I have saved the following links in my bookmarks and drafts for months now, and it’s about time they see the light of a post. They focus on the impact that quality photos can have for shelters and rescue groups.
This article from the ASPCA website simply explores the question posed in the title, and the video imbedded within it is an inspiring, must-watch video (this coming from a notorious ignore-r of videos included in articles and posts–it’s short, I promise!). The differences between the Before and After shots are staggering. (And I realize that shelters and rescue groups are often run by overworked volunteers who may have amateur photography skills at best and little time and amenities with which to produce great shots. Berg advocates that professional photographers “adopt” shelters or rescue groups to save dogs, and she also offers webinars to teach amateurs how to take better pictures of dogs. More about that below.)
The problems in the Before shots include terrible lighting, unpleasant backgrounds, odd poses by the dogs, and pictures taken through fences, kennels, or cages. The biggest difference I noted between the two sets of photos, though, was in the dogs’ eyes. In the Before photos, the dogs’ eyes are sometimes closed or glowing (as their eyes are wont to do in response to flash). Other times they’re shadowed by the poor light or blend in with a dog’s black fur.
In the After shots, the viewer can see the light, and the life, in the dogs’ eyes. They now look like beings with souls and potential friends (even soulmates–The eyes are the window to the soul, after all). Similar to the way a potential buyer walks through a well-done open house picturing herself in that home, a potential adopter can more easily see herself opening her home, and her life, to a dog with whom she can connect.
Laurie Bartolo sent me the second link, above, and it features the same photographer in the original link/article. In this link she offers concise, helpful tips for how to get good photos of dogs–whether your own or adoptables.
While I am not going to delve into whole paragraphs of description or promotion, I do urge you to check out the sites below:
- Teresa Berg’s site: Focus on Rescue.
- Berg is not the only pet photographer advocating for volunteers to take up their cameras and save more dogs. Check out this post by I Still Want More Puppies about the group Second Chance Photos.
- HeARTS Speak. This organization, of which Teresa Berg is a member, “unites artists with shelters and animal relief organizations in order to save the lives of animals and better the lives of people” (they said it so well, and I am lazy, so I borrowed their words).
- It has been documented that black dogs fare worse in shelters than other dogs, and black dogs are also notoriously difficult to photograph. So check out these Tips for Taking Photos of Black Dogs.
- Perhaps you would like to get your child involved in saving dogs through photography. Check out these tips from The Bark that are geared specifically toward kids.
If you are involved with any of the groups mentioned above (or a similar group), or have taken up the cause of taking quality photos of adoptable dogs on your own, please leave a comment and tell us about your experience.
If you don’t have experience with this cause, would you consider taking it up? Why or why not?