What a dream job, eh? Getting paid to snap photos of dogs.
There is no entry exam or interview, if you want to earn your living through pet photography, you will have to be like most photographers and forge your own path. Freelancing as it is known, offers many perks, but it also offers equal risks. As with freelancing in any field, an income is never guaranteed. However, your earning potential has no ceiling, it really is up to the individual as to how much or how little they make.
Living in what is most definitely the digital age means being a professional photographer is now easier and cheaper. Long gone are the days of dark rooms and tripods. Although many photographers still favour the authenticity and grain of using film, aspiring photographers now have a cheaper way of getting the perfect picture.
When it comes to being a pet photographer, it is important to remember that you not only have to know your zoom from your tripod, but you have to be good with your subject, dogs. Your first step should be to ensure that your equipment is good enough to meet the standards that your clientèle will demand. This does not need to leave your wallet in a cold sweat begging for mercy, you can pick up sufficiently good quality cameras for less than £300. Obviously the more you spend, the more features and better image quality you will get, but none of that can replace the eye for a good photo and the talent to capture it.
Some popular makes and models for the serious amateur to the budding professional can be seen here.
There are a whole host of courses in photography available, including degree courses. Holding a degree does not prove a level of ability, rather a level of attainment. However, combined honours courses can be formed to include other disciplines such as business management, digital graphics, animal care or even Egyptology. The key here is to make a combination that will complement your photography. For more information on available degrees and the institutions that offer them visit www.ucas.ac.uk
Many people pursue photography of dogs as a hobby, but to earn a living from it requires huge dedication. To make the leap from an amateur to a professional photographer requires one thing above all others, a good, eye-catching portfolio. Your portfolio is your CV.
To create a good collection of your work you need to take all available opportunities to capture worthwhile images. It is highly recommended that dog owners always keep their camera to hand, you never know when your dog will appear in a ‘never to be seen again’ pose.
You should present your portfolio in a way that tells potential clients that you not only take good photographs, but that you understand dogs enough to capture their pet in a way they will like. It is worth spending a little time and maybe even money on getting your portfolio just right. You need to display all of your skills and talent within the pages of your portfolio. Take time to ensure every base is covered. Get the portfolio professionally bound, this gives potential clients the impression that you take pride in your work.
Once you are taking commissions for your photography, it is essential to ensure that your images are to the liking of the client. Your client may be a dog owner who wants a personal memento of their pet. In which case you need to be able to capture a personality. Experiment with props and locations that will stimulate the subject to be themselves. It also important to know the habits of certain breeds, this applies to understanding which breeds will get bored quickly, which breeds are likely to dart off at the sound of a shutter clicking. It may be that your client is seeking images for commercial purposes, if so the emphasis should be on getting a memorable, eye-catching image. It is important to be proficient in commercial photography as well as operating in more intimate surroundings such as a person’s home.
Since you will be operating as a self-employed person you will need to organise your own taxes and national insurance contributions. For more information on this visit www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk