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5 Reasons You Should Hire a Professional Pet Photographer

Sure, camera gear is relatively cheap, but amateurs are still amateurs. Here's how a pro can make a big difference.

 |  Oct 30th 2012  |   22 Contributions


Years ago, when Dolly was a much younger pup, I took her for a portrait sitting. It was at a nearby park and part of a fundraising event for an animal-welfare organization. For $50, the professional photographer donating her time took 12 images of Dolly and delivered them on disc a few weeks later.

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My favorite image from the 2003 photo session.

I treasure these photos. Not only do they capture my Dolly girl before radiation therapy left a bald patch on her right leg, a constant reminder of the potential for cancer recurrence, they are simply the best images of her I have. With that in mind, I put together five reasons why you can't beat a professional pet photographer.

1. You can’t beat the quality and composition

Technological advancements have made high-quality equipment much more affordable for amateur photographers, but amateurs are still amateurs. Professional photographers not only have the cameras, lenses, and other equipment needed to get the perfect shot, they have the training and experience to do so.

2. You can’t beat the creativity

Dolly’s personality shines through in the portraits of her from that day years ago, but by no means do the images come close to what today’s professional pet photographers can capture. The best take into consideration not only the personality of your dog but also his or her lifestyle.

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I took this photo of Spot in the pool.

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But I really want a photo of Spot like this one by professional pet photographer Seth Casteel.

3. You can’t beat the ease

Let the professional crawl around on the grass -- or jump in the pool -- while you sit back, relax, and watch the action unfold. You might just pick up a few pointers to improve your own shooting skills.

4. You can’t beat the efficiency

A professional pet photographer also has the know-how to get the best images in the least amount of time. They typically charge by the hour and have no desire to waste their time or yours.

5. You can join in on the fun!

During Dolly’s session, I was allowed to be in one shot, and one shot only, for identification purposes. Today’s professional pet photographers, however, strive to capture the bond between you and your dog, resulting in a treasured photo that will surely hang in a place of importance in your home for years to come.

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Not frame-worthy.

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A frame-worthy work of art by professional pet photographer David Reyes.

Tips on choosing a professional pet photographer

  • Explore a photographer’s website to see previous works, and then interview him or her prior to making an appointment. Ask about the creative process and how the actual session will unfold. Make sure you feel comfortable with the photographer before booking. If you don’t click with him or her, odds are your dog won’t either.
  • Look for a deal. Professional pet photography can be pricey. If you have limited funds, keep your eye out for a discount or daily deal. Many professional photographers are moving into pet photography and want to attract clients; certain times of year also might be slow for those both established and new. Still keep quality in mind and do your research before putting down any money, no matter how good the deal.

Have you used a professional pet photographer? Please share your experience and any tips on choosing the best one in the comments! Also, if allowed by copyright, post your favorite photo from the session!

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