Pet Photographer Business Idea

Entrepreneur Goddess interviews Lori Cheung

EntrepreneurGoddess 7/17/2008

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Business Summary:

If you love pets and children, and you want to make a unique niche for yourself, think about starting a photography studio limited to children and animals.

Your startup costs would largely be determined by the photographic equipment you own already, and what you need to purchase. People in this niche business often have a fully equipped van so they can drive to clients’ homes or to special events. Having a van also allows you to set up at fairs and festivals, where you can make extra money with digital photos and button sales. You’ll need more than the usual amount of patience for a photographer, but the payoff will be in watching delighted parents and children – and pets – when you show them that perfect shot. Another payoff – having a lot of fun on the job!

Start Up Cost: $2,000 – $10,000

Can Be Home Based?: Yes

Can Be Operated Part Time?: Yes

Skills Required:

It’s understood that you’ll be starting out either as an amateur photographer who loves her avocation – or as an apprentice or professional studio photographer. If you still have to learn the art of professional photography, be prepared to spend months or years developing your technique, with the help of adult education instructors or a professional mentor. Know your equipment well, and be prepared to try new techniques illustrated in professional magazines or galleries. You’ll need talent in order to win over your clients, so make sure you receive rave reviews for your work before you start your business.

How Much Can You Earn:

If you succeed in establishing your reputation as a superb photographer of pets and children, you should be able to average around $40,000 and more per year. A lot depends on whether you work full or part-time, and whether your skills can bring you the customers you’ll need.

Understanding Customers:

Your customers are going to be interested in catching special moments that they can preserve forever. You’ll need to win them over with samples of work that you’ve done for other clients. Always have an array of some of your best work available for your prospective customers to admire. Remember, they will be paying for something that they might feel they can do just as well as you. It’s up to you to sell your talent with your people skills and your impressive array of unique photos.

Marketing Strategy:

Have an impressive selection of framed photos and photo albums ready to show the extent of your abilities to prospective customers who inquire about your work. Create a visually stunning website when your budget allows, and make sure that your brochures and business cards are clever showcases for your work. Of course, you should take advantage of local newspaper ads and telephone classifieds. Artisans like photographers depend upon word-of-mouth advertising to a large extent, aided by visual images of their work. The little photo buttons mentioned earlier make great advertisements when distributed to customers at fairs or other get-togethers.

Requirements:

You’ll need an intimate knowledge of a professional photographer’s equipment, and you’ll want to keep it up-to-date as trends change. You may decide to have a home studio and a van for taking photos at client’s homes. The van also allows you to take photos at special locations chosen by clients for sentimental or scenic value. Be sure to subscribe to the leading professional journals and watch for new trends in other magazines as well.

Whether your office is at home or in a commercial building, you’ll need a computer with specialized software for photographers. If you don’t already have them, add a copier, fax machine, printer, and toll-free phone line. Your advertising – website, brochures, business cards, other ads – may cost more than you think, so create your own whenever you can.

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