Podcast Episode 39: Improve Your Pet Photography with Nicole Begley of Nicole Begley Photography

Welcome to Wear Wag Repeat Podcast Episode 39: Nicole Begley of Nicole Begley Photography  turned her expertise in that industry into an educational empire! I hope she doesn’t mind me referring to it that way, but when you build up a Facebook group to 8,000 members, I think you’re at empire status! We discuss photography tips, productivity apps, business advice and of course we talked about her rescue dog. If you’d like to improve your pet photography (either for business or as a hobby) then this episode will be super helpful!


Nicole Begley is a zoological animal trainer turned pet photographer and educator.  She is the founder of Hair of the Dog, an online community in which she empowers pet photographers to turn their dreams into reality and helps them create successful and profitable businesses. She established Nicole Begley Photography in Pittsburgh in 2010 but now serves the market of Charlotte, NC. She has also authored a book “Pet and Equine Photography for Everyone”, which is available on Amazon. Nicole shares her home with her husband, two small humans, and her Puerto Rican rescue dog Zoey.  Oh yes, she is also Chief of Staff to Emma the cat. She is the creator of the #selfiedog series, a travel addict, and chocolate martini connoisseur.

(00:00) Intro
(00:29) Introducing Nicole Begley of Nicole Begley Photography
(02:48) How Nicole got started in pet photography
(05:00) What pet photographer excursions look like
(07:40) Tips for getting good pet photos
(10:59) Find out if you need to know photoshop for good images
(12:10) How Nicole started educating other pet photographers
Nicole’s recommendation for people creating online courses
(15:23) Apps that make Nicole’s life easier
(17:50) Advice for future pet photographers
(22:04) How Nicole created a Facebook group of over 8,000 people
(26:25) The meeting between Nicole and her pet, Zoe
(29:23) Where you can find Nicole Begley Photography


TORI: How did you get started in pet photography?

Nicole: My first career for about 13 years was a zoological animal trainer. I worked with everything from birds, primates, marine animals and a ton of amazing dream animals. But I was ready for something that could be my own entrepreneurial venture. I realized that I could have a photography business and started doing families and pets because I thought there was no way I could make just pets a business. So the first five years of my business, I did both families and pets. Then the past 3 years or so, I’ve been exclusive to dogs and horses with an occasional cat.

TORI: You’ve made of business out of teaching others how to start their own pet photography business. What are your top 3 pieces of advice for someone who wants to pursue that?

Nicole: The first piece of advice is decide what you want to do with it. Do you want to make a business or do you really just love the art of it? There is no right or wrong answer – you just have to make a decision. Number two is to find help in making your decision a reality. There are so many different pieces that need to work together like legal, workflows, website, systems, etc…. And lastly, take a good look at your pricing, sales, and marketing. If you’re not marketing to find clients, you’re not pricing appropriately or if you’re not building your business on decent systems, then you’re just going to be running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

TORI:Are there any apps that make your life easier or better?

Nicole: Well I host my courses on Kajabi and I use Trello to keep up with everything. I literally would be lost without either one of them. I keep everything in Trello and use it for monthly reminders, quarterly taxes, and client workflows. Trello is very project-centric and my favorite part is you can create templates. I have the same workflow for every client so I just upload the template and it populates the due dates.

TORI: You have a Facebook group with over 8,000 members, how do you manage such a big group? Is there a strategy to how often you post or what you share there?

Nicole: The Facebook group started on a whim in the beginning when Facebook Groups were still new. It was kind of a happy accident where I created a group for people to talk amongst each other. I’m honestly not exactly sure how I was able to keep that culture since it grew so much. I used to systematize the posts but I think people got sick of the same thing every week. I have a Trello board of all my ideas for content. I just try to post something in the group every day even if it’s resharing old content. I set a timer and engage for 15 minutes. It’s that simple.

TORI: What types of resources do you have for people wanting to learn more about pet photography?

Nicole: Check out my blog called Hair of the Dog Photography to get free tutorials as well as a free training around the 5 simple tricks to drastically improve your images. You can even find Tori sharing some incredible Instagram hacks.  


Find Nicole Begley Photography:

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Tori Mistick is a blogger, podcaster and certified Canine Enrichment Specialist. You might call her a professional dog mom! Tori has a soft spot for senior dogs and loves the color pink. Based in Pittsburgh, PA.


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