Attempting a Small Business

Discussion in 'The Aspiring Professionals Forum' started by AnimalFreak, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. AnimalFreak

    AnimalFreak TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Hello all. I'm an amateur photographer. I got my Canon camera at the end of last summer, but I'm interested in being able to make money off of my growing hobby. Honestly, I'm not even sure if it counts as a 'business' as I'm starting off small. Very small. I live in a tiny town no one's probably even heard of except for those living in it and those forced to interact with it. For now, I'd like to stick with pet photography within the town and hopefully expand some down the road once I get more comfortable with it. The problem is I've no idea where to even start. I've done some research, but I'm probably starting too soon after getting a camera and get rather confused. It seems like everyone explains things in a manner for someone who's already at least somewhat familiar with doing photography professionally.

    Basically, I want to offer to be able to go to people's homes and take pictures of their pets. I'm not going to have a studio or anything like that. I might not even start my business until next summer, but I feel like it would be a good job for me. The hardest part will be interacting with people since I have anxiety and am rather antisocial, but it should only be one or two people at a time and it's something I want to get over.

    Really, I just need advice. Anything you've got would be helpful, but I'm particularly stuck on pricing. I've done research, but it all seems... overpriced. I'm not a professional and I live in a town where pretty much everyone is poor or close to it. I don't need to make a ton either. Just enough to take care of my own animals and to save up for later on as well as continue to pay for the photo editing software. But if anyone has any ideas as to what kind of lens I should look into getting or anything else, that'll be great too. I'm just sort of lost since I'm totally unfamiliar with businesses in general and all that comes along with it.

    My camera is a Canon Rebel SL1. You can click here to see examples of my photography. Thanks in advanced.


     
  2. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2013
    Messages:
    6,262
    Likes Received:
    1,821
    Location:
    US
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I think in less than a year you're still learning. It's going to take knowing what to do in a variety of situations. It will take dealing with people so maybe you need to think about trying to find resources on how to interact with potential customers, how to market to prospective clients, etc.

    What I see of your photos are a lot of close ups, and I'm not sure if people wanting portraits of their pets would particularly want that (or at least, not a lot of photos of just that). Try looking up pet photography and see what top quality pro work looks like so you know what level of quality to work toward.

    Other photos that show some background are often showing what is considered to be a cluttered appearance. Think about when you're framing shots what's in the scene and in the background, your vantage point (where/how can you position yourself) to get the nicest background in a photo. You want to go for what's called a clean composition, think about what else is in the photo - if it doesn't add to the photo does it need to be in the picture? (Probably not.) Move objects out of the way and reposition yourself. Practice framing shots. Learn to see everything in the viewfinder not just the subject. Takes lots of practice!

    Try American Society of Media Photographers - Homepage or PPA, both are pro photographer associations for resources on contracts, pricing, etc. It makes sense I think to adjust pricing for your area.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Jamesaz

    Jamesaz TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Phoenix,AZ.
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I once thought I'd try pet pictures but it was long ago and I went in a different direction, photographically. Start with your own animals and learn how to light and compose. Move on to your neighbors critters. Get good enough so people wont object to paying, 1st for materials, then a little for your time. Don't be concerned with starting a business until you know what you are capable of as a photographer. Above all, don't quit your day job. there are people who specialize in certain areas of animal photography like Arabian horses, purebred dogs, goats, swine. There are also magazines (or probably websites) for all these commercial uses of animals. Owners use them to try to sell stock, especially racehorses. Looking at those will give you a look at what others are doing. The horse photographers I've met here in Arizona, at least the ones who work steady, all have a tremendous knowledge of equine behavior and anatomy. Like all photography, you'll want to try to minimize as much as possible the things that keep you from being lucky.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. AnimalFreak

    AnimalFreak TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks for the advice. I am still a bit new and I might wait at least until next summer, but it is something I'm very interested in and it seems at least a little more solitary than most jobs which I prefer. I also love working with animals and there aren't many opportunities to do so. I do need to work on getting more full bodies. I don't know why I'm always drawn to close ups. Probably partly because of the background issue. I hate having all the extra stuff in the background, but it's difficult. The pictures were taken in my home and, if I bothered to move it all, the animals would end up leaving and I'd lose my chance. I will try to be more observant though. It's just a little difficult to try and plan everything when photographing animals. The cats in particular. I can't tell them to sit and stay and look this way or that way. I do want to invest in some things to use as backdrops so I can have a solid color which I will try to get before doing any professional photography.
     
  5. tecboy

    tecboy No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,954
    Likes Received:
    353
    Location:
    San Jose, Cali, The Heart of Silicon Valley
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    You seems to like to photograph cats than dogs. I haven't photographed cats before, maybe some days I'll give it a try.

    What I can tell you about dog photography is if your are antisocial and have anxiety, you need to get over it. You need to interact with the client, because a dog listens to client more than a photographer. If you are afraid of aggressive dogs, then dog photography is not for you, because you will get bitten. You have to think safety and safety is always come first. When I photographed my sister's dogs, one of her dogs seemed very friendly, however, she was attacked by another dog. Then, I tried get this dog on a couch, this dog growled at me. This dog is very powerful and could take me down easily. You have to be very calmed and know how to handle a dog's aggression.

    When I photographed my first client's dog. Her dog barked at me, because I'm just a random stranger entered her house. This dog got very defensive. It is a good thing I was so calmed and the client was able to control her dog's anger. And everything went so smooth.

