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!
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!
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!
When you start photographing adoptable pets for a local rescue group or shelter it will take a little time to “get in the groove.” You need to find a helper, or train someone with the rescue group to be your assistant. Finding just the right location and experimenting with different lighting conditions can also take some time. But once you figure out the variables and feel more confident, you’re going to help save a lot of dogs. It’s a fact.
THEN, the rave reviews start coming in and people approach you and tell you they adopted their new dog because of YOUR photograph. The rescue group will start getting comments on their website or blog, the local newspaper might catch wind of the story and want to write about you. All of a sudden YOU are making a real difference.
Now what? I decided a long time ago that one camera can only save so many dogs — but every dog lover with a camera knows another dog lover with a camera. You can see where I’m going with this. Yep. It’s multi-level marketing. If you’re handling the dogs and your camera with some success — you’re ready to get someone else started! The world can only get better.
Share this blog with them, tell them about Hearts Speak (www.heartsspeak.org ) and Petfinder.com — have them work side-by-side with you a couple of times — then you can relax and share the happy endings.
Using a slogan or tagline with your rescue portraits can be very effective for raising awareness