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Pet photography biz #37384
11/17/11 10:59 PM
11/17/11 10:59 PM
Joined: Oct 2011
NE Arkansas
K
K.B. Photography Offline OP
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K.B. Photography  Offline OP
Tracker
K

Joined: Oct 2011
NE Arkansas
For those of ya'll that decided to get into the pet photography as a business (whether it's just a little side mone or full time)... what steps did you take to get your foot in the door and get yourself known in your area?

Re: Pet photography biz [Re: K.B. Photography] #37397
11/18/11 05:44 PM
11/18/11 05:44 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Jim Garvie Offline
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Jim Garvie  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Kevin,
my evolution into "pet" photography is a bit unconventional: I was working as a commercial photographer to support our ad agency's clients. Then, we got a show dog -- a Rottweiler. And the first thing I noticed is that the show photographers -- shooting medium-format film at the time -- were incapable of exposing both the judge and the handler as well as a black dog properly. So, naturally, you'd have these great shots of the judge and handler with this big, black blob.

This was in 1999 and digital was just starting to become affordable. I discussed the issue with a friend of mine who also showed Rotties and, together, we developed a business plan to get into the show photography business. We bought two Canon D30's with all the accoutrements including 28-70mm zooms and 70-200mm zooms and started pitching the local All Breed Clubs. Once we got our first few gigs, it became clear that we could get great exposures of dogs plus the people, including black dogs. Of course, our PhotoShop experience with our Agency artists didn't hurt but we also knew how to light the dogs. Then, in 2002, we got the contract for our first American Rottweiler Club National Specialty, the first of 8 Rottie Nationals, and our reputation as show photographers was pretty well established.

The show photography, led to photographing these same dogs for advertising in the major All Breed and Breed Magazines and since we could also design the ads, that became a major piece of business. And advertising portraits brought in pet portraits which has become a relatively small but important part of our business. As breeders, we also have a lot of "pet" clients that come to us for their Holiday portraits simply because we bred their puppy. And since puppies you breed never forget, we tend to have excellent rapport with these guys and get some really nice stuff that isn't always possible with dogs that don't know you.

As I said, my path to pet portraiture has been pretty unconventional. I've been a professional photographer for over 40 years so it was really a matter of where I wanted to focus my energy and pets -- primarily dogs -- have been a central part of our lives for over a decade.

I hope folks like Julie Poole respond to this post because they can share a path that is more conventional and, especially in the case of Julie, far more successful in terms of marketing approaches and use of social media.

Jim


Jim Garvie
www.jagphoto.biz
Re: Pet photography biz [Re: K.B. Photography] #37447
11/22/11 05:41 PM
11/22/11 05:41 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Canada
Nicole St-Onge Offline
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Nicole St-Onge  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2011
Canada
Hey there! I studied photography and journalism in College but ended up working in printing and publishing. When I got married in 2009 I had to move away from my job at a publishing house and I found myself working at the Wal-Mart Portrait Studio. (lol Ė donít ask). My wedding photographer offered me some work as her assistant and I returned to night school to update my photography knowledge.

My career as a wedding and portrait photographer was short lived. It was Christmas 2010 that I posted some photos on my Facebook of my pets and I got a call from another photographer with a referral to do some pet photography. It was then that the little light bulb clicked in my head and I knew that pet photography was the path I wanted to follow.

Iím still working on building a client base but Iím confident that I am on the right track. This Christmas season I have been given the opportunity to photograph in some Pet Valu stores. While I may have unintentionally undervalued myself and my services with this business opportunity, Iím hoping that I will be able to make connections with pet parents and store owners that will lead to business in the future.

Iíve also recently started working with some animal rescue groups. They have been immensely appreciative and great spokes people! Itís the best thing I have done so far to help promote my business.

Re: Pet photography biz [Re: Nicole St-Onge] #37448
11/22/11 05:49 PM
11/22/11 05:49 PM
Joined: May 2008
Virginia, USA
Jim Poor Offline
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Jim Poor  Offline
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Joined: May 2008
Virginia, USA
I started out in nature photography, but have always had a thing for our domestic buddies as well.

We adopted a dog from a local rescue, I started taking photo for other adoptable dogs. That grew into fund raisers and private sessions which split off into dog sports. The dog sports totally took over for a while until I consciously pushed the pendulum back towards portraits.

Re: Pet photography biz [Re: Jim Poor] #37875
12/30/11 01:19 PM
12/30/11 01:19 PM
Joined: Jun 2010
Portland, Or
NinaS Offline
Venturer
NinaS  Offline
Venturer

Joined: Jun 2010
Portland, Or
for decades I was a nature & wildlife photographer at semi-pro or advanced amateur status

then my daughter got into modeling about the time dslr's were becoming available, so I jumped from film to digital, spent days every week on pro fashion shoots, with some of the best mentors in the NW to challenge me

that evolved into shooting alot of models, fashion & fashion shows, but often, when on set, I'd find myself doing candids of the pets hanging around, pretty soon the pros were sending me their pets for portraits, and soon word spread.

when my hubby passed, I started doing a portrait booth at breed shows, but, around here there are 3 set in stone portrait photogs, and 4 show photogs for the two states, so breaking in that way would require a year or more of free apprenticing ... couldn't afford that, so snuck in the back door thru agility & other dog sports ... now I get majority of small dog specialties that pass thru our area, and more & more of the larger ones

in 08 I opened my 2000 sq ft studio where I do boudoir & pets non stop, plus it is a co-op, so other photographers pay me to share the space, and I don't have a huge overhead expense


I shoot Canon

PDXDogPortraits
Re: Pet photography biz [Re: K.B. Photography] #37923
01/06/12 08:59 AM
01/06/12 08:59 AM
Joined: Jun 2005
TN
Julie Offline
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Julie  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2005
TN
I started out as an equine photographer and that was all I was going to do. I had always been obsessed with horses, competed, trained, had a boarding business. And it was a nice way to make a little extra money with what I knew. I knew the timing, I knew what competitors were looking for and I really enjoyed it.

My whole path has been somewhat unexpected and sorta took on a life of its own. I shot a fundraiser probably before I was ready but, after three days of 10 hours of shooting for 3 days, I had learned A LOT.

The rest was a slow progression into a real studio business.


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