the selfie ones :D ) so... Thank you! :drinks:

Nice work! You inspire me to come out of retirement - I'll think about it after this next nap.: )
Thank you! I hope to see some photos soon(ish? I guess it depends on the length of the nap...) then... :biggrin:
 

WaltP

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I was all set to get serious about picking up a camera to make money again. But the busy day got filled with pasta variations and suddenly I Iooked up and there is barely time for my evening nap before bedtime!! Maybe I'll try again tomorrow. Maybe. ;)

Still, a good idea. I found people here were more easily sold images of their pets than of themselves. Big canvases are really well suited to that work. As with people, expression trumps everything. But it is easier because Fluffy is "just so cute!"
 

WaltP

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Wow! Surprisingly, after a year, business is picking up again. Not sure when I will get time for photography again. Our state is hiring even more nurses to care for Covid victims, which means even more overworked people that need our services to cover the many needed naps they are missing. It's tiring work, but someone has to do vicarious naps for front-line medical workers. I started this service for busy young mothers, but when COVID hit, I switched over to covering for people working to keep us all alive.
It is a real honor to cover a vicarious nap for someone that is serving the public good. I am always looking for new volunteers in this service. Experience is required - you must be old and tired and searching for meaning in those brief periods of wakefulness.
 
Joined
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The first thing that comes to my mind after reading your post and viewing your images which were very good...

It looks like you are concentrating on portraits - meaning posed portraits. But you did have a couple action type shots.

This all reminds me of a forum I used to participate in years ago and a certain member. He would visit a dog park every day with his dog and got phenomenal candid shots of many dogs.

I’ve never seen any of these dog parks - I guess they are in more populated urban areas.

My point is - I really liked the candid shots. He captured facial expressions and action shots with the interaction of different dogs which was fantastic.

Along with that - I thought what an opportunity to promote your work than spending some time at a dog park. You could set up a little single stand with some of your portfolio prints while still keeping busy shooting the dogs. I would bet you would get some instant clients this way.

Just me thinking out loud.....

I actually found a couple of his threads with pics -

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/12-post-your-photos/257564-pets-happenings-dog-park.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/12-post-your-photos/251219-pets-personality.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/12-post-your-photos/249774-pets-more-dog-park-portraits.html
 

Hayath

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These are amazing, Teemu! Must've put huge smiles on the owners' faces
I'm sure you'll have a flourishing career as a pet photographer
 

pake

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My point is - I really liked the candid shots. He captured facial expressions and action shots with the interaction of different dogs which was fantastic.

Along with that - I thought what an opportunity to promote your work than spending some time at a dog park. You could set up a little single stand with some of your portfolio prints while still keeping busy shooting the dogs. I would bet you would get some instant clients this way.
Thanks for the tip! I actually do enjoy taking candid shots more so I will try this approach at some point. I have taken candid photos once or twice at some events and shared the photos with "you can pay a tiny sum if you're happy with the photos" message but no one has given me a single penny with that approach. But I guess it would be more of promoting myself and perhaps triggering people into asking me for a paid photo shoot.

But yeah, definitely a thing worth trying. :drinks:

These are amazing, Teemu! Must've put huge smiles on the owners' faces
I'm sure you'll have a flourishing career as a pet photographer
Thank you so much! I hope you are right. ;)
 
Joined
Nov 22, 2011
Messages
89
But I guess it would be more of promoting myself and perhaps triggering people into asking me for a paid photo shoot.
That was kind of my thought. If you could have your vehicle nearby set up a simple small display of images along with your name and contact info. Then I would just go about my business shooting - maybe even acting as if you are too busy shooting great dog shots to tend your display.

I would bet some people might approach you and others would write down your info and contact you at a later time.

I am a serious introvert and avoid talking to people at all costs. I especially won’t be forward in promoting myself or my work. That’s why I would have them come to me if they are interested. If nobody shows any interest no big deal as you are gathering more shots for your portfilio.
 

stevedo

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The first thing that comes to my mind after reading your post and viewing your images which were very good...

It looks like you are concentrating on portraits - meaning posed portraits. But you did have a couple action type shots.

This all reminds me of a forum I used to participate in years ago and a certain member. He would visit a dog park every day with his dog and got phenomenal candid shots of many dogs.

I’ve never seen any of these dog parks - I guess they are in more populated urban areas.

My point is - I really liked the candid shots. He captured facial expressions and action shots with the interaction of different dogs which was fantastic.

Along with that - I thought what an opportunity to promote your work than spending some time at a dog park. You could set up a little single stand with some of your portfolio prints while still keeping busy shooting the dogs. I would bet you would get some instant clients this way.

Just me thinking out loud.....

I actually found a couple of his threads with pics -

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/12-post-your-photos/257564-pets-happenings-dog-park.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/12-post-your-photos/251219-pets-personality.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/12-post-your-photos/249774-pets-more-dog-park-portraits.html

I took a quick look at those links. Given the angle of most of the shots I can only assume that the photographer was/is very short :)
 
Joined
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Messages
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I took a quick look at those links. Given the angle of most of the shots I can only assume that the photographer was/is very short :)
It’s one of those things that I try to remember myself - get down low, point the camera up - whatever it takes to get a different perspective.

