The Academy


Building a photography business is tough.

If you're like most of my students before they joined the Academy, then you probably feel overwhelmed, frustrated and stuck. You're wondering if you even have what it takes to be a successful pet photographer. 

You might be thinking that taking beautiful photos will be enough to fill your calendar with bookings...and you're wondering why it's not happening for you. But the truth is, what all thriving photographers have in common is a thorough understanding of how to build—and operate—a business.  

After all, some of the most incredible photographic artists still struggle to make money, while other photographers with "average" images have full calendars—and full bank accounts. 

It's time to get off the overwhelm treadmill, and to start following a PROVEN path to becoming the successful pet photographer you dream of being.

You can do this. We can help.

pet photography course

Welcome to the Hair of the Dog Academy!

The Academy isn't just a fluff-filled membership.  It's a proven roadmap that will take you from enthusiastic amateur to pet photography BOSS.  Are you ready to start creating imagery that stirs your soul?  What about building a business that allows you the flexibility and freedom to make money doing something that you love?


As you'll see below, the Academy has a plethora of content and support.  To help you navigate your way through the classes, I'd like to introduce you to: SUCCESS PATHS! 

The Success Paths meet you where you are, and help you progress toward a specific goal by sharing curated list of Academy content that's exactly what you need, when you need it.  

Photography Basics

If you are just getting started on your pet photography journey, this is a great place to start.  We cover choosing your gear, shooting on manual, working with dogs, finding the light, as well as editing and workflow basics.

Intermediate Artist

In this success path, we start to expand on our Lightroom and Photoshop knowledge, including managing color in our images.  We discover how to capture action photos and learn do pose people, dogs, and horses.

Photography Mastery

In this track, we are taking our animal photography craft to the next level.  We explore off-camera flash outdoors and photographing in the studio with one or more lights. You will also learn advanced creative editing techniques and finally take control of that Wacom tablet.

Starting your Business

Opening a pet photography business can be extremely overwhelming!  We walk you through everything that you need to do - in the order that you need to do it.  From forming your LLC to building a website and from choosing products to determining profitable pricing.  We've got you covered.

Book your First Clients

Your business is set up - but where are the clients?  This track will help you get your pet photography business train out of the station.  From model calls, to email marketing, to inquiry processes and sales systems.  This content will help you start to earn money in your business.

Scale your Business

You have a business and clients are coming through the door - although you are ready to see more clients and earn more money.  This track will help you automate workflows, create marketing plans and upgrade your client experience.

Your challenges

How we help

You're ready to start taking control of your camera but just can't seem to get it right.

Caitlin McColl demystifies your camera for you in the Fundamentals of Pet Photography program and she'll have you rocking your settings in no time flat!

You’re stumbling around Lightroom and Photoshop, not getting the results you want.

We give you clear instruction to help you get the MOST out of these programs in less time - so you can create the images you want, without the frustration.

You’re struggling to understand lighting, either in the studio or outside on location.

Lighting is one of the MOST important elements of photography. Get our best-kept secrets for on-location and studio lighting in the Behind the Lens and Pet Photography EDU courses.

You know you need to develop a signature style that sets you apart, but how?

Learning - and perfecting - a range of different techniques is the best way to develop your own unique style. To help you do that, we’ve lined up some of the world’s best pet photographers to share their years of shooting and editing knowledge.

You’re feeling completely overwhelmed by all the little details and decisions to be made before you can even start your business.

When you’re starting a business, you have a million questions about how to set yourself up for success. We’ll hand you a blueprint for launching your business with ease and confidence.

You already have a business, but struggle to generate four-figure sales. Heck, you’d be happy with three figures right now!

Your work is worth FAR more than that, as long as it’s technically proficient. The Academy will show you exactly how to elevate your value and increase your sales. 

You’re hustling like crazy to get clients in the door and onto your books, but it's just not working. The bills are piling up and you’re not sure what to do next... 

Social media, SEO and special deals are just *some* of the ways to drive business, but they’re literally the tip of the iceberg. We’ll explore a slew of different strategies to help you find AND book your dream clients, who are happy to pay top dollar.


Our mission is to help pet photographers like you make money doing what they truly love, and maximize their potential by improving both their craft AND their business.

What's Included?

Your membership gets you access to ALL the following Hair of the Dog courses, along with extra support and guidance through 1:1 laser coaching sessions, group office hours, and image critiques. 

