Tell us a little about your volunteer work.
As I was volunteering at various animal shelters around the country, I noticed that there was a great need for better photography and marketing. So I started Second Chance Photos to bring about awareness about the importance of photography and marketing to increase adoption rates.
I’ve since merged with wonderful charity partners to create One Picture Saves a Life. We teach photography workshops at animal shelters and also give away cameras, lenses and Photoshop software. The website is: OnePictureSaves.com
We’ve seen that one of those partners is the founder of Paul Mitchell?
Yes, John Paul DeJoria. His company, John Paul Pet, is a partner in our program. As part of each workshop, we teach the importance of grooming shelter pets. Pets that look and feel better have an increased chance of getting adopted in a shorter period of time. Other partners include GreaterGood.org, The Animal Rescue Site and PetFinder Foundation.
Is there any experience with One Picture Saves a Life that stands out in your mind?
Sugar. She was one of the first dogs that I photographed; a Pit Bull-Staffie mix. The intake photo was not very positive. She was found roaming the streets, was probably scared and confused, and not looking her best. There seem to be some ominous looking things in the background of the photo. She had a very tight lead around her neck. The initial photo taken of her was not a “hey come adopt me” photo, it was a “yikes” – not a very positive photo.
I had a chance to take her out in the yard and play with her. We got a very positive photo of Sugar. The photo also embraced nature, she looked happy. She got adopted.
Dogs often come in to shelters during the middle of the night. They’re scared, and often from bad circumstances. This work [photographing shelter animals] is so important because you’re not just saving specific lives, you’re also improving the image of rescue and adoption. Some people don’t want to go to shelters, or want their kids going, because they’re not sure what they’ll find there. Or they’re afraid it will be depressing. People may be afraid and they shouldn’t be. These animals are wonderful and worth saving.
Watch a clip from a One Picture Saves seminar at Chicago Animal Care & Control:
For more tips, information on workshops and more, visit: onepicturesaves.com