Beautiful Examples And Tips On How To Photograph Animals For The Purpose Of Adoption

It felt like yesterday that we featured Underwater Dogs. Seth Casteel took those incredible photos and it definitely was a really memorable series of animal shots. How could you not love them? In fact, Seth is such a great animal photographer that he didn't just stop there. He's created some great tips on photographing animals for the intent of getting them adopted. 

When you have bad images of animals being used to represent them, it doesn't really paint a good picture of their personalities. This results in a lower rate of adoption. It's amazing how pictures play such a huge roll in the fate of these animals.

Second Chance Photos was founded by Seth and aims to save lives through great pictures.

Here's a part of their mission statement that explains what it's all about.

"One Picture Saves a Life"

When a dog or cat arrives at an animal shelter, it often is scared, dirty and disoriented. As part of the intake process, the animal has their photo taken, and this untimely photo is the face that people see when looking to potentially adopt a pet. An inaccurate headshot can hurt its chances of adoption, but an uplifting, hopeful portrait can save its life.

Second Chance Photos believes every homeless pet should be represented with a positive, professional photograph, offering a glimpse into their unique personality in hopes to make a connection with potential adopters. Our mission is to provide shelter staff and volunteers with the resources to successfully photograph shelter pets, aiding in giving them the second chance they deserve. Through these efforts, we hope to improve the overall image of rescue & adoption.  

Here are some examples of great tips on photographing these beautiful creatures. To see more, be sure to visit the website at


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[Via Buzzfeed]

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Mr Blah's picture

Basically, the same principal to human portrait.

Shallow DoF
Camera level with eyes of the subject
Shady area for flattering light

This makes a big difference! Can't believe those "before" are real...

stefano druetta's picture

have you ever looked at any dog shelter pictures? they usually look like those on the left..

Mr Blah's picture

No I never did. But I never thought they'd be that oblivious to the negative mood they have...

stefano druetta's picture

dog shelters aren't the most beautiful place where dog can live, so they tend to look sad, of course. people volunteering at shelters aren't usually skilled photographers, so they do what they can, ending with pretty bad pictures.. photographing dogs isn't easy in the first place even with happy chaps living in families: handling dogs that live in 4 square meters cages is much worse...

Ed Selby's picture

Awesome! I have found pet photography to be more difficult than weddings, but the potential reward and payoff is clearly in favor of the good pet photographer. I'm an avid supporter of adopting, and anything that can be done to help these dogs find good homes is a Good Thing.

Corrianna Childers's picture

Wow, this is so timely!! I just met with a shelter this morning to start photographing their dogs. Love it! I think I've got it handled, but it was nice to look through the tips anyway! :)

denise5565's picture

Love this. I see these sad photos all the time and have thought how I wish I had the time to go to the shelter and photograph the animals for them.

Vanessa R. Mickey's picture

I volunteer at my local shelter monthly! It's great practice and it has helped increase their adoptions!!! I recommend it to everyone!

Mary's picture

I volunteer at my local shelter (and with several of the rescues that work with them) at least once a week, it's how I learned to photograph. One of the best things I ever did for the shelter animals was buy one of those pop-up studios designed for product photography. Considering that I cannot take the cats outside to photograph them and we have no studio space, this gives me an excellent option for small dogs and cats to still get really great shots while keeping them enclosed. The one I got even came with a velcro-attached front cover with a slit in the front, which is awesome for keeping the animal in view of the camera while containing them to a certain extent.

Johann MG's picture

There's a woman who does the same thing at the Shelter next to my University. I think it's great!