Can I Make Money Selling Pictures Of My Cat?

Cats are some of the most popular pets, with over 94 million cats living in households across the United States. With the rise of social media, cute cat photos and videos often go viral, capturing the hearts and laughs of millions of viewers online. This has opened up new opportunities for cat owners to profit from their furry friends by selling cat photos and videos.

One particularly lucrative example is Grumpy Cat, whose permanent scowl captured the internet’s attention. At the height of her fame, Grumpy Cat’s owner was making upwards of $100,000 a month from merchandise, sponsorships, and appearances, all stemming from a single funny photo that went viral. This serves as an inspirational example of just how profitable catering to the internet’s cat obsession can be.

Pet Photography as a Profitable Business

Pet photography has become a large and rapidly growing business in recent years. According to market research from IbisWorld, the pet photography services industry in the US generated revenue of $28.5 million in 2021, which is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 10.2% to reach $43.8 million by 2026 ( This growth is being driven by pet owners increasingly treating their animals as part of the family and being willing to spend more on services like professional photography for their pets.

The humanization of pets has led to owners seeking professional photos of their animals for holiday cards, calendars, canvasses, and other keepsakes. As pets become more central to family life, the demand for pet photography services rises. Photographers can capitalize on this growing market by offering specialized sessions for pet photos and marketing their services to pet owners.

With the growth in demand and low barriers to entry in the pet photography market, this represents a profitable business opportunity for budding photographers. Those with a passion for animals and some technical photography skills can develop expertise in pet photography and build a sustainable and rewarding business.

Selling Cat Photos Online

With the rise of social media and print-on-demand services, selling cat photos online has become an increasingly popular way for pet owners to make money. Some of the top platforms for selling cat photos include:

Etsy – The online marketplace allows you to set up a shop and sell printed cat photos, digital downloads, calendars, mugs, t-shirts and more showcasing your feline. Etsy handles payment processing and printing/shipping of physical goods.

Stock photo sites like Getty Images and Fine Art America – These sites allow you to upload cat images and get paid when someone licenses the photos. Top photos can earn up to $100 per image download.

Instagram – Build an audience on Instagram and promote cat photo prints, calendars, mugs and other products either through your Etsy shop or print providers like Printful. Use relevant hashtags and post consistently.

The key is to get creative with products, focus on quality over quantity, and leverage platforms to handle order fulfillment. With millions of cat lovers online, selling cat photos can become a lucrative endeavor.

Pricing Your Cat Photos

There are several factors that impact how you should price your cat photos, including uniqueness, image quality, and demand.

If you have a rare or unusual cat breed that few people have photographed, you can charge a premium. For example, photos of exotic cats like Savannah cats, Toygers, or Devon Rex can demand higher pricing than more common domestic cats since there is less competition. According to this article, unique or funny cat photos tend to sell for $50-$100.

Image quality is also important. Sharp, well-composed photos with good lighting will sell for more than dark, blurry snapshots. Using a quality camera and lens and mastering pet photography skills will allow you to demand higher prices.

Understanding demand is also key. Trendy or seasonal images like kittens, black cats, orange cats, and Christmas-themed photos will likely have greater demand. Conducting market research on popular online platforms can provide insight into current trends and pricing.

It’s recommended to start on the lower end around $5-10 per photo when first starting out, gradually increasing your rates as you build your reputation and portfolio. Exclusive rights to an image can sell for $100-300 on average. Be sure to price your work competitively based on research of current market rates.

Building an Audience

Having a strong social media presence and marketing strategy is crucial for building an engaged audience as a pet influencer. According to this article, platforms like Instagram and TikTok allow pet influencers to directly connect with their followers on a regular basis through photos, videos, Stories, and livestreams. The most successful cat influencers put effort into creating high-quality, consistent content that their audience loves seeing. They also use hashtags strategically to get their content seen by cat lovers outside their existing follower base.

In addition to organic social media growth, influencers can utilize paid promotions to expand their reach. As explained by this source, running paid partnerships and ad campaigns with relevant brands allows access to new audiences that may not have discovered you otherwise. However, it’s important for pet influencers to remain authentic to their brand when participating in sponsorships. Followers are drawn to pet accounts because they feel real and trustworthy.

Building a loyal, engaged following takes time and consistency. But by leveraging social media algorithms, utilizing paid growth methods at strategic times, and providing value to your audience, it’s possible to grow a highly monetizable platform as a pet influencer.

