Top Tip 16: Profitable Pet Photography

How to Make a lot More Money from PET PHOTOGRAPHY this Summer

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For a lot of photographers pet photography still remains an untapped but very lucrative market. Summertime is a great opportunity to really build a name for yourself as a fantastic pet photographer.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a studio, you don’t need one.

Over the years as well as doing a lot of pet photography in the studio, I’ve also traveled to my client’s home and favorite locations, such as a local park or the beach to capture their four-legged friends in action.

Never under-estimate your client’s love and passion for their pets. Some of my biggest sales in the studio have been made from pet photography.

Incidentally, some of my more well-off clients would never dream of putting a huge framed wall print of their children on display in their home, but wouldn’t think twice about spending a fortune on photographs of their beloved pets

It’s a bit of a class thing, the very wealthy tend to steer away from portraits and prefer to hang fine art on their walls. A portrait of their kids is usually found as a 5”x7” in the living room or on Dad’s office desk. The exception to this rule for them is photographs of their horses and dogs, they’ll go for the huge framed prints every time.

Now is the time to start pushing your pet promotions. One fantastic way is to team up with local dog groomers, dog walkers or pet stores - there’s plenty around.

Firstly, go and introduce yourself to the owner of the business. Tell them how you’d like to offer their loyal customers a FREE pet portrait session either in the studio or on location when they book in for one of the top grooming packages, spend “x” amount on pet products or book “x” of dog walking services.

Explain how the session is totally FREE of charge and there is no obligation for them to purchase any images. Although I’ve yet to have someone who has walked away without at least purchasing one or two framed prints or a USB key of digital images.

Remember these customers are often spending £30 - £40 every few weeks just on dog grooming or some a spending a fortune on premium pet food, they are totally devoted to their pets. Now imagine how they will just simply love a set of professional photographs of their best friend.

Next offer the owner of the business a FREE portrait session and large wall print of their own dog to display in their shop. This way clients can see for themselves the fantastic quality and service you provide. This is a great way to really get the business owner on your side and they’ll be more than happy to recommend you when they see the results for themselves.

However I did find after the initial period, sales and bookings started to tail off. This was simply due to the owners forgetting to hand out leaflets to their clients. So, to combat this and keep the momentum going I went back to them and offered a generous 15% commission on all portrait sales I made as a result of their referrals.

This worked a treat and each month I’d pop down to and pay them their commission in cash!! They loved it and pushed me even more to their clients.

It’s easy enough to create very professional looking leaflets to give to the groomers, pet store or dog walker to handout. I personalized these to include the businesses own logo and even used a photo I’d taken of their dog too, they loved it. Remember you are selling the emotional benefits of your service, capturing beautiful memories of your best friend which you can treasure for years to come.

Also, it’s a good idea to have several pet packages available. These can include a “Puppy at Play Package” always a winner with new dog owners and because your puppy will change and grow up so fast it's essential to capture these early memories.

I also used the same leaflet offer template to hit another dog groomers at the other side of town. I have a great designer, Yani, I can recommend for your leaflets or vouchers and I guarantee they’ll look awesome. Next, check out print24.com for cheap but great printing services I’ve used them for years and can’t fault the quality.

Another option is to give the business owners personalized pet portrait gift vouchers to hand out. This really does work as people are always keen to use a gift voucher and do feel they are getting something of value for free.

It’s good to make the voucher worthwhile say to the value of say £50. Then charge a sitting fee of say £30 that means the customer gets the sitting for free and still has a few pounds left towards their first framed print.

Don’t forget to add simple terms and conditions to voucher though. Non-refundable, one per customer only, cannot be used on bank holidays or weekends, can only be used against the cost of a pet portrait sitting and prints etc has no cash alternative.

Well, I hope this has given you guys something to think about. I’d love to hear how you get on.

It’s worked great for me and I’ve made a lot of money from pet photography over the years, I’d love to see you do the same.

Thanks for following, feel free to get in touch anytime. Jeff