China Daily | Updated: 2021-10-13 07:46
A lensman shoots pictures of a dolled-up pet dog at a photo studio in Changchun, Jilin province. ZHANG YAO/CHINA NEWS SERVICE
Pet owners just like to express their love for their furry family members. Pet hotels and pet birthday cakes are just a couple of examples. The latest trend is the pet photography business to capture moments of furry friends in action.
"Previously, most of my clients only asked me to photograph their pets on big days such as birthdays and anniversaries," Zhang said.
"Today, pet owners see it as a regular way to openly express their love for the family's four-legged members. They will schedule a pet photoshoot anytime they prefer to do so."
Zhang offers both in-home and outdoor pet photoshoot services, sometimes charging over 1,000 yuan ($155) to nearly 2,000 yuan per session.
"Fueled by the booming pet market in China, I've got more clients than a few years ago," Zhang said. Most are females born in the 1990s. I've taken photos of more than 30 pet cats for Christmas last year."
A 2020 white paper from pet industry analytical company Pethadoop showed over 100 million pet dogs and cats lived in China's urban areas in 2020, up 1.7 percent from the previous year. The pet market for dogs and cats was also worth 206.5 billion yuan in 2020.
According to the report, more than 70 percent of pet dog and cat owners were born in the 1980s and 1990s.
Tracy Yang, a 29-year-old pet cat parent based in Beijing, is interested in displaying professional photos of her cat. During the past two years, she's spent nearly 2,000 yuan on photos of her with the cat from Elefoto, a fledgling photography studio in Beijing.
"My cat is part of the family," Yang said. "By capturing daily moments on film, I've amassed keepsakes to cherish forever."
Yang is just one of an increasing number of young and affluent pet owners willing to pay a premium for high-quality images of their furry friends.
Such demand has spurred new business opportunities for many young portrait photography startups such as Elefoto and Naive Blue.
"The demand for pet photography is increasing," said Chong Xiaojie, founder of Elefoto. "Unlike older generations, many young pet owners have higher standards for general quality of life. They are willing to spend money on pets and treat them as family members or close friends."
Elefoto now offers pet photo services as well as family portraits with pets. Prices vary from 499 yuan to 2,994 yuan.
To receive professional photos, consumers first need to book a reservation online. Once they arrive at the studio, professional stylists will apply makeup for pet owners, and staff members will help both pet owners and pets to choose their styles and clothes.
Looking ahead, Chong believes there's still a lot of potential to expand in the pet photography sector. He said Elefoto will continuously improve its offerings to meet pet owners' specific needs.
"Pet portrait photography is a new, niche market in China," Chong said.
"With the expansion of the pet economy and the rising number of pet owners, the new sector will continue to experience rapid growth in the future."