Do you want to start a pet photography business? If yes, you are in the right place. Here in this article, you will find all the steps to build a profitable pet photography company.
Pet photography is most suitable for pet lovers with a passion for photography. It is a fast-growing and super fun genre of photography.
Many people want to celebrate animals and the role they play in our lives. Every owner of dogs, cats, reptiles, birds, and fish can all be your potential customer. Providing high-quality portraits at competitive pricing is the key focus area of this business.
You can offer a range of services such as Portrait sitting in the studio, in the client’s location, or in an outdoor location. One can also offer pet videotaping services, complete with music, titles, and special effects. Full-time or part-time, operate the service on a mobile basis.
11 Steps to Start a Pet Photography Business
1. Is Pet Photography Business Right for You?
First thing before actually jumping into the photography business, it is essential to check whether you have the qualities required to run this business. Below, we list down some of the aspects that will work as a big plus:
Pet-loving attitude: Are you really a pet lover? Pet photography is messy, dirty, and at times incredibly frustrating work. You need to be comfortable with being jumped on by Great Danes, pawed by pugs, and scratched by cats. You also need to be exceptionally patient.
Location Matters: Your operational area matters. Check the pet population and general attitude towards the pet. Do people see dogs as “just dogs” or are they part of the family or substitute children? Check the amount of disposable income the average pet owner has, and the general cost of living.
Well-equipped manners: Are you well-equipped with tools, equipment, and accessories? Pet photography is similar to sports and wedding photography in the sense that if you miss a moment, it’s not likely to be repeated. Get to know your equipment back to front before you start charging for your work.
2. Create a Pet Photography Business Plan
Crafting a business plan is most important. Decide the ownership pattern and accordingly obtain registration. For a small business, the proprietorship is the best option. Talk to a small business consultant about the tax regulations of your state.
Keep a dedicated space for your home-based pet photography studio. Space must contain a reception area, photo gallery, office, and photo shooting space with backdrops.
Determine your mission statement. Write down the objective of the pet photography business with clarity. Financial planning is also a must. Major fixed-cost investments are the camera and equipment. Variable cost includes manpower cost and marketing expense. Determine your target niche and how you will going promote the service. Calculate the break-even point and approximate rate of return.
Some of the basic aspects that your photography business plan must address are the following:
- Initial and running costs
- Your target customers
- Pricing structure
- Where and how do you plan to offer the services?
3. Learn Different Products & Services In Pet Photography
You can offer a variety of services to meet your client’s requirements. Specify every product and service on the brochure clearly. It will help your client to take decisions about different settings. Such as studio sessions, home sessions, or outdoor locations.
#a. Formal Studio Portrait: You can offer an excellent studio portrait service with a pet-friendly atmosphere. Your studio must be equipped with a variety of props and backdrops. You can provide some immediate digital images for your client’s likeliness.
#b. Outdoor Location Portrait: Sometimes pet owners prefer the photo shoot at their location like home or outdoor places. Your equipment must be transported, staged, and broken down. You must keep in mind the different pricing for this. In this case, you will need to have assistants.
#c. Creative Photo Frames: You can offer a large number of creative frames. Such as bamboo-made, wooden, metallic, canvas gallery wrap, photo albums, and even glass frames. This will help you in generating more revenue.
#d. Videography: Video clipping is another way to get extra profits. You can offer pet videos complete with music, titles, and special effects.
#e. Different Printed Items: You can also offer a wide assortment of products that customers can have their pets’ photographic images transferred into key tags, greeting cards, calendars, mugs, hats, T-shirts, sports bags, and bumper stickers.
4. Equipment For Pet Photography
Good quality pet photography equipment is a must if you want to do serious business. You will need several digital cameras, tripods, reflectors, and a variety of lenses, and flashes should also be a part of your inventory.
You will also need a backdrop stand and backdrop material for indoor work. Props are often useful when composing shots. Procure some attractive toys for pets. You will need to know how to use lighting, lenses, flash, shutter speed, angles, and poses to capture the most detailed images possible of your subject.
5. Calculate the Cost
The cost will largely depend on the kind of services offered and the scale of operation. However, the startup investment to start a full-fledged pet photography business will be a minimum of $25,000. The cost includes training costs, legal costs, photography equipment, a mobile studio, editing software with an updated computer, and promotional costs.
One also needs to include the recurring costs of running a pet photography business for at least the first six months. Some of the ongoing expenses that you will have to incur are equipment maintenance, transport expenses, studio props, operational expenses, and marketing material costs.
6. Register Your Pet Photography Business
To run a hassle-free legally compliant business it is a must to register your business. Select the appropriate business structure as per your resources and scale of operation.
For example, if you are from the United States, forming an LLC is a popular option as it makes your annual tax filing easier and most importantly protects your personal assets from the business ones.
Additionally, check with a local competent authority for the kind of licenses and permit requirements to run a photography business in your locality.
7. Name Your Business
Choosing a catchy and relatable pet photography business name goes a long way in creating a successful brand in the industry in the recent future. You can check our stepwise guide on the steps to be followed to create a name for your business.
8. Buy Software
An updated photo editing software is one of the most important tools in running a successful pet photography business. There is plenty of excellent photo editing software available in the market. Select the one that fits you best. It is without saying, having knowledge of photo editing is a huge plus in this business.
Also, buy a phone exclusively for business activities. It not only helps in better communication with your suppliers and customers but also helps in building an automated business.
9. Fix Pricing
Fix the pricing carefully. Some photographers charge a sitting or session fee, but the majority of their income tends to come from offering high-quality prints or digital images for sale. Options may vary, but generally, a photographer offers several packages at different price points with prints of various sizes. Rates can vary widely based on experience, location, and options included.
10. Buy Business Insurance
Though often ignored, buying business insurance is almost mandatory for any business owner. It will protect you and your family in the event of a financial loss. The two basic insurance one must consider buying are general insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance(if you have employees).
11. Have a Marketing Plan to Get Clients
All said and done, if you do not have a plan to sell your pet photographs, the whole exercise of building a pet photography company will fall flat.
Create your pet photography blog as an effective marketing tool. Start promoting your business locally. Regional pet publications are one of the best options for print marketing for pet photography. Give advertisements on local yellow pages. Many larger cities have dog magazines that highlight a broad range of topics including informative articles important to dog owners. Advertise with them.
The best places for displaying your business are dog daycares, groomers, and boutique pet stores. Partnering with pet service-related businesses is a great way to find clients with disposable incomes. Setting up a booth at one of the pet-friendly events is the best way to have your work in front of your target market.
More on Pet Business:
- How to Start a Pet Shop Business
- How To Start A Pet-Sitting Business
- How to Start A Pet Cremation Business
It is without a doubt, pet photography is a good business to start at present. In fact, almost two-thirds of the US population have pets in their homes. And all pet business owners love to create an album of their pets. Hence, the prospect of making profits out of pet photography is only to rise in the coming years.
About the Author: 99businessideas.com led by Rupak Chakrabarty is committed to helping beginners, entrepreneurs, and small business owners in starting, managing, and growing their businesses.