In 1844 Pierre-Louis Pierson began operating a studio in Paris that specialized in hand-colored daguerreotypes. In 1855 he entered into a partnership with Léopold Ernest and Louis Frédéric Mayer, who also ran a daguerreotype studio. The Mayers had been named "Photographers of His Majesty the Emperor" by Napoleon III the year before Pierson joined them. Although the studios remained at separate addresses, Pierson and the Mayers began to distribute their images under the joint title "Mayer et Pierson," and together they became the leading society photographers in Paris.
Pierson's 1861 photographs of the family and court of Napoleon III sold very well to the public. Pierson and Léopold Mayer soon opened another studio in Brussels, Belgium, and began photographing other European royalty. After Mayer's retirement in 1878, Pierson went into business with his son-in-law Gaston Braun, whose father was the photographer Adolphe Braun.