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Blog: How to Succeed in Shooting Pet Portraits

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Nancy Irwin
Blog: How to Succeed in Shooting Pet Portraits
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:49:43 pm

A number of photographers have taken to taking pet portraits. However, to succeed in this business, you need to have more than just a love of pets. Actually, it takes great skill, patience and tolerance to become the perfectly- professional pet photographer. Read on to learn more about how to succeed in shooting pet photos:

1. Be Patient
Pet photography tends to be chaotic. Therefore, the rule of thumb is to wait. Pets are wound for sound. You need to learn how to stay patient until they relax and calm down. This is why you should never rush the photo sessions. Instead, sit back until the pet gets comfortable enough for you to take your shots. At times, you might just have to ask the pet owner to take the hyperactive darling out for exercise before you kick start the session.
Even when the pet is calm, they still need patience – especially with regards to the manner in which you guide them. You cannot afford to do too much too fast. Just wait for the perfect shot and you will get it.
2. Study Animal Behavior
As a pet photographer, you ought to first study and understand pets and their behavior. Once you learn how to read the pet’s body language, you will find it easier to discern when the pet is stressed out, feels intimidated or starts looking for an exit route. 
Studying pets can make the difference between becoming an amateur and ending up a professional pet photographer. Additionally, it will furnish you with the skills you need to better interact with the subjects, make personal connections and get them to relax as you take the portraits.

3. Understand Your Equipment
If you are a professional photographer, chances are that you know your gear in and out. However, it is harder to use your skills and experience on subjects who cannot sit still or stay where you need them to be. Photographers should be ready to capture perfect shots when it comes to pets. This is mostly because such opportunities are rare and hardly ever repeat themselves. Dogs, in particular, are fast and you need to account for these movements in your camera settings. Where possible, start out by practicing your style and skills on various pets before you go professional.

4. Cultivate People Skills 
Although you will be photographing pets, you have to remember that your paychecks come from the pet owners. Therefore, first learn how to communicate with people. Pet owners book the photography session and pay the bills, which is why you cannot neglect this important aspect of your business.

5. Understand Business
As a pet photographer, you need strength training in business skills. Study pricing and products and figure out how much it will cost you to go into the business. The business management classes will give you the skills and understanding you need to run a successful pet photography enterprise. 
Finally, learn how to think artistically. Never let clients undervalue your work or push you around. This means you should respect our work and hold your ground. Chances are that your clients will follow suit and let your creative juices flow as you photograph the subject.

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