Any sort of attention getting device can help get a dog adopted. There are statistics showing that bandanas are the number one prop most photographers should consider when doing an adoption photo. Why? Because the dogs look FRIENDLY. They look playful and not scary. Imagine you’re a mom or dad wanting to get a small child their first pet — do you choose the dog slumped in the corner looking at the floor?
Those of us who love dogs know that great dogs sometimes just don’t do well in a shelter, or even in a boarding facility. The withdraw and look sad (to us) and scary (to someone less familiar with shelter pets).
But what about holiday props? I, personally, have never liked pet portraits with lots of decorations. My style as always been the clean neutral backgrounds with just a pop of color or even (gasp) JUIST THE DOG. But this time of year it’s tempting to use a holiday related prop to grab attention for that pet. And I think that’s fine, as long as you also photograph the pet without any props so the rescue group can swap out the photos if the holidays come and go and the dog is passed over for adoption. Nothing looks sadder than a holiday adoption photo in February or March… it just calls attention to the fact that the dog has been there ALL that time. Many people will assume there is something wrong with him.