Studio style portraits of dogs, i.e. those taken against a plain white background, may not be as interesting as, say, your dog splashing around in the sea or chasing a stick in the park, but they are the best type of photos if you want to make some money with cute shots of your pets.
If you take a photo of your dog, or any pet for that matter, doing something (like playing, eating, begging etc.) it becomes a very unique and personal photo that will strike a chord and have meaning to you, but it won’t mean a thing to anyone else. These personal photos are perfect for displaying at home for your own personal use but they are not commercial and it is unlikely you will be able to sell many of them (you will potentially sell one or two) and make any money.
Studio style portraits of dogs and pets is a totally different matter. By placing your dog or pet up against a white background it makes a more generic, and hence commercial photo. As an example, whilst you can easily identify that the pug in the photo is your bundle of joy if you give it to a random person in the street it will be “just another pug”, which makes the photo perfect for making some money.
There a millions of people around the world with the same breed of dog as you, and all of these love their dog just as much as you do. Whilst many of these people will have photos of their dogs they will be snap shots that are likely to have exposure problems, sharpness issues, focus issues, white balance issues…… the list goes one, i.e. all round poor photos. Since you know how to get the best from your camera and can take photos that professional photographers would be proud of, you can help these people out and provide them with decent photo they can use to print on several different products, such as mugs, mousepads, postcards, pillows, blankets, phone cases and teapots to name just a few.
There are some people I know who are like “I can’t use photos of Buster (or whatever their dog is called) to make money, it just isn’t right”, however I can’t see any problems with using photos of my beloved pug to make a bit of extra money. I, and Charlie (my pug), feel we are doing something for all those pug owners who struggle to capture good photos, and if photos of Charlie makes other people happy, it’s all good. I have to point out that I have other photos of Charlie that I would never upload for sale, and these are the ones that make him truly personal to me. Besides these are the non-commercial photos of Charlie being Charlie.
I have got some studio style portraits of Charlie that I will never upload for sale too and these are of him dressed up and looking cute in various costumes and the like. The point I am trying to make is don’t feel bad, or feel like you are selling out if you upload photos of your dog for sale. Besides, all the money you generate you can use to buy your dog treats, like that designer collar your dog has had their eye on for a while or that new comfy dog sofa.
Okay, you have some studio style portraits of your dog and you have both agreed it is okay to sell them the next question is “How to go about selling them?” This is an easy one – use a print on demand store.
Print on demand stores are great because they allow you to upload your dog photos, apply them to several different products (mugs, t-shirts, mousepads, watches and clocks, pillows, necklaces, ornaments, cards, wrapping paper etc.) and then post them to an online market place for sale – and you pay nothing. When someone buys a product with one of your photos you earn a commission and the print on demand store will make the product and ship the product to the customer. Other than upload the photos and decide what products you want to put the photo on you do nothing else.
There are a few print on demand stores however the one I use is Zazzle and I have nothing but praise for it. Do I earn money from Zazzle? Yes I do. How much do I earn from Zazzle? That I am not going to divulge but let’s just say it is more than pocket change. Is it worth using Zazzle to sell photos of my dog? You bet, you won’t regret it and whilst it may take time to start generating sales when you do they will come in thick and fast.
I do have other photos, other than of Charlie, placed on various products in my Zazzle store however out of all my photos my top selling one is of Charlie, which goes to show studio style portraits of dogs do sell, and I think the main reason is because they make great gifts for the owners. I mean, what else do you buy a dog owner who has everything for their birthday or Christmas? That’s right – a product with a generic photo of a dog of the breed they own.
So, the next time someone offers you portraits of your dog against a plain white background take a step back and think about the commercial possibilities before you think it is going to be a boring photo.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.