Pet Photography and Stock

posted on 22nd of may, 2012

In Ellen Boughn's book about microstock "Microstock Money Shots - turning downloads into dollars with microstock photography" she has a list of subjects to avoid.

One of interest to me, since I've been taking a lot of pet photos over the past few months, is "Your Pet". Here is what she has to say:

"Your pet, unless the animal is very ugly, really funny, and unbelievably cute or is a prop in photos with people. A photo of your sleeping cat is especially boring."

Its true, any subject be it a tomato or a pet that is accessible to many people is going to be shot to death so one has to bring something extra special to the table. This is what I've been attempting with shots of my dog and some of his friends.

One photographer that I've come to know here on Dreamstime that has had a lot of success with images of his dog and cat is Michael Pettigrew.

Michael's dog and cat have provided some of the most popular pet shots on DT and recently I got this local advertising magazine called "4 Legs and a Tail". It articles on pet care and is sponsored by local businesses. I spotted at least three uses of Michael's images in the ads. Talk about a top model - that dog is famous!

The key to Michael's success, besides getting into stock during the heyday, is positioning his pets in situations that are useful in advertising. Basically the market for pet shots is going to be calendars, cards, blogs or advertising. For the card and calendar market you'll want something impossibly cute or funny. Blogs are most likely looking for something to illustrate a petcare or how to and advertising wants to be able to put their message with the photo.

When photographing your pet you need to look beyond the snapshot and think about the potential usage of the image to buyer.

Comments (13)

Posted by Dmccale on June 14, 2012
thanks peanut you have some great shoots also
Posted by Peanutroaster on June 14, 2012
Hi Dmccale - I see that "Sleeping Old Dog" is your second top seller. Its a great shot and a beautiful dog! Very encouraging.
Posted by Dmccale on June 14, 2012
I agree with Gmargittai on this.I have sold several of my dogs just sitting there.Thanks for the blog
Posted by Peanutroaster on May 25, 2012
Thanks Wordplanet and what you say is true. Add to the list - macro shots of ladybugs. Get those ladybugs to hold up a sign or wear a headset and then you have a stock shot. ;-)
Posted by Wordplanet on May 25, 2012
Your images are excellent.
I think the advice against shooting those things accessible to everyone is aimed primarily at beginners - and often applies to things like flowers - they are all beautiful - or pets - we all think ours are the cutest - or sunsets - where the average person might think their simple snapshot is good enough for stock - because most photos of these things are acceptable - the key for stock is to go beyond what the average person can do with their point and shoot.
I've noticed that a lot of these things are big sellers, but coming into stock after there are already thousands of photos of these subjects online, you really have to do something extraordinary.
As your photos show, it can be done. Nice work.
Posted by Peanutroaster on May 24, 2012
See what I mean? Enough already! - ;-)
Posted by freephoton on May 24, 2012
I have seen this photo of Michael's dog and cat printed in big here, in Paris subway! It was used in a campain for adoption by the french 'spa' (society for the protection of animals) (a thumbnail of the add here: http://bit.ly/Lj2nnf) Definitely a success! :)
Posted by Giannit on May 24, 2012
great shots....
Posted by FabioConcetta on May 23, 2012
The photo of the dog and cat together is wonderful, is also excellent achievement, well done!
Posted by Peanutroaster on May 22, 2012
Hi Gmargittai, Yes but surely there are tons and tons of pet phots out there that are not good for stock.
Posted by Gmargittai on May 22, 2012
Who am I to criticize Ellen Boughn? I think she may be wrong on this one.
As people become more alienated and more of us live alone, keeping a pet becomes more and more popular. I don't want to go into analyzing the reasons of why this is happening, but the "pet industry" is growing fast. Even DT noticed this and chose pets as one of their recent assignments.
Posted by smartview27 on May 22, 2012
Beautiful dogs !
Posted by Egomezta on May 22, 2012
Your images are great, good luck.

Comments (13)

This article has been read 1118 times. 2 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Peanutroaster, Michael Pettigrew.

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