by Skip Cohen
Meet our two "kids," Lucy and Belle. They've been together every day since we got them at four months. But, most importantly, they joined our family just months before the pandemic in November 2019. Through all those months of hunkering down, they made us laugh and, more importantly, helped us keep our sanity!
Every time Sheila goes out, the pups sit by the front door, waiting for her return.
If you're a pet owner, you completely understand how these two own our hearts. What surprises me is how many of you are doing nothing to help meet the demand for pet photography.
In the hierarchy of why consumers hire a professional photographer, the top three are brides, babies, and pets. This is from a survey Kodak did at least thirty years ago, and I don't believe it's changed. During the pandemic, weddings were down, along with photographing babies and maternity. So the order might have shifted, but here's my point.
Seventy percent of U.S. households, or about 90.5 million families, own a pet, according to the 2021-2022 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA).
For just a second, think about those numbers. Seven out of ten families have at least one pet, and the average per household is estimated at 1.6 -1.8. Like our house, many families have two fur-balls. So, the big question is, are you including pet photography in your business?
Need a little help?
Kay Eskridge has created a remarkable reputation by expanding her brand awareness for pet photography with "ReBARKable Pet Portraits." Her images are outstanding, and she exceeds customer expectations every time! Click on the banner to listen to a podcast we did with Kay on "Mind Your Own Business" near the end of last year.
If Kay's teaching/speaking at an upcoming convention or workshop - RUN. Don't walk to grab a seat. I promise you'll never be disappointed!
Still, looking for other resources? Check out Hair of the Dog Academy with Nicole Bagley. Nicole is always sharing great information to help build stronger skills in working with pets. Four years ago, she held a hands-on workshop here in the Sarasota area, and watching her in action was remarkable.
Regardless of your specialty, there are logical spin-offs that make sense with your target audience. For example, a wedding photographer with excellent skills could logically expand into portraiture with babies, children, and family portraiture. Then you can drill down into boudoir, maternity, headshots, and legacy stories. The list goes on and on with every specialty.
If we learned nothing else through the decline in business brought about by the pandemic, it's the benefits of NOT being a one-trick pony. I'm not suggesting pet photography should be everyone's core business, but it's one aspect of diversity to help you maintain more vital brand awareness. It never hurts to have a few backup plans/skills...especially when it's all aimed at the same target audience.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.