Behind the Lens Urban Adventure

behind the lens urban dog photography course

Follow along on an actual urban photography session, with Master Photographer Nicole Begley showing you how to create beautiful images from backdrops you'd normally just pass by. Learn how to create variety in a session and then watch Nicole edit the images to perfection, as she talks you through the process.

Behind the Lens Equine Adventure

pet photography edu course

Horses are quite literally a different animal than dogs - and photographing them requires a different approach.  Join Master Photographer, Nicole Begley, on an equine session to learn how to create variety, pose horse and human, and elicit expressions from your equine subject.

Behind the Lens Park Adventure

pet photography mini session course

Join Master Photographer Nicole Begley as she walks you through a session at a local park. Discover what backgrounds to look for and what to avoid, how to manage multiple dogs, and tricks for capturing action photos. You'll also find tutorials for editing the images from this session. 

Fundamentals with Ragamuffin Pet Photography

behind the lens urban dog photography course

Are you struggling to consistently shoot in manual mode?  What about capturing consistently in-focus action images?  Caitlin McColl from Ragamuffin Pet Photography has created this foundation course to take you from complete pet photography novice to being comfortable and confident with your camera in a variety of situations.

Pet Photography EDU

pet photography edu course

If you're looking to improve your craft, start here! Created by Master Photographer Kim Hartz, this is a full-blown course on the art of pet photography. You'll learn about animal behavior and working with dogs, how to pose pets and their people, and go deep into lighting with both strobes and natural light, inside the studio and out. 

Success Paths

pet photography mini session course

Ever wish you had a map to reach your pet photography goals?  That's exactly what the success paths are for - the exact steps, with corresponding content, that you will need to take to reach your goals.  Whether your goals are to learn the foundations of your craft, master pet photography, start a business or scale your business we've got you covered.

Post-Processing for Pet Photographers

post-processing for pet photographers course

Specifically designed for you, and carefully curated to take you step-by-step through Lightroom and the most relevant tools in Photoshop. No more wasting time scrolling through YouTube videos or random blog posts created for portrait or wedding photographers! This course has ALL the editing info you need as a pet photographer, at your fingertips when you need it. 

Customizable Marketing Templates

Are you struggling to create your marketing collateral? Scratching your head at what to include in your client inquiry guide, session preparation guide or product guide? Losing hours (and dollars) trying to find templates that you like AND that will all work together?!?

Your Academy membership now includes fully customizable Photoshop templates - with copy written by a professional copywriter! You'll quickly have all of your client education and marketing pieces finished, in a cohesive and well-written set. (Dang, that's gonna feel good!)

Instagram for Pet Photographers

instagram course for pet photographers

In this course, Instagram consultant Tori Mistick cuts through the confusion and overwhelm, and walks you through a process to use your Instagram account with intention to connect with your ideal market. If you're wondering what you should be posting, or if it's even worth posting at all, you'll definitely want to watch this course!

Business Essentials

behind the lens urban dog photography course

Every business needs a plan. The beauty of being self-employed is the ability to build a business that works for YOU—one that supports the life YOU want to live, on your terms, in your own way. This course will help you create that plan, build your brand, and map out all the elements that go into the customer experience. We'll also dive deeply into search engine optimization and creating a website that converts, with real-life examples of website reviews.

Pricing and Sales

pet photography mini session course

This is where many photographers stumble and fall. Having your pricing dialed in is a make-it-or-break-it business essential. It's also the most common place where talented photographers get stuck and bury their heads in the sand – because all those numbers get too overwhelming. But I promise you, this stuff is easy once you have someone to break it down for you! You'll discover the art and science of pricing, and how to bring them together to create real profit.


pet photography edu course

Marketing isn't just about creating a website and posting on social media. A comprehensive marketing strategy has many components, and while they don't need to be expensive or time-consuming, they do need to be well planned and executed. We'll cover what you need to do to position your business correctly, and cover a range of effective marketing opportunities that you can implement right away. 

Office Hours

pet photography edu course

Office Hours are your chance to ask Nicole anything. Have a question?  Need some coaching? Jump into Office Hours and be ready to ask! All sessions are recorded so that other Academy members can benefit.

1:1 Laser Coaching

behind the lens urban dog photography course

Laser coaching sessions are your opportunity to dive deeper into an area of your craft or business. Any Academy member can submit questions for laser coaching and join Nicole in a 15-minute, one-on-one video conference. All laser coaching calls are recorded on Zoom and posted for the membership to access. Whether you're in the hot seat or just listening in, these calls are pure gold.


