This is an excerpt of a post originally published on the Petfinder.com blog
By Melissa McDaniel
Photographing shelter dogs — especially those with special needs — for a shelter’s Petfinder listings is a great way to volunteer: Good photos can help pets get adopted faster and can also attract more potential adopters to the shelter.
Here are some tips for helping deaf shelter dogs shine in their photo sessions.
- Use a treat to direct the dog’s focus. Photographers often use noises to get a dog to look at them and the camera. This isn’t possible with a deaf dog. To get a deaf dog’s attention, hold a treat to his nose, then bring the treat up to the camera before you take the picture. Usually, the dog’s gaze will follow the treat.
- Have someone else help you. When a deaf dog wanders off, you have to follow him to get him back, so it helps if you have someone helping you during the shoot to either prevent the dog from walking away or to retrieve him when he does.
- Show them being dogs. Many people don’t realize deaf dogs are just like hearing pets and they like to do the same activities that hearing dogs do. Show deaf dogs playing, having fun and just being dogs. This will help potential adopters see these dogs as the great family pets they are.
Melissa McDaniel is a Philadelphia-based animal portrait photographer and founder of the Photo Book Projects. Her book, Deaf Dogs, includes portraits of more than 75 deaf dogs from around the country and is available for purchase at her Web site.