How To Get Started With Pet Photography with Adam Goldberg
People LOVE their pets! I have been photographing pets since 2013 when it was just a hobby, and it became my full-time job in 2017.
I own and run AGoldPhoto Pet Photography Studio in Tampa, Florida with my wife, Mary.
Pet portraits are popular with pet owners because pets don’t live as long as we want them to and pet parents want a way to remember their pets, even after they’re gone.
Pets are often challenging to photograph for their owners because they won’t sit still or “they always look away” when their owner pulls out their phone.
I started my pet photography career by working at an animal shelter. My background is in marketing and I was originally hired to manage the website and social media. Once the website redesign was finished, my supervisor asked me to take over the photography program too. At that time, I knew nothing about photography or how to work with animals.
It was a struggle at first, but after watching countless videos online and practicing on the shelter animals, I got really good at it. Most weeks, I spent 4-5 hours a day taking photos of scared and nervous shelter animals. After so many hours of practice, I learned what worked and what didn’t.
The animal shelter was in South Florida and taking adoption photos outside was challenging. The lighting was never consistent and it was VERY hot out, especially in the middle of the day. Midday is an awful time of day to take photos outdoors without any lighting equipment. The pets were also distracted by the other smells, which made it harder outside too.
After lots of trial and error outside, I decided to use a small room with a window inside the shelter to take the adoption photos, but eventually switched to a basic lighting kit.
I was at an animal shelter conference where I met someone from a large pet food brand that partnered with Westcott to give shelters a free lighting kit. I continue to use Westcott lighting to this day and I am proud to be a Westcott Top Pro.
Once it was time to leave my job at the animal shelter, I took a corporate marketing job at a software company in Tampa and realized quickly that it wasn’t for me. I missed working with animals, so I went to the local animal shelter in Tampa to start volunteering and taking photos of pets again.
It has been quite the journey with lots of trial and error to get where I am today, so if you’re looking to add pet portraits to your offering, here are a few tips to help you get started.