It’s getting increasingly hard for me to get down on the ground and get back up as I get older - that’s why with my last camera purchase (G85) an articulating screen was a must.
 
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It’s one of those things that I try to remember myself - get down low, point the camera up - whatever it takes to get a different perspective.

It’s getting increasingly hard for me to get down on the ground and get back up as I get older - that’s why with my last camera purchase (G85) an articulating screen was a must.
Getting down is easy (but painful), it’s getting backup that is the real challenge.
 

rexv

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Really great pet shots that show personality and action! Think about approaching vets to place one or two shots in their waiting areas or elsewhere and put a little business card in a convenient place in plain view -- maybe offer the vet a complimentary shoot or two for his favor. I'm amazed about how much people love and will expend for their pets. Good luck!
 
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Excellent photos, not only in themselves but also because they show a variety you won't really see from established pet photographers. If I go by the ones I've watched on youtube and met in real life, 90% of photos are either single color background and few to no props in a studio, or the over-smeared forest background.

I'm not going to comment on what would be a viable commercial niche (if you can allow yourself to have a niche as a pet photographer) but most people can take decent photos of their pets with their smartphones. Where they really struggle is "action" photography - it's mostly way beyond their capacity skills and gear-wise. I have a whippet and there's nothing that excites me as much as watching her run and play. I'd jump at the idea of a professional photographer capturing her running and playing rather than sitting in a studio. When dog shows are allowed again, how about getting in contact with the breed clubs who arrange them and see if there is interest in some kind of "official" photography service.

Happy to exchange thoughts and ideas as I've often thought about this but most of all - good luck!
 

pake

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Excellent photos, not only in themselves but also because they show a variety you won't really see from established pet photographers. If I go by the ones I've watched on youtube and met in real life, 90% of photos are either single color background and few to no props in a studio, or the over-smeared forest background.

I'm not going to comment on what would be a viable commercial niche (if you can allow yourself to have a niche as a pet photographer) but most people can take decent photos of their pets with their smartphones. Where they really struggle is "action" photography - it's mostly way beyond their capacity skills and gear-wise. I have a whippet and there's nothing that excites me as much as watching her run and play. I'd jump at the idea of a professional photographer capturing her running and playing rather than sitting in a studio. When dog shows are allowed again, how about getting in contact with the breed clubs who arrange them and see if there is interest in some kind of "official" photography service.

Happy to exchange thoughts and ideas as I've often thought about this but most of all - good luck!
Thank you! Yes, I agree that looots of people (even with their phones) can capture good pet photos but the action stuff is something that "isn't for everyone". That is one thing I'm trying to specialize in. But I need more clients first. And it turned out that organizing a pet photography day in a local pet store did just that. So I will be organizing more of those to gain some clients and hopefully some reputation too. But I'll be posting a thread about that soon... ;)

And the dog shows is another good idea. We'll see if we can have those this summer in Finland... There's also quite a few agility teams in our region too so I've been thinking about contacting one or two of them and asking if I could come and photograph them training sometimes. Good practice and perhaps get someone to pay for those kind of "more challenging" photos.
 
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Awesome to hear that your pet store photography day went well! I can actually see the opportunity for professional photography as a really good reason to visit a physical pet store, as most of the stuff you can buy in a pet store is easy and cheap to get online. It would also boost the pet store to have some nice photos of their store - most you find on e.g. Google Maps are not really thought through or just randomly added by customers - so perhaps that's an upsell opportunity as well? I mean, you're already there and taking photos :)

Some other settings/venues that come to mind:
- Dog shows, as mentioned. You could create a very "controlled environment" - you can arrive early and set up a "booth" if it's indoors, or like a little area with both professional lights (if possible) as well as toys for action photos etc. if it's outdoors. Also approach the winners for some professional posing with their ribbons etc. - I think they have "real" photographers for that at larger shows but at smaller ones it's probably just someone helping out. Obviously there are good hobby photographers at these shows as well, but these usually just snap photos of their own dogs.
- Agility clubs, as you mentioned. Those will be really sporty and well behaved dogs, so kind of the best you can find :) I don't know the name in English, but here in Sweden we have "working dog clubs" (brukshundsklubbar) which arrange a wide range of activities like agility, nosework, heelwork to music... Lots of stuff. I'm sure many would love to have a good telephoto shot or two of their dogs in action.
- Dog daycare centers or professional walkers. Some of them are really big with 50+ dogs. Offering some nice portraits or action photos to dog owners when they pick up their dogs could be a great idea. I think you can also upsell to the daycare centers themselves, as these often just have crappy mobile phone pictures to show their premises and surroundings. My dog is in a daycare center and I know that myself and many others could make the final decision (choosing the right one is a big decision) on one over the other if there were great shots of the premises, the surroundings where the dogs are walked, some photos of activities etc. Would most likely pay off quickly for the daycare center.
- Dog adoption organizations. Not sure how it works in Finland but here in Sweden, only a few have actual large own premises (like www.hundstallet.se , site only available in Swedish meatballs unfortunately); most of them have dogs in foster homes until they find new owners. But if they do have their own premises I think it would be a nice pro bono thing to build your portfolio to offer to come and take nice photos of the dogs up for adoption.
- Regular dog parks. A nice photo or two maybe sent straight to their email, or just posted in Instagram? The most famous dog photographer in the world is likely The Dogist, https://www.instagram.com/thedogist/?hl=en , with 3.9 MILLION followers on Instagram.
- Dog owners often have local facebook groups. Join a few in the neighbouring areas and offer your services directly, or like "I will be at the local dog park at this date and that time." May attract some interest. Some groups may have rules against commercial offers in their groups though. In my local group of 100+ people it's totally fine.