Taking High Quality Cat Photos

To take high quality photos of your cat, you’ll need a good camera. Any digital camera with manual settings will work, but a DSLR camera is ideal. You’ll want to use a fast shutter speed to capture clear shots of moving cats. A shutter speed of 1/250 second or faster is best. Adjust your aperture for good depth of field – smaller f/stops like f/4 give more of the cat in focus. You’ll likely need to increase your ISO to allow for fast shutter speeds in indoor lighting. Expect to use ISO settings of 800 or higher.

When photographing your cat, get down on their level. Shoot from a low angle to portray their point of view. Try different angles and positions, like laying on your belly on the floor. Using a tripod can help stabilize your shots. Continuous shooting mode is very useful for capturing fast-moving cats in spurts of activity. A zoom lens lets you adjust framing without having to move yourself and potentially startling your cat.

Patience is key when photographing cats. Wait for natural expressions and moments of curiosity when your cat investigates something. Get to know when your cat is most active during the day for the best photo opportunities. Use treats, toys, or sounds to attract your cat’s attention and elicit interesting reactions. Cats feel most comfortable in their own territory, so photographing at home will provide you with the best results (

Getting Your Cat to Pose

Getting great photos of your cat requires some training and patience. Here are some tips for posing your cat:

Use treats as positive reinforcement when your cat maintains a pose you want. Hold the treat up and reward your cat with treats when it looks at the camera in the desired position. Break treats into small pieces so you can reward often without overfeeding.

Incorporate toys into the photo shoot. Drag a toy on a string to get your cat’s attention and have it look toward the camera while playing. Catnip toys can also help spark playful energy.

Work in short sessions so your cat doesn’t get bored or frustrated. Stop the session on a positive note after getting a good shot.

Get down on your cat’s level. Shoot from below or beside your cat rather than towering over it. This helps engage your cat with you and the camera.

Go at your cat’s pace and don’t force it into unnatural positions. Be patient and wait for natural movements that show off your cat’s personality.

Make sure your cat is relaxed before starting. Pet it gently and speak soothingly. A calm cat will photograph better than an anxious one.

Try making noises like crinkling paper or ringing a bell to catch your cat’s attention and have it look toward the camera.

Practice makes perfect. The more you work with your cat, the more comfortable it will get with posing for the camera. Be patient and creative, and you’ll get great shots.

Managing the Cat Photo Business

Running a cat photo business takes dedication and organization. Here are some key things to consider:

Time Commitment: Photographing cats, editing photos, responding to clients, posting online, etc. takes a significant time investment. Be prepared to put in long hours, especially at first. Consider starting part-time if you have another job.

Expenses: There are costs for camera equipment, props, web hosting, marketing, and more. Create a business budget and have some savings to cover initial expenses before profits roll in. Ongoing costs like web hosting and advertising will need to be covered by sales [1].

Paperwork: Track all business income and expenses. Consider forming an LLC or S-corp for liability protection. Save receipts for equipment and track mileage. Hire an accountant to handle bookkeeping, taxes, and filings.

Taxes: As a business owner, you need to pay estimated quarterly taxes on your earnings. An accountant can advise you on tax deductions you can take for business expenses. Expect to set aside 20-30% of earnings for taxes.

Scaling Up: Over time, consider hiring photo assistants, renting studio space, purchasing more gear, and expanding your service area. Developing an online course or selling digital products like Lightroom presets can also grow your business. Stay organized and reinvest profits thoughtfully as you scale up.

Case Studies

Many amateur photographers have found commercial success selling cat photos online. Here are three inspiring examples:

Walter Chandoha became known as the “Godfather of Cat Photography” by shooting studio portraits of cats in the 1940s-1960s. His images were so popular they were published internationally and used for Andy Warhol’s 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy art book.

Andrew Marttila built a large Instagram following under @IamTheGreatWent by taking creative and humorous photos of his own cats. Brand sponsorships and merchandise sales now support him full time.

Danielle Spires left a career in commercial photography to focus on pet portraiture. She books over 500 animal photography sessions per year through her site


So in summary, while it is possible to make money selling pictures of your cat online, it requires patience and effort to build an audience and get your photos selling.

The keys to success include:

  • Taking high quality, well composed photos of your cat in appealing poses and settings
  • Creating social media accounts and consistently posting to build an audience.
  • Offering prints, calendars, mugs and other cat photo merchandise.
  • Promoting your photos through social media, online marketplaces, and local events.
  • Pricing competitively but not undervaluing your work.
  • Delivering excellent customer service.

With persistence and great cat photos, you can potentially turn your feline friend into a nice side income. But keep expectations realistic, ascompetition is fierce. Focus on your passion, and the money may follow.

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