It’s no secret that running a photography business requires us to wear MANY hats.  We need to know the craft of photography and post-processing, animal behavior, website design, accounting and pricing, sales strategies, customer service, and so…much…more. 

With so much to learn, it is next to impossible for us to learn it all ourselves.  Yes, we can google as needed but I’ve found that nothing works as well as an investment in an educational program that is going to lay the steps out for you one-by-one to give you the best chances for success. 

I’ve invested in a few, and I’m still investing in my continuing education today.  I’m sharing with you my actual education line item since the start of my business. 

  • 2017 – 4,725
  • 2016 – 10,600
  • 2015 – 14,600
  • 2014 – 6,700
  • 2013 – 4,250
  • 2012 – 8,160
  • 2011 – 1,170

Total… $50,205

As you can see, I’ve spent a pretty penny on my education…but you know what?  That has come back to me more than 10 fold.  I know for a fact that my business would not be where it is today without making investments in my education. 

I’m not suggesting that you go all willy nilly and sign up for whatever program that you come across. It’s important to have an education plan and to ask yourself what it is that you really need to learn and focus on RIGHT NOW.

Here are just a few options that are available to you and who they may be best for…

In-person workshops:

Hair of the Dog Retreat – I teach this retreat with Terran Bayer from Westway Studio and we are headed to the sugary sand beaches of Florida’s Gulf Coast in February.  This is best for someone that wants to focus on both the craft AND business of pet photography.  We will be hosting two sessions, one for newer businesses and one for established businesses.  Details here.



P4/Luxe Retreat – This retreat will be held in January 2018 in glorious Puerto Aventuras, Mexico and is hosted by J.Nichole Smith of Working with Dog, along with a few other incredible facilitators.  It is for the established pet photographer that is looking to get some mindset shifts, break your business through to a new level, and leave with your full 2018 marketing plan in the can.  Details here.  If you sign up, please tell Nic that I sent you! 

Online Classes:

The Business of Pet Photography – One of the reasons that I see so many pet photographers struggle is that one or two aspects of their business is out of sync.  Maybe they have great work and lots of clients, but are not priced profitably.  Maybe they have great work and a business set up for success, but their website just doesn’t convert to inquiries.  Maybe they have great work and good pricing, but are leaving oodles of money on the table with their sales process.  Maybe everything is ready to go in their business, but they just can’t figure out how to reach the right clients.  The Business of Pet Photography was created to walk you step-by-step through the creation of a profitable business.  It is best for pet photographers in their first few years of business who aren’t yet earning the profit that they would like to.  It’s also perfect for anyone that is just starting on this pet photography journey as you can set your business up to succeed from the start!  Details here. 

Post-Processing for Pet Photographers – Post-processing our images is almost as important as capturing the image itself!  Post-Processing for Pet Photographers is an online class that I developed with Heather Lahtinen, an Adobe certified expert in Photoshop.  Heather is a master at walking you through Lightroom and Photoshop.  She explains the power of the library module in Lightroom and goes over every single slider and option in the develop module, allowing you to do 95% of your editing within that program.  In Photoshop, we take you only through the techniques that you need to know.  You will also learn different strategies for capturing your images at the session because of how you can manage them in post-processing.  This class is best for beginner to intermediate Lightroom and Photoshop users.  Details here. 

Real Shoots by Charlotte Reeves – Are you wanting to improve your craft but unable to make it to an in-person workshop?  Charlotte has created a series of videos to help you do just that.  She will be doing sessions with trained dogs, untrained dogs, indoors, outdoors, and in all sorts of different shooting conditions.  Not only do you get to watch her work through a session, but you also get to see how she edits some of the images!  These videos can be purchased one at a time or you can purchase the bundle and save.  Details here…

Professional Pooch – If you are looking for educational videos on a variety of topics relating to your pet photography business, check out Terran Bayer and Allison Shamrell at Professional Pooch.  Their videos include full pet photography sessions complete with shooting, editing, and in-person sales, how to have successful mini-sessions, showcasing your business at local events, working with competitors and charities, session workflows, partnering with local businesses, an introduction to branding and websites, how to hire assistants and so much more.  Check it out here…




Brand Brilliantly – Is your business in good shape, but you are struggling to find your target client? Does your brand need a little kick in the butt? Kim Hartz has created an online class that will help you develop brand clarity, communicate to your ideal client, and create a brand voice that holds its own.  Brand Brilliantly will be open for enrollment again soon.  In the meantime, you can find out more about it here.

A few other options are online learning platforms such as KelbyOne and CreativeLive, as well as conferences like Imaging USA and WPPI.  While the majority of the content is not pet photography specific, there are still plenty of things that you can take away from photographers in other genres. 

I would love to know what your most impactful educational investment has been!  Let us know in the comments!