Hitting it off over dinner and drinks, Caitlin J. McColl and Kirstie McConnell bonded over creative marketing for photos and their love of dogs.
"We met years ago, when Kirstie hired (me) for a photoshoot with her dog Flee," Caitlin remembers.
The two best friends run their own separate photography businesses. Caitlin owns Ragamuffin Pet Photography in Newport, Australia, which she launched back in 2010, and Kirstie runs Bitsa Bernard Photography, which she built up in Victoria, Australia before she moved to Italy with her husband and dogs.
As their friendship grew and their businesses took off, the close friends decided to launch The Pet Photographers Club in 2018.
"Every time Kirstie was in Melbourne, we'd meet up and over dinner we would get geeky talking all things pet photography for hours and hours."
The two cherished the times they were able to meet up, saying running a business in a relatively new industry can get lonely.
"It occurred to us that there were probably pet photographers all around the world who felt the same way. Wouldn't it be incredible if we could build a community of other like-minded pet photographers, so we can all share ideas, inspiration and knowledge?"
The pair put their heads together and created The Pet Photographers Club, which as of March 2021, has around 300 members from over 20 different countries.
The Pet Photographers Club has a podcast ran by the two founders - and have a new episode all about utilising national pet holidays in marketing campaigns alongside a pet holiday calendar guide.
Signing up to the community also allows members to access the online Mastermind group, exclusive extended interviews with their podcast guests, premium profile listing on the Pet Photographers Directory, discounts on various courses and events within the club, quarterly goal tracking zoom calls, and extended deadlines for their International Pet Photographer of the Year awards.
Kirstie and Caitlin are currently working on the 2021 awards, which run annually in May with the winners announced in August.
"They get bigger and bigger every year - last year we had over 1300 photographs entered from over 40 different countries! It's quite a unique competition too - the first ever competition for professional pet photographers, open to all countries, and we keep it completely free to enter.
Keep scrolling to see some of the previous winners!
For more about The Pet Photographers Club
And the podcast is on all the usual platforms - Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher