Breaking into the niche market of pet photography

FOR five agonising hours, Vince Tan scuttled around on his hands and knees in front of the golden retriever, trying to capture a “Kodak moment” of the dog. 

He tried everything to get it to co-operate – making noises, calling out its name and rattling toys. 

After six rolls of film, he had only a few measly presentable photos to show for it. 

From this inauspicious practice session four years ago, Tan, 28, has now moved on to open Eamie's Studio, a business dedicated to taking pet portraits. 

Now, he needs just over an hour to complete an assignment. 

Pet photography has a niche clientele. There are fewer than 10 such photographers operating in the country. 

Tan offers packages ranging from S$88 (RM185) to S$178 (RM374), while Zulkifli Daud, a freelance pet photographer for 1-1/2 years, charges S$35 (RM74) for four 4R-sized photos. 

Business is not booming yet, but both photographers hope the idea will catch on with pet owners.  

Since opening his studio three months ago, Tan has photographed 12 pets. Zulkifli does about two shoots a month. They supplement their income by taking photos at weddings and other functions. 

One satisfied pet owner is Celine Goh, who wanted professional shots taken of her shih tzu.  

Said the 31-year-old pianist: “Taking photos of dogs yourself is not a good idea because their eyes tend to reflect light better than human eyes. On the photo, it comes out as an ugly white spot on the dog's eyes.” 

Cats are Zulkifli's speciality. His clients mostly want to put pictures of their cats on the Internet to catch the eye of cat breeders who are looking for desirable traits.  

Tan thinks mastering the art of pet photography will make him better at snapping photos of humans. – The Straits Times/ Asia News Network  

For another perspective from The Straits Times, a partner of Asia News Network, click here.

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