Obviously, I'm a dog lover (most pets actually) and I think that if I can work with subjects I like, it will show through. I'm also a nature photographer, but unless you are leading photo tours and teaching seminars the money is hard to come by in that world. Anyway I'm looking for advice on getting into the serious world of pet photography in as much as folks are willing to share.
I'll go first with what I have done so far and plan to do in the future.
I started by doing volunteer photos for the rescue groups that we adopted two of our four dogs from, then expanded to others. That gave me a few things:
1. Experience working with dogs other than my own
2. Experience with dogs that are not well trained
3. Experience with subjects from bubbly to terrified
4. Exposure (photo credit on the site, people visiting the events, etc.
5. An "in" I have agreements to eventually put flyers into adoption packages that will give discounts to folks who adopt.
I've had several folks ask me if I do private sessions so I am getting some results.
Recently, I began contacting other rescue groups in the area offering photos for adoption web sites as well as letting them know I'm available to do fund raising events (Ah, now I get to get paid and contribute back to the groups)
I'm running over 50% positive responses and most of those include the possibility of paid fund raising events. (one for 300+ dogs in September is booked already as well as a few smaller ones).
What I would like to do is expand into the world of breeders, dog shows and vets / pet spas.
I'm sure I'll run across someone from these target pools while at an event, but I'd like to take a more proactive approach. I've contacted a few pet spas directly with less positive results than I would like.
What do you all do to break in to that market?