Animal Photography Jobs
There are many skills required to make a living doing pet photography, and the most essential skill is having an eye for photography.
Most professional photographers get involved in the arts in high school or college, and while some are self taught, most study for years, learning the ins and outs of cameras, both digital and not, as well as how to develop film, work with photographs on the computer, etc.
Pet photographers should enjoy working with animals, as well as understand the behavior of animals. A lot of pet photography involves candid shots, which may involve the photographer getting on all fours to meet his or her subject and get the shot. There's also a lot of patience involved, as more often than not, many shots will be blurred due to sudden movement from the pet.
Pet photographers can decide whether they prefer taking portrait shots, which can be done in their own home, as long as their city/county allows it, or they can bring the camera to the client, visiting the pet's home or park to get the best shots.
Beyond possessing a camera, most pet photographers also have several backdrops to choose from, as well as toys and props, which can either be used in the shots or to get animation out of the subject.
Successful pet photographers will not only be good photographers and enjoy working with animals, but also have good business skills in areas such as accounting and finances, communications and advertising/marketing.
Some pet photographers work with groomers or pet stores, & refer clients back and forth, which can help both businesses succeed.
The hours a pet photographers work can be flexible, but keep in mind that if you're aiming for customers who work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., you will need to be available in the evenings and weekends in order to make any real money doing this somewhat peculiar line of work.
Suzanne Bird of Urban Dog Photog in Carp, Ontario, Canada, was a newspaper photographer for major daily news departments for almost 10 years before jumping into dog (and human) photography. Her rates start at $350 for private commissioned portrait packages within her area. She also offers photography packages, photos made into coffee table books, and a year in the life, which spaces out a few sessions in one calendar year and then produces a package.
As far as wages are concerned, most pet photographers charge a sitting fee, which may or may not include a few prints, and then make the bulk of their money on picture packages at various price points.