Photographing Shelter Pets

Seattle 2008 00088

Tyler When Newly Adopted

Check out the amazing video from photographer Seth Casteel of Little Friends Photo for examples of “before” and “after” pet adoption photos.  Seth started after noticing that the photography of adoptable pets in his local shelter was not as good as it could be.

Second Chance Photos website states that, “Every homeless pet should be represented with a positive, professional photograph, offering a glimpse into their unique personality in hopes to make a connection with potential adopters. Our mission is to provide shelter staff and volunteers with the resources to successfully photograph shelter pets, aiding in giving them the second chance they deserve.”

What a wonderful goal!  I know first-hand what it is like to adopt a pet, as all four of my cats are adopted or rescued from the streets. I also know through my photography for my business that there are some easy steps you can take for better pet photos.  The four things that have helped me most are:
1) A good digital SLR camera; I use a Sony Nex C-3.  Pets move quickly, so I recommend that your camera take at least 3-6 frames per second.
2) Not using flash, but rather making sure you have good light.  If indoors use the natural light near windows!
3) Being patient and taking LOTS of photos. With digital photos you can easily discard the ones you don’t want to keep.
4) Using some computer software to enhance those great digital shots you just took.  I use Photoshop, and several apps on my i-Phone.

For some super suggestions on taking great pet photos, check out the “Photo Tips” page on the Second Chance Photos website.  And then start clicking that shutter button!  Also consider attending one of the pet photo workshops offered by Second Chance Photos, and offering your newly honed skills to a local shelter.  All workshops are free and open to the public, but do require an RSVP.  Workshops for 2013 are currently being organized, and will be updated on the Second Chance website when available.  I’m crossing my fingers that one will be held near Austin, Texas!


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