Critique Corner with Charlotte Reeves

pet photography mini session course

The fastest way to improve your craft is to get constructive feedback from professional eyes. Critique Corner is a LIVE call where you can get feedback on your images from Academy coach—and one of the world's leading pet photographers—Charlotte Reeves.

Also including our Guest Instructor tutorials

EVERYTHING below is included in your Academy membership, with new classes added regularly!

Artistic photo edit with jess bell

pet photography guest artist course

Moody edits with Haron Haghuis

pet photography guest artist course

Managing color with danica barreau

pet photography guest artist course

A self-portrait composite with caitlin mccoll

pet photography guest artist course

Creating puppy bowl with Kimberly Buccheri & Bud thorpe

pet photography guest artist course

Calender Contest with Jessica Wasik

pet photography guest artist course

Equine Black Backgrounds with Sara Shier

pet photography guest artist course

Outdoor Off-Camera Flash with Kim Hartz

pet photography guest artist course

Editing Seamless Paper backdrops with Terran Bayer

pet photography guest artist course

Creating Panoramics with Craig Turner-Bullock

pet photography guest artist course

Introvert Dog Tog Guide by Holly Montgomery

Giving Back through Pet Photography

I recently had my highest sale to date...$6,170!

The Hair of the Dog Academy has not only impacted me, it's actually made me who I am now.  It's helped not only my business grow, but helped me grow as a business owner.  Not only that, I've recently had my highest sale to date...$6,170!  The Academy has been able to teach me how to adjust my pricing to be able to live the life that I want, which involves spending time with my son and not working every day.  Now that I've built the business that I want, I can book as few as 2 to 3 sessions a month and that is more than enough income for what I need at this stage of my life.  

Tiffany Wilson

Tiffany Wilson Pet Photography

Which membership is right for me?

Hair of the Dog Academy
All Behind the Lens courses
Pet Photography EDU with Kim Hartz
Post-Processing for Pet Photographers
Business of Pet Photography Course
Instagram for Pet Photographers
Access to all guest instructor content
Critique Corner with Charlotte Reeves
1:1 Laser Coaching with Nicole Begley
Monthly Office Hours with Nicole Begley
Inclusion in private Facebook community
Access to one new design template per month
Immediate Access to ALL design templates
2 months FREE access

Monthly Access

Yearly Access



ZERO RISK! I get it. This may be an investment for you, especially if your business isn't yet as profitable as you'd like. I also understand that you've probably seen big promises from online training in the past, and you might be a little skeptical as to whether or not this is the real deal.

That's why I'm offering a 14-day money-back guarantee. That's right, not only are there NO COMMITMENTS and you can cancel anytime from right inside the Academy portal - but if you jump into the Academy and decide that it's not the right fit for you - I'll give you your money back!

Your peers LOVE the Academy

Click play to see what they are saying

More Rave Reviews 

“I am so glad that I joined the Hair of the Dog Academy! Without it, I would have never considered being an actual “pet photographer”. I've been working through the Business of Pet Photography and plugging away at my to-do list. The result? I've been getting awesome reviews and my October is booked! To think that I never really considered being paid at the beginning of the year to joining in May and being booked in October!”


“During my time in the Hair of the Dog Academy, I've revamped my entire pricing guide, changed my session fee into a print credit, and changed all of my product pricing. My last three sales have been $4600, $2800, and $3200! I'm super excited to see what the future holds and can't wait for the snow to fall so I can keep digging into the rest of the Academy!”


“About 2 years ago, I participated in a 3-day portrait workshop offered by a well-known photography studio in my area. At the time, they highly encouraged me to start my own business, but I didn't have the confidence in my own work or the business know-how to feel comfortable doing so. Joining the Academy changed my life! Not only has the group been incredibly supportive but I now have all of the tools I needed to start my business – which I finally did!”


“This is such a great resource with helpful information and great support! Nicole is an expert in her field and graciously shares what she knows.”


“(Nicole) makes the business side of photography as streamlined and as efficient as possible.”


“Nicole has such a gift in being able to reach the heart of our fears in business and challenge our limiting beliefs. My business is now profitable and working for me because of what she's taught me.”


Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions?

We have answers!


dog photography courses by hair of the dog
Can I join anytime?

Open enrollment for both the monthly and yearly membership only happens a few times a year.  This current open enrollment period will close at midnight US Pacific time at the end of the day on Thursday, October 22nd, 2020.  The next open enrollment period won't be until 2021!

