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!
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.
We’re trying something new! If you’re interested in improving your photography skills, but you’re NOT planning to be a professional pet photographer, we have a new workshop. Just “all about shooting” for those of you who want to learn hands on! We’ll have live dogs modeling for us and we’ll set up a variety of different shots for you. Indoors, outdoors, with flash, using reflectors, etc.
This workshop is for people with DSLRs — so no point & shoot cameras this time. We’ll talk about lenses, creating some special effects, getting the dog’s attention and keeping him in one spot, exposure, metering, what equipment to use, etc. But it’s all shooting, no business, marketing and very little talk about working with animal rescue. Just learning to use your camera. One day only, shooting with Teresa in a small group setting. The fee is $295 which includes a catered lunch. I have been getting tons of requests for a workshop like this, so now’s your chance. Come shoot with me! If you want more details, check out my other blog: www.teresaberg.com/blog.
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.
Looks like a great new point & shoot camera is hitting the market, the Samsung EX2F. This compact camera looks like a great choice for animal rescue photography.
Why? Two different types of image stabilization (great for maintaining sharpness in low light conditions) –fast 1.4 lens and a great zoom range. AND lots of megapixels (12.4) and good video options, too. If you’re frustrated with the results you’ve been getting from your current compact digital camera, but you’re not willing to jump in to the world of expensive and sometimes complicated DSLRs, check this one out. At $499 it’s well-priced for all the power and features.
I can’t wait to test one out!
- 12.4Mp Resolution
- 3.0″ AMOLED Display
- 1/1.7″ BSI CMOS Sensor
- 3.3x Optical Zoom, 12x Digital
- 5.2-17.2mm Zoom Lens (24-80mm)
- Full HD 1920 x 1080 Video Recording
- Dual Optical/Digital Image Stabilization
- Dual Capture: Simultaneous Photo/Video
- Smart Camera: Wi-Fi Sharing, Backup, etc
- Creative Movie Maker Software Included
“There’s not a lot of that type of statistics on many aspects of sheltering,” says Kim Intino, the director of animal sheltering issues for the Humane Society of the United States. “But I think that every person that has worked in a shelter can attest that in shelters animals with black coats can be somewhat harder to adopt out — or to even get noticed.”
Even after a year had passed at a Los Angeles animal shelter, no one had noticed Estelle. Except, of course, for the staff; they fawned over the big black dog and her gentle demeanor. They started letting Estelle roam the office during the day, which let one couple see her in action — outside her cage and calmly interacting with people. They fell for her, and took her home.
But not every black dog is lucky enough to get that kind of special attention, says Madeline Bernstein, the president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Los Angeles.
“They’re the hardest to adopt out, they’re in the shelters the longest and therefore, they’re most likely to be euthanized if nothing happens,” Bernstein says. (Breeders don’t tend to face this problem at the level that shelters do, simply because they have fewer animals to deal with than a city shelter that takes strays in every day.)
Bernstein has plenty of theories about why people might not want black dogs in animal shelters. It’s mostly an unconscious thing, she says, which may explain why black cats have the same problems finding a home. People who are aware of superstitions about black cats (don’t let them cross your path!) may also be unconsciously harboring superstitions about black dogs.