One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing negative shelter promotions. I am all about the up-side; those positive promotions that showcase how amazing our shelter pets really are. No one wants to see graphic photos of an abused animal, especially when you aren't showing those photos with a true purpose in mind (i.e. raising donations for an immediate emergency). Those graphic and sad photos should be few and far between, because truly, you will keep more fans and potential donors/adopters tuned in to your rescue with stories that have happy endings and pretty pictures of adorable animals that are waiting for their forever homes.
I hate the word 'unwanted' when it is used in reference to shelter pets. Shelter pets are not 'unwanted' at all. There is someone that wants every animal out there. Sure, for some animals, finding that person may take awhile, but by calling your shelter/rescue pets 'unwanted' you are giving them the perception that something is wrong with them.
Luckily, I get the chance to work with several different rescue organizations and regularly take photos of their pets. These rescues include dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters and even the occasional ferret. The one thing all of these animals have in common is that they are looking for a family. As their photographer, it is my job to give them the best opportunity to be seen by a potential adopter, and that requires an eye catching photo that will make their new family fall in love even before they meet!
In today's society, everyone shops online. My entire business is run online, so I know the importance of good photos for my products. While pets are, of course, way more important than retail products, the concept is the same. A great photo will grab someone's attention and could be the difference in closing their computer screen or deciding to stop by an adoption event to meet that special pet.
A few minutes ago, I stopped by wilcopets.org to take a screen snapshot of our adoptable cats, who I photograph each week. As you can see, each cat has a clear, happy photo. I like to add cute flowers to bring color into the photo, but using a gray posterboard background keeps clutter out of the picture, so the focus is all on the cats. When looking at their photos, it's easy to imagine these cute little furballs in your lap, or lounging on a cat scratcher in your home.
Having good photos is one of the most important tools that can help you save lives. Plus, people love to snap photos! Have your fosters, your volunteers or your staff take a few minutes to get a great (or even good) photo because that can truly save a life.
Here are a few photos, including some before/after photos of pets that I have had the opportunity to work with! Enjoy!