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#36249 - 09/03/11 02:39 AM New Business in Pet Photography. Am I good enough
debduco Offline

Registered: 10/10/10
Loc: Washington
Would love some thoughts on my photos and areas where I need improvement. Just started my own business, but haven't had many inquires about photo shoots yet. I am always working hard to improve my images and techniques. But some advice would be greatly appreciated!


Here is a link to my Dog Gallery:
Yellow Mutt Pet Photography Dog Gallery

#36251 - 09/03/11 02:51 AM Re: New Business in Pet Photography. Am I good enough [Re: debduco]
James Morrissey Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/05
Loc: Manhattan, New York, New York
Hi Debbie,

Welcome to the forum community! We are always glad to have new active members. I am with you - and I always like to try to find new ways to improve.

I checked out your website. You have a very varied range of photos, and I generally liked your portfolio of shots. I noticed it was mostly outdoor photos, which is generally different from how I do my work. Not better or worse, just different. smile

If you would like specific images critiqued, please feel free to share them and I will be glad to make a stab!

Manhattan, New York, NY Pet Photographer

#36253 - 09/03/11 01:42 PM Re: New Business in Pet Photography. Am I good enough [Re: debduco]
Peggy Sue Offline

Registered: 04/28/06
Loc: Illinois
Hi Debbie and welcome. Your work would be a nice addition to our forum. I like our perspective and use of space. Good enough? - that always has to be for you to decide. If you are looking to improve business skills and learn more, PPA is a great avenue.
Looking forward to you posting some images here. smile
Peggy Sue

#36257 - 09/03/11 03:34 PM Re: New Business in Pet Photography. Am I good enough [Re: debduco]
FretlessD Offline

Registered: 06/26/11
Loc: San Antonio, TX
Welcome to the forum. I wish you well in your business venture. Are you good enough? That is a question that is more suited for the "Shop Talk" forum. Your craft, business skills, networking, marketing, branding... all of these and a little bit of luck are necessary to a successful business. Your ability as a photographer is just one piece of the pie.

I like many of you images in your dog gallery. Like James said, pick a specific image and we will be glad to give you our point of view. In the short time I have been a member of this forum, I feel that it has been valuable and they are some really nice people here, too.


#36264 - 09/04/11 09:48 PM Re: New Business in Pet Photography. Am I good enough [Re: debduco]
Diane Offline

Registered: 02/01/07
Loc: Long Island, NY
Hi Debbie,

I'm kind of like you. Nature and wildlife photography is my passion, so I thought the leap to pet photography wouldn't be that different. Boy oh boy, was I wrong!! Mind you, I'm not a bad photographer. I hold my own when out shooting the natural world. In fact, I think I'm pretty respectable. But, pets offer a whole new set of issues.

1) As much as you think you've got a decent shot, the pet, like wildflife, doesn't care. The clients, on the other hand, have their own set of emotions, and they're the ones you have to please.

2) DOF and lighting are their own sets of new issues, wherein with wildlife, it's very different. Shooting pets is one interesting learning curve.

3) Like any shot, backgrounds will make or break an image. Pay attention.

4) If you can, have an assistant standing by to direct the animal. Owners are helpful. Sometimes. Be very explicit about what you want him/her to do.

5) From what I've seen here, a website, professionally designed, will go a long way towards bringing in clients. I've got a long way to go on mine, for sure. But, I did develop a Portfolio Gallery in my site, so that maybe a prospective client won't get bogged down with all my other stuff. That gallery has to only have your best work.

5) Develop a personal style. From what I've seen from the pros who post here, they've got individual styles that are fabulous. I sure don't have that yet. Someday.......

That's just starters for me. I'm looking to retire within 2 years from the National Park Service, and would like photography to supplement my pension. I've not given up on pet photography. On the contrary, I'm determined to learn this craft. In fact, I'd love to work with a pro to learn stuff, but right now, that's not a possibility. I'm still a 9-5 working stiff. So, I read a lot. I practice on gulls and cats and dogs, oh my!!! I've got a long, long way to go, for sure. Check out my Pets Gallery. You'll see what I mean. smile

Good luck with your business!!!
Diane www.dustydogdigital.com

#36285 - 09/05/11 08:30 PM Re: New Business in Pet Photography. Am I good enough [Re: debduco]
Jim Garvie Offline

Registered: 03/02/05
Loc: Florida
as others have said, yes, are you good enough of a photographer to take good pet photos? Yes. Are you a good enough business person to be able to run a pet photography business, market yourself and meet the needs and wants of your clients? Well, now, that's an entirely different set of questions. To be successful in this business you have to have skills that go far beyond being a great photographer. You have to have the technical skills -- the ability to create great images both inside and outside -- but also the ability to run a business. To be able to manage your cost side. To be able to generate adequate revenue. To be able to nurture client relationships and generate return sales. Compared to those skills, photography is a walk in the park for most of us with basic, solid photographic talent.

The good news is: those skills can be learned. But you have to be willing to invest the same (or more) energy in gaining your business skills as you have in developing your photographic skills. You'll need to invest: time, energy and, yes, money. You'll have to understand what your market is and how to reach them. You'll have to understand what your product is and how to price it. In short, in order for you to make photography your business, you have to have build your business skills to the same level as your photography.

Good luck. It's a great journey so enjoy it.

Jim Garvie

#36313 - 09/07/11 09:59 PM Re: New Business in Pet Photography. Am I good enough [Re: Jim Garvie]
goldenstarphoto Offline

Registered: 07/06/10
Loc: Sacramento, CA
Well, I definitely believe that you have what it takes to break into the pet photography business, and that is a love for animals.
I can just say "ditto" as to what others have said. For me, business jumped when I joined a golden retriever meetup group and started interacting with other pet owners. (yes, we own a golden retriever, so insert your own breed here) Volunteer, get to know other dog owners and things will begin to take off. You can find breed specific meetup groups at meetup dot com. We also volunteer our time and $$$ to local rescue groups. The groups in turn spread the word that we support them and then people started supporting us. Its not easy, but word of mouth advertising, coupled with great customer service is how any small business is going to survive these days.
Good luck!
Doug M

#36358 - 09/10/11 05:15 AM Re: New Business in Pet Photography. Am I good enough [Re: Jim Garvie]
Nicole St-Onge Offline

Registered: 06/21/11
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: jimgarvie
. . . you have to be willing to invest the same (or more) energy in gaining your business skills as you have in developing your photographic skills.

Well said Jim!

Debbie, I checked out your site and I liked it! Are you new to photography as a professionally or just new to pet photography?

#36412 - 09/13/11 05:52 AM Re: New Business in Pet Photography. Am I good enough [Re: Nicole St-Onge]
debduco Offline

Registered: 10/10/10
Loc: Washington
Photography has been a hobby of mine for about 20 years. I personally love landscape, macro, wildlife, and pet photography. About 1 year ago I decided to start my owner business, so that is still a work in progress.

I am pretty determined to succeed and wont quite until I do. Right now I have a full time job, but hope to one quit and do pet photography full time. So we'll see.

Thanks for all the advice. I plan on being more active of this site in the near future.

Here's a recent photo of my dog Amber:


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