Just some thoughts... :) Sorry if I'm already telling you stuff that is overly obvious but I have a dog and love to take pictures of her and other dogs so I think about this a lot :D I'm really thinking about mustering the courage of starting something like a very small and local The Dogist-type Instagram account.
 
Last edited:

pake

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Awesome to hear that your pet store photography day went well! I can actually see the opportunity for professional photography as a really good reason to visit a physical pet store, as most of the stuff you can buy in a pet store is easy and cheap to get online. It would also boost the pet store to have some nice photos of their store - most you find on e.g. Google Maps are not really thought through or just randomly added by customers - so perhaps that's an upsell opportunity as well? I mean, you're already there and taking photos :)

Some other settings/venues that come to mind:
- Dog shows, as mentioned. You could create a very "controlled environment" - you can arrive early and set up a "booth" if it's indoors, or like a little area with both professional lights (if possible) as well as toys for action photos etc. if it's outdoors. Also approach the winners for some professional posing with their ribbons etc. - I think they have "real" photographers for that at larger shows but at smaller ones it's probably just someone helping out. Obviously there are good hobby photographers at these shows as well, but these usually just snap photos of their own dogs.
- Agility clubs, as you mentioned. Those will be really sporty and well behaved dogs, so kind of the best you can find :) I don't know the name in English, but here in Sweden we have "working dog clubs" (brukshundsklubbar) which arrange a wide range of activities like agility, nosework, heelwork to music... Lots of stuff. I'm sure many would love to have a good telephoto shot or two of their dogs in action.
- Dog daycare centers or professional walkers. Some of them are really big with 50+ dogs. Offering some nice portraits or action photos to dog owners when they pick up their dogs could be a great idea. I think you can also upsell to the daycare centers themselves, as these often just have crappy mobile phone pictures to show their premises and surroundings. My dog is in a daycare center and I know that myself and many others could make the final decision (choosing the right one is a big decision) on one over the other if there were great shots of the premises, the surroundings where the dogs are walked, some photos of activities etc. Would most likely pay off quickly for the daycare center.
- Dog adoption organizations. Not sure how it works in Finland but here in Sweden, only a few have actual large own premises (like www.hundstallet.se , site only available in Swedish meatballs unfortunately); most of them have dogs in foster homes until they find new owners. But if they do have their own premises I think it would be a nice pro bono thing to build your portfolio to offer to come and take nice photos of the dogs up for adoption.
- Regular dog parks. A nice photo or two maybe sent straight to their email, or just posted in Instagram? The most famous dog photographer in the world is likely The Dogist, https://www.instagram.com/thedogist/?hl=en , with 3.9 MILLION followers on Instagram.
- Dog owners often have local facebook groups. Join a few in the neighbouring areas and offer your services directly, or like "I will be at the local dog park at this date and that time." May attract some interest. Some groups may have rules against commercial offers in their groups though. In my local group of 100+ people it's totally fine.

Just some thoughts... :) Sorry if I'm already telling you stuff that is overly obvious but I have a dog and love to take pictures of her and other dogs so I think about this a lot :D I'm really thinking about mustering the courage of starting something like a very small and local The Dogist-type Instagram account.
Thank you for your thoughts. Some of them I had figured out already but you have new tips as well so they're definitely welcome - and appreciated! :)
 
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Teemu, Another thought for finding venues with dog action could be searching for Disk Dog events and groups in your part of the world. As the weather begins to warm, the Disk Dog season is just beginning here in the US and probably there, too. Here's the link to a Facebook group that may help you discover some events and venues where you live.... https://www.facebook.com/groups/672173802863232

And still another thought for action events might be the sport of Dock Diving. Yes, there really is an international sport where dogs jump off a dock into a distance-measured pool to compete for prizes and titles! Can't point you directly to any Dock Diving groups (we are involved in the Disk Dog community here, so I was able to link that Facebook group for you) but searching Facebook or Google should reveal some.
 

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