Make Money Photographing Pets And Their Owners
Here's an idea that's sure to get orders rolling in - Photographing pets and their proud owners.
Research events that involve proud pet owners taking their pets out to public places. Then contact the organizers of these events and make a deal to provide a digital photography service.
Promote your services in such a way that the event organizers understand how your presence enhances the event.
You might also offer to provide event photographs in exchange for setting up a photography booth from which you can take orders, or you might agree to pay them a set fee or a percentage of your profits.
What are the possibilities for a digital photography service to pet owners?
Pet shows are a fertile market for the digital photographer, most typically cat shows and dog shows.
Pedigree cat and dog owners who show their animals in competitions are fiercely proud of them. They groom these pets to within an inch of their life, go to great expense for them and fuss over them like a new grandmother with her first grandchild. They will pay money to have their pet photographed - especially while the judging is happening and most definitely if a prize is awarded.
Find out when the next pet show is happening in your area and then contact the organizers with an offer to be on site taking photographs. It's more than likely that you will be required to pay for a booth at the show. But a booth is to your advantage, since you will have a base from which you can promote your service. And if you have mains power available you could set up your computer and printer to print off your customers' photographs or provide collections on CD so they can collect them before they head for home, saving you the necessity of having to arrange delivery.
O-Mok-See, Dressage and Show Jumping events offer another opportunity for
the enterprising digital photographer. Like cat and dog owners, equestrians
are fiercely proud of their ponies and horses and will pay to have their
pictures taken with them.
Once again, you will probably have to pay for a booth at these events, but it should be well worth the fee.
Run a Google search for cat shows, dog shows, Pony Club or Saddle Club events etc., to learn the dates and locations. Alternatively, search for cat, dog and horse associations and inquire about shows.
Take Your Pet To Church Day
Some churches offer a special blessing day, inviting members of the congregation to bring their pet(s) to an Animal Blessing service. Contact the pastor and see what kind of deal you can work out. These pets will be dogs for the most part, since cats are less keen on accompanying owners in public.
Swim with Your Dog Day
In one community I heard about, the recreation center publicizes a Swim with Your Dog Day on the day before they drain the pool for its annual cleaning. Does your local recreation center do this? Could you suggest it to them? There may be an untapped opportunity there.
Contact Your Local Pet Shop
Negotiate a deal with the pet shop to advertize that your service will be available on a certain day or time at their premises when pet owners can bring their animals in to be photographed. You set up, take orders, photograph the pets and arrange a delivery method. The pet shop benefits, the pet owners benefit and you benefit. The animals probably get plenty of treats for posing, so they're happy too!
You will do best if you can set up a private area somewhere in the shop
when you take the photographs. Nervous, excitable animals are best photographed
in quiet surroundings and you should avoid using a flash if possible, or
if you must, make sure you don't point the flash directly into the animals'
eyes or better still use an umbrella reflector to diffuse the flash.
When photographing kittens and puppies, it's a good idea to provide some props and toys. You might have to get the pet's owner to engage the animal in an activity before it rewards you with a good pose.
Approach Animal Breeders
People who breed pedigreed animals such as cats, dogs, horses, birds and other species have contact with new and potential pet owners. These pet owners spend big money on a pedigreed animal. They have no qualms about paying for good photographs of their young pup or kitty.
Provide the breeder with coupons promoting your service. Offer a commission as an incentive for all paid orders you receive from the breeder's customers who present one of your coupons.
In exchange for marketing your service, you could also offer to take photographs of the breeder's facilities and the animals for sale for use on their web site or on their promotional materials.
The pet industry is thriving, and is an excellent way to make money with your digital camera.
Suggested Equipment and Supplies
In addition to your DSLR Camera (which should be capable of fast, continuous shooting if you are going to be covering gymkhanas and that type of event, so you don't miss any of the action), suitable Lens(es) for your shoot, a plentiful supply of Duplicate Order Forms (One copy for you and one for your customer) and Business Cards to hand out, you should also consider having:
- Spare, fully charged Camera Batteries so you don't run out of power whilst shooting.
- Extra Memory Cards so you don't run out of storage for your photographs.
- A Laptop Computer to display your photos for your potential customers to choose from.
- A suitable Photo Printer to produce good quality prints.
- If you intend to supply your photos on CD/DVD then you should consider a CD Printer so that you can print up your disks with the event name and your business details. It will print your photos as well.
- Good quality Photographic Printing Paper in two or three different sizes to supply prints at the venue (also consider photo mounts, branded with your details, to give your work a professional look)
- Blank CDs* and or DVDs* to burn your photos onto if you are going to be supplying them on this media at the venue
- * Ideally these should be pre-printed with your business and copyright details and the title of the event. But be aware that printing off CDs/DVDs at the event can be a time consuming chore, it is probably a better idea to take orders for the disks and send them to your customer later.
- Spare Ink Cartridges for your printer if you are printing at the venue
- A Web Site, The easiest way to get a web site set up is to use Wordpress. For this you will need:
- A Hosting Account (get one that offers cPanel which makes it very easy to set Wordpress up)
- A Domain Name (Try NameCheap or GoDaddy)
- A Payment Provider - PayPal offers an excellent service and it's free to set up (you will need to set up either a business or premium account with them)
- A suitable Wordpress Plugin to password protect your download area before you receive payment. (There are number of plugins available - some free, some you have to pay for)
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