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Professional Pet Photos in Qingdao
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Who would pay 1,180 yuan (US$115) for photos of a pet dog? Well, that's what Mrs. Li from Qingdao did recently for her golden retriever, with the help of a professional photographer. She is not alone in this new trend of professional photo shooting for pets in this port city in east China. The Qingdao Financial Daily reported on Thursday.

"I take pictures of my dog mainly for the contests," Mrs. Li explained. Her dog is entered in many professional dog contests and some require photographs for qualifications. "These photos make him look more gorgeous," Mrs. Li said.

Mr. Zang, the owner of several pet dogs, joined the trend for other reasons. He posts the photos online to share with other pet owners. The photos become advertisements when his dogs have litters. "Lovely photos of the parents attract buyers of the babies," Mr. Zang noted.

For many pet owners, however, professional pictures are still something new and not necessary, mainly due to the high cost. Mrs. Li was charged 300 yuan (US$39) for a set of such photos.

"Hundreds of yuan for some pet photos? It's ridiculously expensive," argued Mrs. Sun, a retired person and owner of a Pomeranian. The dog has been her companion for several years, as her son went to school in another city, while her husband works elsewhere.

"The dog is important to me, but the professional photos cost too much," she said. Many pet owners her age think that digital camera is good enough for taking photos, she added.

Liu Shichang, the founder of a pet studio in Qingdao, became familiar with photo shooting for pets during college in central China's Wuhan. He later took an internship in a local pet studio.

Liu opened his own pet studio half a month ago. On his price list, a set of professional pictures costs from 88 yuan to 1,288 yuan. To date, he has had three customers, the first two of which free of charge. "I've only made 100 yuan, it can't even cover the costs," he said.

"A pet studio is still new to most Chinese," he said, "It'll take a while for this kind of thing to get popular, just like wedding photographs decades ago."
(CRI.cn June 14, 2007)

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