When I decided to make Pet Photography my business, I had no idea how much of an impact it would make on different areas of my life. I already volunteer with Border Collie Rescue Texas (http://www.bcrescuetexas.org), and have volunteered with other rescue organizations in the past. I've always had rescues as pets in my life, and always will. Then my niece, Sara, sends me a link about a photographer in Dallas who volunteers studio time to dog rescue organizations. Sara saw this piece on CBS about Teresa Berg and decided I needed to look her up, so I did. I found Teresa's web site which led me to, "Unleashed", a seminar on fine art dog photography led by Teresa and Bev Hollis ( http://unleashed2009.wordpress.com ). I managed to get into their July session here in Dallas.
As part of the seminar, we were offered the opportunity to sit in on a session with Teresa about volunteering our time to shelters and rescue organizations. She talked about the kind of photos that get animals adopted, and how to approach organizations. She talked of her experiences and how rewarding it is to see adoptions increase with good, happy, photos of the animals in need. I decided then to give some of my time to help. It is simply daunting the number of organizations out there! I thrashed around trying to figure where I could best help. I did a session at Dallas Animal Services and was surprised at how much work it was, yet, I came away feeling so good after looking at the shots later that day. Wow, what a difference a photo could make.
I finally decided I wanted to focus on helping in my local community. Teresa put out a request on our seminar Facebook page asking if anyone was close to Rockwall. Rockwall was only 15 minutes away, I had been there before looking at Border Collies. I took the request and have been going every other week since. My friend Christy Mastin and I spend a little over two hours taking pictures of well deserved dogs at the Rockwall Adoption Center at each visit. The response: "Oh My GOSH! These pictures are fantastic! I can't wait to upload them to our site!! Thank you so much - amazing what a difference these will be able to make in the lives of our residents! Thank you so so much"! I had no idea a few hours of my time with these dogs would mean so much to me. Each one of them comes up to me after and just leans into my lap, almost as if to say thank you. You can't help but scratch their ears and look into their eyes.
Since then I have become an aspiring member of HeARTs Speak. This is a wonderful organization of artists that collaborate to help adoptable animals in need. I am so proud to be associated with this group! Check out their website: http://www.heartsspeak.org.
In 2013 I have the privilege of being chosen as a participant in the Paws for Charity Project. An amazing 90 participants from the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and England have donated the use of their images for this year's project. Click on this link to see a copy of 2013 Paws For Charity Book, I'm page 76. ( http://www.blurb.com/b/4136274-2013-paws-for-charity ) All proceeds go to the shelter. I'm excited to be chosen for this publication.
I have also become a member of a local organization, Mission of Mercy Animal Photography Project. Check out their facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/MIssionOfMercyAnimalPhotographyProject. This organization offers training to Humane Societies, Rescue Organizations and Animal Shelter personnel. The goal is to teach those who work or volunteer for animal adoptions to take better photos for their sites. Not every organization has the privilege of a volunteer professional photographer coming to their facility. In those cases, this organization of local photographers can train them in camera use, simple exposure and shooting techniques to improve their adoption pictures. The courses have been offered at ACO conferences for continuing education credit. In 2013 we hope to reach out to more in need and expand our program.
Look at the before and after shots from some of the shoots. Photographers out there, tell me you can't see how these updated photos will help. Think about checking out Teresa's online webinars to find out how to help ( http://focusonrescue.com/tag/teresa-berg-dog-photography ). Think about giving a helping hand to Mission of Mercy.