One of the ways I volunteer with pet rescues in the Las Vegas area is by donating my time to capture portraits of adoptable dogs, cats, other animals. The portraits that are created during this volunteer time are done extremely fast. I have a different mindset than the traditional photo sessions. The photos in this post, are all of animals who were in rescue, looking for a family to call home.
The first photos that you typically see of rescue dogs are usually an intake photo. Often these photos are the worst photos being used to showcase the animal. They have the dog held to the wall with a leash, and they click one time (just Imagine the worst dmv photo you have ever taken). This is an effective way for the shelter to identify the pets. When they typically don't have the time to get better imagery.
The one thing that I have seen that personally helps with adoption portraits is a simple photograph. This doesn't have to be a complex photo but one that simply shows the individuality of the pet. When I take rescue photos my main goal is to get the best photo in the shortest amount of time. I often photograph multiple adoptables all at once. I have photographed over 50 dogs in roughly an hour. This was with the assistance of volunteers and a few tricks! Having an assistant who can help you with rescue portraits is a wonderful way to capture more images in less time.
Adoption photos should be cheerful and happy, if you look at the photo and say "awwww" that pet has the best chance of finding a forever home. I look at the rescue portraits as a first impression, if the first thoughts are positive it helps with the adoption process. I am currently working on a few videos that will offer my tips and tricks when photographing rescue dogs. My plan is that volunteers without any photographic experience will be able to capture first impressions that help save lives.
Rick Vierkandt- Bark Gallery