With digital technology for photography, marketing your photo archives to companies for inclusion in marketing campaigns or other uses has never been easier. Many companies, including pet product companies, will now search the Internet through microphotography stock sites and other online galleries looking for new imagery. If you have a hard drive full of cute pet photos, there may be company out there just waiting to hear from you.
Look through your photo archive and select pictures you think may be appropriate or interesting to pet product companies. Select the best of your archive and complete any editing that may be required. Most companies either have an internal art department or will use a separate company to prepare any artwork that is to be used for their advertising, and they will edit your image to meet their requirements. At this point you want to do some basic editing, making sure the exposure is correct on the photo. Crop the photo, so the subject is the main feature of the photo. Remove any dust that may be on your sensor and is present in your picture.
Keyword your photos. Internet search engines cannot see your photo, so they rely on descriptive keywords embedded in the photograph to find your picture on the net. You can keyword your photo through a photo editing program. If you do not use a photo editing program, you can also add keywords to photos through whichever viewer program you use. Good keywords will describe your photo, and they may include words like puppy, dog, cat, kitten, cute, cuddly, soft, furry, active, running, jumping, healthy and so on. Try to think in terms of what the picture says to you when you look at it. What is in the picture, what is the subject doing in the picture and what does the subject look like in the picture.
Create an online gallery. There are a number of different places where you can upload your photos so they can be displayed on the Internet. A Flickr account that is free to set up and upload to will serve as a good place to post your photos.
Upload your photos to your online gallery. Give your gallery a good descriptive name, for example—"Cute Puppy Photos" or something similar.
Research and contact different pet product companies located in North America and in other companies. See if you can get an email for either their advertising or communications department. Send them a polite and informative email, and attach a link to your online gallery so they can view your pictures.
Negotiate usage and price. Most photos are sold on a “Royalty Free” basis. This means they will pay your a price based on a one time usage agreement based on the size of the picture they want to use and where it is going to be used. The price varies depending on the size of the campaign. A photo used by a local pet store in a community paper will likely not earn you as much as a photo used by a national company that will use the picture across its entire advertising campaign. If you are unsure about the details of the transaction, consult a lawyer for additional advice.
Send the photo to the company. After you have negotiated acceptable terms and the paperwork is all signed, send the photo to the company per their requirements.
Since 2002 Mark Spowart has been working as a freelance writer and photographer in London, Canada. He has publication credits for writing and/or photography in Canada, The United States, Europe and Norway, with such titles as "The Globe & Mail," "The National Post," Canada News Wire, Sun Media and "Business Edge" magazine.