animal rescue photographs

Texas Unites for Animals


If you’re anywhere near Austin, Texas in March 16-18th you may want to check out this great conference! The cost of enrollment is really reasonable and they’re doing lots of great training and workshops –including one that I will be doing on (you guessed it) Photographing dogs.  Visit their website for a full list of workshops and details.

You can read more about it here  Come join us!

Does your rescue group have an image problem?


Every group these days needs an online presence. If you are running a rescue group or even if you’re just an active volunteer with a group, sooner or later you will need to pay serious attention to the group “image.”  I’m not just referring to pretty photos (although photography is very close to the top of the list). I’m talking about website, blogs, adoption listings, logos, signs, and finally your ambassadors.

I know — you’re saving dogs– not working on an English degree, but you must communicate clearly and effectively with the world around you if you want donations, helpers, and credibility. Rescue groups are constantly interacting with city government, animal rights organizations, and community business leaders in order to save dogs. If you’re asking for donations for an event, or money to buy dog food, you need to make a good impression.

Many people don't know how many shelters have a constant supply of puppies. Don't shop, adopt!

Many people don’t know how many shelters have a constant supply of puppies. Don’t shop, adopt!

So if you’re not comfortable speaking to strangers, making eye contact and writing an informative email message, find someone who is and designate them an ambassador for your group.

Your group’s website needs to be up-to-date and error free. Keep the photographs fresh and interesting. Update the calendar of events. Nothing spells neglect faster than a website where nothing has changed in two years…

And finally, make sure your message is a positive one. No matter how angry you are at the local shelter for doing something wrong,  don’t make people feel bad just because they stopped by your website.  Very few people want to support someone who is constantly ranting and complaining. They want to help the one with a better idea!

Indoors or out? | Adoption portraits that save animals


There are any number of places you could choose to create portraits of cats and dogs for their adoption ads.  There is usually more light outdoors if you can find a quiet spot without a distracting background — and if you’re photographing dark colored dogs you need all the light you can get!  You should look for a bright shady spot away from other dogs, bicycles and noisey traffic–all things that are way more interesting to your subject that you are. If you want him to look at the camera (and you do) then isolate him from distractions.

Choose the background carefully (how about a hedge or a brick wall ?) and then face your subject towards the light. In other words, shoot IN TO the shade, don’t stand in the shade and have the bright sun behind your subject.  Get down on his eye level (yes, this involves bending at the knees and getting on the ground. It’s worth it) and surprise him with one sharp crazy noise — he’ll look right at you — and you’ll create a photograph that will reach out and grab someone’s attention.

unleashed pet photography workshops

What makes a dog look friendly? | Saving dogs with your camera


Sometimes, we’re so glad just to get a sharp clear photo that we forget to look at a dog’s body language.  Hurray! He’s looking at the camera and he’s in focus –CLICK!  But just because we can look at his photo and tell what breed he is doesn’t mean that photo will help him get adopted. You have to take it one step further.  My previous blog post talked about recognizing animal behavior — so now let’s build upon the idea.  Most dogs look friendlier with an open mouth, but you MUST pay attention to the ears.  Forget the wagging tail, it may not even show in your portrait of this pet –but the eyes and the ears are key.  The little guy pictured here was sleepy. You can see by the first image posted that we weren’t getting that happy alert face.  We photographed the whole litter and shot him last, hoping he would perk up, but all he wanted to do was slump down and take a nap. Plus, because he was almost all black, I really needed him to look friendly. No amount of coaxing made him a happy camper –so we placed him in a shallow basket with a couple of his litter mates (who were wide awake) and he started having fun. Then, we were able to photograph him alone for an individual portrait for his online listing. What makes puppies happy? Other puppies!  What makes a fat older dog happy? A treat! What makes a hunting dog happy? A ball or something he can chase –he doesn’t know you’re not going to throw it for him.

The bottom line: friendly dogs get invited to stay. Sad, frightened or mean-looking dogs get left behind. So do your best to learn what makes your subject tick, and then make him happy.  Just a couple of days until our next webinar!

pet portraits dallas

Animal Sheltering Magazine | Humane Society


Animal Sheltering Magazine interviewed me recently and they wrote a great article, complete with before and after photos and all sorts of tips. If you haven’t seen their publication, you can subscribe online  – it’s a great magazine.  It’s published by The Humane Society of the United States and the people that read it are serious in the world of animal rescue. They run shelters and rescue organizations all over the country!

The real reason I’m mentioning the article is that I constantly hear from people who have taken the webinar and are trying to get started with their at shelters and they meet with resistance from the shelter employees. So NOW you have some printed information to walk in the door with — ask them if they receive the magazine (they probably do) and suggest that they to read the 4 page article that starts on page 44.   Hopefully, they’ll at least listen. Unfortunately, the article doesn’t appear on their website, just in their magazine — so I can’t link to it for online readers. But it’s well worth the price of a subscription 🙂

If you’re interested in the April webinar, we still have some room — see more info by clicking the “webinar sign up” tab above.

adopt a puppy teresa berg photography

Saving Dogs | Teresa Berg Photography


These are the emails I love to get:

“Hi Teresa!

Just wanted to let you know Casper and Ginger were adopted tonight to a wonderful family!! After a week of having your pictures up I have gotten 3 applications for them! That’s amazing as I had not had but two apps in five months for the two! 🙂

Thank you sooooo much for what you are doing! It DOES work!

Stacy”

teresa berg photography

Casper and Ginger were a bonded pair. Ginger was Casper’s guide dog, and as many of you know, it’s really difficult to find a home that will take two dogs. But they got lucky. So I’m posting their adoption portrait. They’re my happy ending of the week!