I get emails from people all over the country who are having a tough time getting their local animal shelters to “buy in” to the idea that good photography boosts adoption rates. Hard to believe, right? So I asked a few of the rescue groups I work with for their comments.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much Teresa’s pictures have helped getting the beagles that I’ve pulled from various shelters adopted. I only post them on Petfinder and get inquiries no less than 2 days after I list them. I don’t even go to adoption events anymore!! Teresa’s pictures have helped me place 7 in a 5 day period alone and that’s just one example!! She’s made a HUGE difference in the lives of my rescues!!” –Heike

“We have been working with Teresa Berg for a year and in that time our adoptions have increased one hundred percent! With a majority of our adoptions occurring online, the pics we post either make or break the doggies chance of being adopted. By having pics of dogs in a professional studio, it makes them stand out from the rest when people are browsing the websites for doggies. We get the pics within 24 hours and Teresa is flexible to work with our schedules. We are thankful for her assistance.” – Molly Peterson, Pres/Director CCHS

“PICTURES?  Did someone say pictures? Having fostered for several years, I can honestly say pictures make the difference of getting an application or not.    Pictures are SO important my husband and I get the new fosters in for their “glamour shots” before we even make their vet appointment. My first year of fostering we adopted out about 15 dogs, using our “home grown pictures”. Thank goodness due to the generosity of a professional photographer and solely using her pics of our fosters on our rescue website, we adopted out 50 dogs in 2011. REALLY. What else can you say?”  –S. S.  CCHS foster Mom

dog rescue portraits


    1. Start practicing with your camera and the pets you and your friends have access to — THEN, ask your teacher or your parent to find a local animal rescue group that needs some better photos. Show them some of your shots, and ask them to give it a try for 60 days. A rescue group (where the pets live in foster homes, not the animal shelter) is a lot easier to work with. The animals are calmer and friendlier and the photography will be much easier. You will need someone to help you, so get a friend or parent to go along.
      Good luck!

  1. Just wanted to say thank you for what you have started with your site! Saw your article in Guideposts, and it made me smile!

    1. Hi Cathie
      First a dog has to feel safe — which is sometimes difficult in a shelter situation. But even if he’s still a bit nervous, you can get those ears up by surprising him with a noise. Be ready with your camera FIRST and then make ONE sharp sound. A yip, a squeel, a squeek or whatever, but not a constant stream of noise and talking. Just ONE. LOUD. Noise. Try it! You’ll be surprised.

  2. I was thinking about doing this for a long time now and when I found your blog, it gave me the courage I needed to really do it. I´m working with a local shelter now and it feels great to help. You can find my shelter photos at 🙂
    Thank you very much for your informative and inspirational blog.

  3. I work at a small animal shelter in New York. And just began learning to take more professional photos. They aren’t half as good as what you have done, but they have already began to help more adoptions. So now I am trying to better my photos even more and cannot wait to begin to use props and really learn my camera.

    1. Congratulations! I’m sure your work will speed up adoptions in a BIG way. You don’t have to be a professional photographer with years of training…. you just need to pay attention to the lighting and body language of your subject. Learning your camera will certainly help — and so will working with a good assistant/helper. Good luck!

  4. Taking clean shots that can show the animals personality, or how they interact with people is huge plus for the animal and really helps them get adopted. These photos are also a great way for fundraising for the rescue groups also. So not only helping to find homes, but can be used to help raise much needed funds. There are several groups out there that are willing to help shelters and adoption groups with photography and help their staff learn to take more engaging pictures of their adoptable pets.

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