Professional Photography helps increase adoption rates in Calgary

There is a new trend taking the rescue world by storm in the Calgary area that is affecting adoption rates in a tremendously positive manner. Rescues and shelters are switching from having amateur photographers take their adoption photos with cell phones, to enlisting professional pet photographers for the task!

The main problem with photos taken by amateurs is that they are often taken indoors in low light with flash, which causes those “demon” eyes that are so frequently seen in pet photos. Amateur photographers may also unknowingly include clutter and other distractions that professional photographers avoid – allowing potential adopters to focus on the animal. When people see something special in an animal, and they connect with the photo, the animal has a better chance at getting adopted.

And let’s face it – getting an animal adopted involves the same marketing principals that selling a car does. The animals need to look good, desirable, friendly, and they need to appeal to the potential adopter.


Julie Bousfield, Director, Media Coordinator at ARF in Calgary adds:

“Dogs and cats with engaging stories and professional photos always get more interest and applications than the animals who have neither.”

HeARTs Speak is a charitable organization created as a resource to help professional photographers improve and get more involved with their local rescues. And with their over 400 members in 12 countries, there are no shortages of available pet photographers to take up the challenge.

Founder of HeARTs Speak, Lisa Prince Fishler, started the organization with the belief that collectively, photographers are stronger. The situation for animals in shelters around the world stands a better chance of improving working together – as a team.

Professional pet photographer, Holly Montgomery, of BrindleBerry – Custom Pet Photography has been a service professional member of HeARTs Speak for about three years and was previously on the membership committee with the organization.

“There is a kinship in the pet photography world; a real, genuine desire to help animals and get more into good homes. A photographer that specializes in pets does it because they have a real love and understanding for them! There is no other reason a photographer would take on the extra challenges of photographing pets.”

Theresa Swain (also a member of HeARTs Speak), of Thousand Woofs Photography for Dogs would agree. She has been taking photographs for ARF for about 10 years – which ultimately led her to taking photos of dogs professionally.

“I volunteer my time taking adoption photos because it’s a great way to combine my passions: photography and animal rescue. I feel it’s a win-win for me and for the animal, who will hopefully get more exposure and adoption applications with a good photo. It fills me with a great sense of accomplishment when I hear that a dog I’ve photographed has found a home. It’s a small piece of the rescue to adoption puzzle, but it’s the way I can best help.”

And as HeARTs Speak’s membership continues to increase, more rescues are becoming savvy to the positive affect that professional photography has on adoption rates. ARF, AARCS, Heaven Can Wait, Beagle Paws, and Pound Rescue, are just a few area rescues taking advantage of professional pet photographers for their adoption photos.

One thing is a definite – adoptions rates in Calgary are on the rise, and that is in part due to professional adoption photos.

Written by professional pet photographer, Holly Montgomery, of BrindleBerry – Custom Pet Photography.

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