The Best Pet Photography Education Buys for Under $100

I’m sitting here listening to one of my favorite podcasts–Yes, And with Judi Holler–scrolling through an inbox of Black Friday bargains and Cyber Monday super sales when I hear Judi closing out a recent interview with a question that she asks every guest of hers: “What is the best purchase you’ve made under $100 in the last six months?”

Let’s be real: photography can be expensive for both professionals and hobbyists alike. Gear adds up quickly, ranging anywhere from about $500 for an entry-level camera to $4,000+ for a professional-level full setup; basic startup costs typically average around the $10K mark and can skyrocket from there with the addition of studio rental and leases, insurance, legal fees, professional memberships, editing software, storage and backup, accounting, lighting and accessories, education and mentoring, subscription services, advertising–the list goes on.

But just because photography can be expensive doesn’t mean it has to be. For this week’s Photography Blog Circle post in which participants are dishing on their best buys under $100, I’m sharing my best pet photography education purchases that overdeliver in terms of value–and each at under $100.

Disclosure: This post contains the following affiliate links that earn me a commission when you use them. This commission is paid at no additional cost to you.

1. Flourish Academy Membership

If you’ve heard any part of my story, you’ll know that Flourish Academy (FA) founder Heather Lahtinen is 100% the reason I ventured into the wonderfully chaotic, fur-filled business of pet photography back in late 2016. I would not have accelerated my business to the level it has reached without her mentorship and the supportive community and coaches she has established within the FA Members Only private Facebook group.

Built on the belief that there’s room for everyone and on her overwhelming desire to see others succeed, Heather launched the Flourish Academy membership in April 2019, bringing to it her experience as a portrait and award-winning wedding photographer and instructor for the past 16 years. Known throughout the photography community as an editing ninja, she is revolutionary in her approaches to helping photographers and entrepreneurs overcome limiting beliefs, gain confidence in working with their clients, grow their businesses, and of course, the technical know-how required to master their cameras and become proficient in Lightroom and Photoshop.

A growing list of 16 on-demand online courses, ranging from learning the exposure triangle, Lightroom and Photoshop workshops, and website creation to pricing for profitability, pet photography with guest instructor Nicole Begley, and goal-setting and time management for creatives, is just the beginning. Members also benefit from its private Facebook group, live monthly photo critiques and coaching calls, and monthly photo challenges. And get this–all for just $29 a month! Considering that these courses, calls, and bonuses, which are valued at over $1,500 when purchased individually, come with an absolutely zero commitment, seven-day money-back guarantee on your membership…I mean, how can you pass this by?

Click here to join the Flourish Academy via a monthly membership. (Not in the budget quite yet? Join the free FA Community on Facebook!)

2. Hair of the Dog Academy

If I had to choose just one investment that has paid for itself ten billion times over, it’s definitely Nicole Begley’s Hair of the Dog Academy. I say it all the time, but I wouldn’t have built my business to the level I have as quickly as I have without Nicole’s generosity in sharing her knowledge and experience so openly.

Designed to help pet photographers improve their craft and grow their businesses, the Hair of the Dog Academy is described as a fluff-free “proven roadmap that will take you from enthusiastic amateur to pet photography boss.” At just $49 per month, you get access to an insane amount of resources, including

  • all of Nicole’s Behind the Lens courses,
  • Kim Hartz’ Pet Photography EDU course,
  • Post-processing for Pet Photographers,
  • the Business of Pet Photography course,
  • Instagram for Pet Photographers,
  • regular critique corners with amazing Aussie pet photographer Charlotte Reeves,
  • 1:1 laser coaching and monthly office hours with Nicole,
  • access to the private Hair of the Dog Academy members Facebook group, and
  • access to beautiful design templates to get your marketing and business pieces prepared as easy as 1-2-3.
gray blanket with white lights and iPad of HOTD Academy homepage

There’s also an ever-expanding list of guest instructor tutorials, including my own Guide to Successful Calendar Contests with Jessica Wasik that walks you through step-by-step how to create and run a profitable and successful calendar contest of your own!

With a 14-day money-back guarantee, you literally have nothing to lose should you find this isn’t the right fit for you; however, speaking from experience in how vital the Academy, particularly the Business of Pet Photography course, was in propelling me forward on the right path from the get-go, I can be pretty certain you’re not going to need that refund.

Click here for the Hair of the Dog Academy monthly enrollment. (Eagerly awaiting open enrollment, but wanting to dip your toes in in the meantime? Join the free Hair of the Dog Professional Pet Photographers group on Facebook.)


This post is a part of a photography blog circle featuring photographers specializing in a variety of niches. To see what the next photographer is sharing for our weekly theme, “Your Best Buy Under $100,” check out Gretchen Ciccone with GCiccone Photography, capturing special moments. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.

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