Mabel, English Bulldog - Rescue from Dogs Trust Essex
We are all at least dimly aware of the tragedies that take place at animal shelters.
The unfortunate truth is that dog abandonment in the UK has reached a crisis point. A survey by Dogs Trust found that a total of 102,363 stray and abandoned dogs were handled by UK Local Authorities in 2014.
5,142 of those dogs were eventually euthanized. That means that on average, Local Authorities put down one dog every two hours.
This shocking statistic is one that plenty of dog-loving creatives couldn’t ignore.
In recent years, professional photographers have begun volunteering their services at local animal shelters, providing high-quality photos and significantly increasing adoption rates, in some cases by as much as 100%.
Because the photos on shelter websites play such a big role in whether or not pets get adopted, it makes sense that professional dog portraits are so effective in helping pets find homes.
By portraying dogs in positive environments, highlighting their best traits, and showcasing their potential as pets, professional pet photography really is leading to more adoptions at animal shelters.
A More Paw-sitive Approach
Too often, the photos on animal shelter websites are just plain depressing.
A teary-eyed spaniel mix pressed up against a cage door, a pit bull that looks like it’s about to break free of its leash, a muddy-looking chihuahua curled up on a concrete floor — the last thing these gloomy photos do is make you want to adopt.
It’s the same with higher-budget adoption campaigns. In 2012, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) aired a heartbreaking commercial designed to encourage donations and adoptions.
But with its graphic and truly disturbing shots of crying kittens and despondent dogs, the ad doesn’t make you want to adopt— it makes you want to change the channel!
However, smart professional photographers are reversing this approach to pet adoption campaigns. Rather than guilt-tripping people, they’re taking pictures that show happy-looking dogs in positive environments.
One such photographer is Teresa Berg, a professional pet photographer whose volunteer dog portraiture was featured on BBC Radio.
Berg noticed that too often, potential pets are overlooked simply due to poor photography.
In many amateur photos on rescue websites, the dogs “look like they are either about to be kicked or they were just kicked.” The pictures are badly lit or look like they were taken in someone’s cluttered garage. The dogs aren’t groomed or even looking at the camera.
Berg knew she could do better. That’s why