Dogs. Birds. Horses. Ferrets? Sure why not! Pet and animal photography brings with it all sorts of animals, however, it also drags along some legal issues that photographers specializing in this area should be vigilant of. Some of these seem common sense but can have an elevated risk to your business if not adhered to at another level.
- Be legit. Any type of photographer should be legit, but when working with a sensitive market, such as pets, it is even more crucial for you to be a registered and legitimate business with the local governing and taxing agencies.
- Gain the appropriate permits. Ensure you have obtained the appropriate shooting and animal permits for the location you will be shooting. Every jurisdiction (state, county, city, park, etc.) differs in the types and sizes of a variety of breeds allowed.
- Make sure you’re legally covered. Legally covering your business can range from the business structure chosen to legal contracts used with the client. Be sure to choose a structure that shields your individual person from liability such as by choosing a limited liability company or corporation structure. (Insert from Nicole: If you are in need of a comprehensive pet photography specific contract, model release, or other legal document click over to Rachel’s site and check out her Pet Photography Bundle! You can also purchase individual products if you only need one or two things….)
- Go in uneducated. Going into a session with pets without education and experience in a variety of types and breeds can end in disaster. Not only can it risk the safety of yourself, client and pet, but can lead to negative word-of-mouth for your business.
- Skimp on insurance. Having liability insurance is a major factor of being a photographer and business owner. Pet photographers should take it one step further to ensure their liability insurance covers pets and abides by state laws in which the business is active. (Some states classify pets only as property and do not afford increased benefits to owners) If something should happen to you or the client’s pet and insurance fails to fill the monetary gap it could you’re your business at great risk.
Getting these priorities in order will set you up for barking reviews and mixing in the right marketing will inspire a business that starts bringing in the bones!
Rachel Brenke is the lawyer/photographer owner of The Law Tog, a site is dedicated to providing legal, marketing and biz advice to photography businesses with maximum efficiency and results. Through business consulting services and her published book “The Laundry List: A Mother’s Guide to Balancing Family and Business” Rachel provides guidance in practical ways for photography business owners to succeed.