Fundraising with Calendars: Vote for your favorite and help us raise money

The 2015 Tiny Dog Calendar voting contest began late last week. To give you a brief re-cap on how it works:  I put out a “model call” on facebook and via email. Friends tell friends and before you know it, I have TONS of people sending me snapshots of their dogs, hoping I will like what I see and offer them a free modeling session.  I choose the dogs that I think will send the right message (and look cute of course) and we photograph approximately 20 dogs over the course of a few weeks.  These dogs then compete for votes (votes are $1 each) and all the money from voting goes to the Legacy Humane Society – one of my favorite local animal charities.  The 13 dogs with the most votes get in the calendar. The TOP DOG also gets a $350 gift certificate to my studio. So competition is fierce!  We will be selling the calendars online starting in October — but if you’d like to see the contestants and place a vote or two, please visit the Teresa Berg Photography blog and click on 2015 Tiny Dog Calendar.

Tindy Dog Calendar

And don’t forget — calendars make great gifts!

Our first EMPTY the SHELTER Day was a success! Will this work in your city?

A very successful adoption day was held on Saturday here in north Texas. Over 2200 animals were adopted in one day.  Why not try it in YOUR area? Yes, adoption fees were waived, and so the shelters didn’t get their customary fees to help defray the cost of rehabilitating adoptable animals — but look at the positive interest in generated in the community! Thanks to good local news media coverage and lots of social media by the individual shelters, it seemed like everyone in the Dallas area was at one shelter or another on Saturday. Congratulations to all these hard working people.

Getting dogs adopted with….. bow ties?

I’ve had lots of requests to show how I make the bow ties that I use on rescue dogs — but this is so much better!  I’m planning to stop at my local thrift store and stock up on some wild ties and get busy!!  Have fun and glam up those handsome four-legged boys…


Save your before and after shots…

Often I hear about volunteer photographers who get “turned away” from their local shelters because the shelter staff believes that their photos are already good enough. I always encourage these photographers to ask for a 60 day trial — just to prove how much difference it will make in speeding up adoptions. Sometimes the shelter staff is not even willing to do a trial. At this point, the photographer doesn’t have a lot to lose — so they might as well throw a few “before and after” shots on the table and hope that these dramatic visuals do the trick.

Here is an example from my friends at the Dallas Fort Worth Dachshund Rescue Foundation. We photographed this little girl at our workshop this last weekend and the rescue group was shocked when they put the two photos side by side. You can do this!

A new campaign? adoption photos with Teresa Berg


My wonderful assistant, Jessiree and I just finished photographing adoptable dogs at the Rockwall Adoption Center in Rockwall, Texas. They have a great staff and a wonderful facility — and thanks to the generosity of Dallas businessman, Jack Knox, they have photography equipment on site. So all we had to do is grab our cameras and some props and show up for a day of photography. The shot you see posted here was done at the shelter. We used (obviously) the yellow background paper and the Westcott TD6 continuous light system with a 24×36″ softbox and a 42X72″ reflector. Our pull back (set up shot) is included here so you can see the placement and the equipment. They have a conference room and keep the equipment set up in the corner just as you see it. This way it is also available for “intake” photos if they have someone there who can use their camera. We used an ISO of 640, a shutter speed of 400 and an fstop of 2.2 for most of the images we shot. We’ll post more examples soon. Publish your questions as comments and we’ll do our best to answer them promptly! Yes, this does involve sitting on the floor quite a bit, as most of the dogs were medium to large sized. You can do this!
teresa berg adoption photo set up

If you are close to the Rockwall, Texas area and you would like to volunteer as one of their photographers and use this equipment for your adoption photos, the nice people there will gladly sign you up as a volunteer! They have a helpful group of people and really need some help with their photography. Visit their website and give them a call.

Kittens everywhere! Creating more adoptions with better adoption photos

This time of year our local shelters are overrun with beautiful kittens! The challenge becomes how to photograph them quickly and easily to get them noticed. I recently spent the day at a local shelter photographing kittens on site. We brought one studio light with us ( a Westcott TD5 with a shoot-through umbrella softbox) and a reflector. This type of lighting is one of my favorites to use with shelter animals because it doesn’t flash. It’s a constant, bright daylight-balanced light source that is very soft and easy to use. It also doesn’t get hot, which is a plus. For the background I used a wide roll of paper that I bought at a teacher’s supply web site. It’s thin like wrapping paper, but designed for teachers to use as a background for their bulletin boards in the classroom. So it’s wider than wrapping paper — in this case, 42″ wide — which is the same width as the folding table I used.

teresa berg adoption photos

pet photography in the shelter can be challenging

With my wonderful assistant and a volunteer from the shelter that would pull kittens from their cages and walk them to our photo “corner” we were able to photograph over 40 cats in one day. We were set up in separate room that was usually used for adopters to fill out their paperwork, but the shelter was closed that day.


It’s always a plus to find a quiet space to work, as cats are wary and easily spooked. Kittens are easily distracted with a string or a toy, so my assistant used toys, feathers and treats to keep them happy while we quickly photographed them. I would advise shooting at 2.8 to make it a little easier to get the eyes in focus, and use paper without a strong horizontal pattern, as that always distracts the eye when it’s not “level”. Other than that, I was happy with our project. Kittens are a lot of fun and using a table enabled us to work standing (I sat in a rolling chair when I was shooting) instead of sitting on the floor which is a big plus. A ribbon or some jewelry gives them that little pop of color and they don’t seem to mind. Good luck with kittens!