    So if you decided to become a dog photographer, learn about dog behaviors. Volunteer at your local shelter and work with dogs. There are plenty of aggressive dogs in the shelter. They will teach you how to look for signs of aggression and how to be safe. Every dog is difference. Some dogs are bred to be aggressive, some dogs have troubling histories, and some dogs are just quite friendly.

    Just keep shooting and have fun. Don't start your business yet. You need to build a full confidence first, and things will get easier.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. table1349

    table1349 Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2006
    Messages:
    0
    Likes Received:
    3
    On the other end of the spectrum is the business aspect. The minute you accept payment your status changes in many ways that you need to be prepared for up front.

    You need to have a business plan for starting this business, even if it is a part time endeavor. You don't list you location, but you need to know if you need a business license to operate.

    You need to be prepared to collect all necessary taxes, how and when they are transferred to the appropriate government entities. You should at least create an LLC for your business or incorporate as is applicable for your location.

    You need to have business insurance in place that covers your business. Once you do a paid shoot you are no longer considered practicing a hobby. Your home owner insurance or other personal insurance will no longer cover you or your equipment. You also need liability insurance to cover anything that happens in the operation of that business. If you think you are just doing a few animal shoots you need to understand that any claim, once you accept money on a personal insurance policy will be insurance fraud.

    You need to know your prices and have them set. With this you need to have in place a contract for you clients to sign. This needs to be drawn up by an attorney that practices in this form of corporate law. Just because someone writes something in a contract does not mean that it will be legal or binding. That is what a good attorney is for.

    You need to be prepared to pay your self employment tax to the federal government.

    These are some of the major things you need to be prepared for up front before you accept you very first dollar.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Jamesaz

    Jamesaz TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Phoenix,AZ.
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Just one more thing: Our local animal shelter has web photos of animals for adoption that use a backdrop to isolate. They feel it makes the animals easier to adopt. You might want to try to do volunteer photos at a shelter near you for practice. For whatever it's worth.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  8. AnimalFreak

    AnimalFreak TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit

    I know I need to get over my anxiety. It isn't going to get me anywhere in life. It's easier said than done, but a job, especially one that I can enjoy, will force me to deal with it.

    I do enjoy photographing cats the most, but I have a dog and I've had experience with dogs. I might not be the calmest person, but I am rational and I would like to set up a day to meet the animal before doing anything else. That way they can get used to me being there and I won't be a complete stranger. I've done a little volunteer work already though the shelter I volunteer at seems to harbor a lot of very friendly or shy dogs rather than aggressive ones. In fact, in my trips there, I've only seen perhaps a couple of somewhat aggressive dogs.



    There's all the things that I get confused with. I'm definitely going to have to do more research on this stuff. I just didn't even know where to start. What to research, what I might need, etc. I'm really very unfamiliar with all the business related things, but I figured I wouldn't ever be if I didn't try. I came to this site since it's not as though I have anyone to turn to ask for advice. I think a cousin of mine has a company and my dad has his own business so he can help with some of it, but he's the only person who's also interested in photography and he hasn't been doing it much longer than I have. So thanks for bringing it all up. Even reading about it makes me nervous, but it seems like a great opportunity. I mean, if you can make money off of something you love doing, then why wouldn't you want to? But, of course, nothing is every simple. Thanks for the help. I'll have to look into it some more.
     
  9. AnimalFreak

    AnimalFreak TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit

    I'm going hopefully this weekend to take pictures of the cats at the shelter I occasionally volunteer at. They said they have a volunteer team and don't really need me to take pictures for them, but they did give me permission to it for myself. I'm not sure about other shelters though. I don't really want anything to do with kill shelters and many of them are just so dark and gloomy.
     
  10. tecboy

    tecboy No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,954
    Likes Received:
    353
    Location:
    San Jose, Cali, The Heart of Silicon Valley
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    When I was volunteering in the shelter, they made me take a test before I can qualified as a dog volunteer. Shy dogs do get aggressive. If you approach a shy dog, a shy dog will bite you.

    If you take pictures of a friendly dog with your SL1, a friendly dog gets confused and barked at you. Even friendly dogs do get scared once they see a foreign object like your SL1 or a flash.
     
  11. tecboy

    tecboy No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,954
    Likes Received:
    353
    Location:
    San Jose, Cali, The Heart of Silicon Valley
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Dog has different behaviors. If you can recognize these behaviors, then you will be okay.

    How To Read Your Dog's Body Language

    The black dog on the right. She used to be very friendly to other dogs and people. Ever since she was bitten by another dog at the dog training class, she is not the same. She gets aggressive when she sees other dogs. She walks away when people are around. If you try to approach her, she will growl at you.
    _MG_1867.jpg


    This dog barking at me when I entered a client's house. I was not even that scared. After a while when I set up the lighting, she got very nosy and snooping around my equipment.
    _86A6834.jpg
     
  12. AnimalFreak

    AnimalFreak TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit



    I would like to point out that a shy or fearful dog and an aggressive dog are very different. A shy dog can be dangerous because he/she is unpredictable and can act out in fear, but is not aggressive. An aggressive dog is dangerous because he/she will attack and acts on something other than fear. I am aware of dog body language. I grew up with a Malamute mix, I have a Chihuahua mix now, people in my family have and have had dogs. My uncle used to have a rescue dog who was probably abused in her previous home and was very nervous. She was also a friend to me.

    But it also seems to me that the owner of the dog will know him/her best. They ought to know what their dog will be okay with and I doubt you'd simply invite someone over if you know your dog is aggressive towards other people.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1

Share This Page