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The Skilled Pet Photographer: 5 Captivating Questions to Consider When Hiring One

The pet photographer – not many people know much about them. Many people are aware of other niches of photography, including the wedding, portrait, car, family, or high school photographer. There are, by extension, photographers who specialize in newborns, graduation photos, certain types of cars, children portraits, or traditional weddings. There seems to be a photographer for every major life event that one can think of. But a pet photographer, especially one that specializes in a certain type of breed or in outdoor or studio portraits is a niche of photography most people haven’t heard of – or even considered.

Because unlike all those other niches of photography, there’s not many major life events that drive a person to hire a professional photographer (although it can be a great investment!) And so let’s begin to consider why you should hire one and what to look for when you do.

Question 1: Is This a Good Pet Photographer Who Can Provides An Experience?

The first reason to consider hiring a pet photographer is for the unique experience they provide. In a way, it is a luxury service. A good pet photographer will not only photograph your pet, but make an experience out of doing so. They will provide custom guides, custom artwork to fit your taste and home-style, thank you cards, and much more to make the entire experience as smooth and seamless as possible. They’ll focus on connecting with you and your dog or cat and also ensure that you both are feeling great and relaxed throughout the entire photoshoot. They’ll take breaks when breaks are needed, play when play-time is needed, and they’ll capture amazing photos throughout the entire photoshoot.

And like their name states, their focus is entirely on your dog or cat and the relationship and connection you share to them. They’ll know how to capture all the raw emotion and silliness of your dog/cat and how to emphasize certain aspects of their personality that other photographers just aren’t aware of.

So when looking to hire a photographer, the first thing to consider is “What sort of experience are you going to provide me and my dog and how is that better than what everyone else offers?”

Question 2: What Kind of Photos Do I Want?

The second thing to consider when looking for or considering a pet photographer is to think about the kind of photos you would like to have. Do you want the focus to be entirely on your pet – or do you want to be in the photos as well? Do you like the more posed, professional look of a studio photoshoot or do you want more candid images? Do you like more modern styles or something more contemporary?

Take a look through the photographer’s portfolio and see if it matches or is close to the vision you have in mind. The style of photos between photographers is very different and each photographer can take the same types of photos in very different ways. They will edit them differently from one another and prefer certain types of photos over others.

A Studio vs Outdoor/Candid Pet Photographer

The biggest difference between a studio vs outdoor or candid pet photographer is just that – one usually operates out of a studio space while the other usually travels from and operates out of their own home. But the variety of photos you will get out of the two are also vastly different.

In a studio, the lighting is usually kept the same and there are usually only a certain number of poses or props that are available to work with. You will notice, however, a consistency in the portrait photographer’s portfolio and see that they usually specialize around certain types of images. There is also more control over the environment and there are going to be a lot less distractions.

This can be great for people looking for a consistent look and for a more planned photoshoot where they are looking for a very specific look or style.

On the other hand, candid pet photographers are going to be shooting in a much greater variety of locations and with less consistency. They will have to deal with a greater number of changing factors like differences in lighting or dealing with heavy foot traffic or handling the dog with many distractions around.

But the candid photographer will photograph with more variety and can provide more “natural” looking photos. They’ll also be able to capture certain types of shots that studio photographers won’t be as well equipped to – such as certain action shots of a dog chasing a ball or frisbee.

Both photographers can be a great choice for different kinds of people. It all depends on what the person wants and is looking for in their photos.

Question 3: What Kinds of Products Do I Want to Buy?

A seasoned pet photographer will offer a variety of products to their clients that can be very different from what people are used to. Most people are used to Walmart or Costco photo prints that are usually only a few bucks or can be purchased in mass quantities. Sometimes these have weird color casts or they cut off the important parts of some pictures – like people’s faces!

Most people are not used to buying custom wall art or understand the options available to them when it comes to more luxury items. They just haven’t been made accustomed to seeing what a difference the right piece of wall art can make to the feeling of a home.

So take a look at what the pet photographer offers – is it wall art? Collections of wall art? Albums? Do they offer only normal prints or prints in larger sizes that you’ve never considered buying?

Do they only offer canvas options or do they offer something more modern, like metal prints?

There is a wide variety of items that can be offered and they all have their own nuisances as well. For example, have you considered getting your normal canvas framed? What about coated with a special coating that protects the photo from fading due to being exposed to the sun?

These are all things to discuss about with your chosen or potential pet photographer. Remember: pet photography is a luxury experience. This is not about just buying three 5×7 prints and calling it a day – this is about providing you with products that will change the feeling and look of the room you put them in. Truly unique, one-of-a-kind artwork showcasing your relationship with your dog and all their quirky ways .

Question 4: Do I Want a Full Session or to Experience a Mini-Session?

This is yet another area that differentiates pet photographers from other types of photography. Most pet photographers will offer “mini-sessions”, which are exactly what they sound like – their normal length sessions, but shorter. These sessions are shorter both in the type and span of products offered. For example, instead of their normal hour-long photoshoot, the mini-session version could be 20 or 30 minutes long. In terms of products, instead of offering their entire product list, they may only offer a certain number of prints or a medium-piece of wall art. Finally, these sessions are also usually much cheaper than their normal sessions, which draws in many people.

The goal behind mini-sessions is to provide a taste of what the full-session versions are like. They are meant to encourage people to want to join a full-session photoshoot. But they can also be used for certain events like Christmas or Halloween where many people want to dress up their pup and get photos taken for holiday cards they are sending out to their family.

These lower the cost of entry and can provide a taste of what it is like to work with the photographer. Therefore, mini-sessions can be a great way to “try” a photographer before investing more with them.

Question 5: Have I or Someone Else Worked With Them Before?

Ah, referrals. For any photographer, this can become a cornerstone of their audience-base. After all, if they can provide someone with a great experience, great photos, and artwork that no one else has that just lights up the room every time someone sees it, they will want to talk about that photographer to their friends. So check around – read reviews, ask other people, and see if anyone else has used them for their photography.

Hopefully these 5 considerations have really helped you begin to think about what to consider when hiring a pet photographer. In fact, I hope they encourage you to. Pet photography can be a really excellent experience for all those involved and it can really be a way to “level-up” your life.

Want to know for sure I’m the photographer for you? Give me a call today!

CJ Ashmore

Owner, Photographer of Pawfect Photo Moments LLC


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