Can I cancel at any time?

Absolutely! You're free to end your membership at any time. Simply cancel your subscription in the Academy portal, or you can always email support at [email protected]. We'll help you with anything you need…even an emergency chocolate martini recipe.

If choosing an annual membership, your membership will auto-renew one year from your enrollment date. If choosing a monthly membership, your membership payments will be debited on the same date each month.

Please note that we do not offer refunds for any payments already made. So please try to give us at least 72 hours’ notice to cancel your membership before your next billing date, to ensure that it's canceled before your next payment.

You can cancel at any time and will continue to have access to the membership until your billing period expires.

No refunds will be granted for unused months on an annual membership, or unused days on a monthly membership.

What's the investment?

If you purchased all of these classes on their own along with the support, it would cost more than $5,000. But we've made the cost of the membership affordable for everyone. 

The monthly membership is only $49/month USD. And if you like saving money, there's also a yearly membership option of $490/year – which means you can keep two months' worth of payments in your pocket.

How do I access the material?

All of the material lives inside of the Hair of the Dog Academy, and it's all available right NOW. 

Simply log in from any device and start watching your videos. Many of the videos are also available as audio downloads, so you can take a lesson on the road with you if you'll be without data. 

If there are worksheets or downloads that accompany a lesson, you'll be able to access those in each individual lesson. 

How long do I have access to the material?

You'll have access for as long as you're a member in good standing.

Will I get personalized support from Nicole Begley?

While Nicole's not available on speed dial, she does offer support throughout the membership in a variety of ways.

#1 Office Hours – Once a month she'll do a live video conference where you can ask her anything. If you can, we recommend that you join us live on the call. But if you can’t make the call, don't worry—you'll have access to the replay.

#2 Laser Coaching – This is your chance to go deeper on a topic during a 15-minute one-on-one call with Nicole. Each call will be recorded, and a new call will be released weekly within the membership site. While this is obviously insanely valuable for those on the laser coaching call, it's also incredibly helpful for ALL members who take the 15 minutes to watch or listen to the coaching. Many students say they've learned just as much from listening to other people's coaching calls as they did from their own!

#3 Critique Corner with Charlotte Reeves – Once a month, Charlotte Reeves will be providing feedback on images submitted by members. There's no better way to improve your skills as a photographer than to receive actionable feedback on your work from a knowledgeable professional.

#4 The Facebook Group – Not only is Nicole active in the group, but there are several other coaches active in the group as well: Charlotte Reeves for technical assistance, Heather Lahtinen for editing and productivity help, Kim Hartz for business and photography advice, Megan Murray for photography business and operations help, and Tori Mistick to demystify Instagram for you.

Is the private Facebook group mandatory?

Nope. It's entirely up to you if you wish to join the Facebook group or not. However, if you do, you’ll find this group to be an incredibly fun and supportive place to get feedback on your challenges, as well as kudos on your wins! In addition to the other current members, Nicole and several additional coaches are there to help you make progress. It’s a great place to hang out, learn more, share your work, get feedback and loads of inspiration – why would you say no to that?!


I haven't started my business yet or I'm an enthusiastic amateur. Should I sign up?

Yes, absolutely!

If you’re just starting out and hoping to start a business, this is a great time to join. It's MUCH easier to set up your business correctly from the beginning than to go out guns blazing, and then realize two years down the road that you need to completely overhaul your entire framework.  

If you're an enthusiastic amateur with no plans for a future business, the membership is still a great value for you. The regular guest instructor training is worth the cost of the membership alone! Not to mention, you'll have access to the full Post-Processing for Pet Photographers program, Pet Photography EDU by Kim Hartz, and Nicole's Behind the Lens videos—AND all of the support within the membership, like the Critique Corners with Charlotte Reeves. #stillanobrainer

I'm based outside of the United States. Is this membership still applicable to me?

Having taught these strategies to students from all over the globe—with incredible results—I can assure you that this stuff works no matter where you live. There might be slight market tweaks that you’ll need to make, but that’s the case even throughout the US.

There's only one short lesson specific to the students in the United States, and that's the one about taxes and business formations.

The rest of the membership content has been successfully applied in the UK, EU, Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

And if you still have questions about the Academy please, get in touch!

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Need to get in touch before you join?

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We love hearing from our community!  

Please use this form if you need to get in touch with the Hair of the Dog team.

If you want to reach out directly by email, you can reach us at [email protected].

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