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Pet Photography Explained

22nd September 21

When you think of a professional photographer, visions of glamourous models in photoshoots, breathtaking scenery shots and incredible images of wildlife typically spring to mind. These are no doubt some of the exciting avenues you can work in as a photographer, but they aren’t the only ones.

If you’re looking to combine a photography career with your love of animals, you may well have considered a career in wildlife photography. However, there is an increasingly popular alternative you could choose which is much closer to home.

Pet photography allows you to indulge your interest in animals on home soil, removing the need to travel far and wide to capture your next best-selling shot. The rise in pet ownership has led to an increase in demand for pet portraits, meaning this is not only a fun avenue of photography to explore, it's also a lucrative one!


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What is Pet Photography?

Pretty much everyone is familiar with what a career in photography entails. You use your skills with a camera to create stunning visual images that you polish with editing and sell on for monetary gain. Many people, though, are less familiar with the concept of photographing pets.

If you’re wondering what is pet photography, it’s the avenue of photography that focuses specifically on taking images of companion animals, in other words, people’s pets. Like pictures of our families, many pet owners enjoy having images of their pets around the home as a keepsake, and there’s no better way of capturing their best side than with a professional photographer.

In many cases, pet photographers also work for corporate clients, taking images of cats, dogs, horses and other animals typically kept as pets for the purpose of advertising related products and services.

Different Ways You Can Work as a Pet Photographer

As a pet photographer, you can either choose to be self-employed or earn a fixed salary by working with an already-established company.  

Pet photographers can also operate in different capacities. You or the business you work for may choose to run a mobile photography service where you would drive out to visit clients in their home or other external locations.

Alternatively, you could bring customers to you by operating a fixed studio location. This could either be at your home to save on expenses or you could rent a unit elsewhere to separate your work and home life.

In many cases, the capacity in which you work is dictated by the type of pet photographer you become. This is because different niches require different pet photography accessories and equipment which may be easier to leave at a fixed location.

Different Types of Pet Photography 

Like any avenue of photography, there are different specialisms you can focus on. You may find that you are particularly skilled at capturing the moment of pets in certain ways, or you work best in a corporate capacity. Alternatively, if you find you’re good at a wide range of pet photography styles, you could provide them all in your service offering.

Creative Pet Photography

Utilise photography skills in combination with graphic design abilities to design creative backdrops, settings and outfits for companion animals to be wearing in your images.

Corporate Pet Photography

Many corporate businesses operate in the animal and pet-related space. Think of all the pet food, pet insurance, pet medicinal and healthcare products available in the market, each of these require professional shots to advertise their brand.

End of Life Pet Photography

One of the most challenging parts of owning a pet is dealing with their passing. As an end of life pet photographer, you can capture special moments with pets and their owners that they can hold onto forever.

Family and Pet Photography

If you’re good with both animals and people, you can turn your hand to taking images of animals alongside their humans. This can either be with adults, or you could specialise in pet and baby photography where you would capture the bond between companion animals and children, or even new-born babies!

Pet Adoption Photography

Every year thousands of companion animals are surrendered to shelters in need of a new loving home. Though, sadly, many animals live in these shelters for years at a time before a new family is found for them. A great way to raise the profile of these animals is through pet adoption photography, or shelter pet photography as it is otherwise known.

Underwater Pet Photography

A trend of images which lead to a niche pet photography specialism was images of pets diving into water from underneath. Initially, this started out with dogs chasing balls, but now a whole subdivision is dedicated to this type of shot. Just bear in mind you will need to invest in waterproof pet photography equipment!


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Get Started as a Pet Photographer

If you’re wondering how to start a pet photography business, the best first move you can make is studying a course dedicated to pet photography. This will give you all the knowledge you need to confidently work a camera, as well as what to look for when choosing the pet photography equipment you need.

The online Pet Photography Level 3 Award (RQF) offered by learndirect is a great place to get started. It covers essential aspects of digital and pet photography, and its industry recognised, so employers and customers will be assured of your abilities.

You will learn:

Digital Photography

  • Learn the components of a digital camera
  • Understand how the basic controls and parameters work
  • Be able to apply photographic techniques
  • Understand image composition
  • Understand camera usage in animal photography

Pet Photography

  • Become familiar with pet photographing techniques
  • Know how to create professional lighting settings both inside and outside the studio
  • Understand the basics of photo editing and postproduction
  • Become familiar with ethics when working with animals
  • Be able to produce a pet photography portfolio

Enrol Today!

Take the next step to a career as a pet photographer today by enrolling on an online course with learndirect – the leading UK online learning provider!

By studying our online Pet Photography Level 3 Award (RQF), you can study from the comfort of home, while still having access to dedicated tutor support. You will also be able to spread the cost of your studies with our flexible payment options.

Call our Course Executives today to find out more. They will answer every question you have and help you take the next steps to enrol.

Call them on 01202 006 464, contact them online or click the link below to view the courses.

You can also keep track of all animal awareness days and events with our FREE calendar! Download it here.


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