Friday, May 20, 2022
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Pet Photography Guide [Save Money or Make Money]


If you read the section above for DYI pet photography, then you say that we mentioned that a pet portrait session typically costs between $500 – $5000.

If you’re doing this as a side-job to earn some extra money you will definitely need to start near that lower range.

While a $500 price tag will make some consider doing it on their own, you should be jumping up and down that people are paying that for photos of their pets.

Not everyone loves photography like you do and so there are plenty of people willing to pay for something they can’t do themselves.

So if you can combine your love of animals with your love of photography you’ve got a sweet companionship.

Of course, there’s more work that goes into a pet photography session than the time it takes to shoot the photos. So let’s break that down.

  • 1 Hour: Scouting out a location and working out details with the client
  • 1 Hour: The photo session itself
  • 2 Hours: Post-production and processing the photos 

You could extend the photo session to an hour and a half if you wanted, especially when you first start. That will give you more time and help you not feel so rushed. However, for some clients and pets an hour might be more than they can tolerate.

Either way, even if you spend a bit more time than what we have notes above you can see that for a $500 session fee you’d be making over $100 an hour.

Often the only thing keeping from someone starting their own business is feeling like they don’t have the skills or the tools to do it.

I Don’t Have the Skills to do this Professionally

For most that are just getting started, you may be working with family or friends. Feel free to give them a discount, even 50% off if you want. You’ll still be making a great hourly wage while working out the kinks.

Imposter syndrome is also something you’ll probably deal with. Don’t be afraid to set your standard rates as high as the market in your area will bear. But if you need some confidence in being able to charge that give some significant discounts to the first clients you work with.

You’ll be getting some valuable experience, but you’ll also be giving them a big value in saving hundreds of dollars compared to others or having to try and do it themselves.

You’re not a perfect photographer, but that’s not what you’re being hired as. You have more to learn, but we learn by applying what we know.

No professional photographer started as a professional. So it’s true that you will need to get better but you are more than good enough to get started right now.

I Don’t Have the Gear I’d Need

While feeling like you don’t have the gear you need is an obstacle, it is far easier to overcome than feelings of doubt. If you need a pep talk or have other questions about overcoming that obstacle, feel free to reach out and ask us a question.

You can start with what you have. And that’s a great idea if you want to see if this is something you really like. One caveat is really will need to have a camera with an interchangeable lens. No smartphones!  

It’s true that people can get great photos with their smartphone. However, if someone is going to pay you to take pictures, they are not going to feel like they are getting their monies worth if they see you show up and take the camera out of your pocket.

Value is all about perception and having a DSLR or Mirrorless camera around your neck creates instant value in the eyes of your client.

Whether you have the camera but not the lens, or you have nothing at all, it’s not a problem.

For some, buying the lens will be the best option. If you’re not able to purchase the gear yet, then you can simply rent it.

As mentioned in the other section of this article, camera gear rentals are surprisingly affordable. Particularly if you are getting someone to pay for the pictures you’re going to take.

At first it may seem like, ‘hey I’m not going to make as much money that way.’ The reality is ‘hey someone else is paying for me to rent this cool gear.’

The cost of your rentals is just going to be covered by the price you charge for the photo session. Later on you can purchase the equipment you need and make more money, but having someone else pay is pretty great.

Camera rentals usually are for 3-7 days. If you are able to fit 2-3 clients into that period of time it really makes it worth it.



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