Shelters whet print skills to coax pet adoptions

December 27, 2014 - photo frame

Sprinkle was transfixed by a reindeer wipe with a chime bells.

As a tortoiseshell kitten stared earnestly during a source of a sound, Ashton Keenan clicked divided with a camera in one palm and a newness antlers in a other, capturing a moment.

Keenan, an adoption advisor during a Animal Protective Association of Missouri, took a mural on a new Dec morning in a shelter’s new studio. A studio light hovered over Keenan’s shoulder as Sprinkle perched on a blue muslin sheet.

The studio, non-stop this year in a converted washing room, is partial of “Meet a Real Me,” a commander module saved by St. Louis-based Nestlé Purina PetCare.

Launched during a APA, “Meet a Real Me” has stretched to 9 other internal animal shelters in new weeks. The idea is to titillate preserve photography so some-more deserted and wandering dogs and cats are adopted, pronounced Pamela Hill, selling manager for Purina’s pet gratification team.

If a module is successful here, Purina, a country’s largest pet food maker, pronounced it competence be stretched to other cities nationwide.

“We know that a aged photos were ineffectual since they didn’t sufficient uncover a celebrity of a animal,” pronounced Steve Kaufman, a APA’s executive director.

Shelters mostly take photos of animals when they initial arrive during a facility, and their faces uncover a prominence a animals are under, Kaufman said. Or, photos are taken with a waste preserve backdrop with lighting that doesn’t intensify a animals’ features.

Using training from a veteran photographer, APA employees now use techniques that improved prominence a animals’ personalities, and use backdrops that aren’t distracting.

Training videos, cameras, backdrops and other collection were donated by Purina to a St. Louis area shelters, as partial of a $10 million a association spends annually on pet gratification programs. Some resources for shelters, including photography tips, are accessible on a website Some of a photos are also on, a website Purina owns that allows people to hunt a database of some-more than 300,000 adoptable pets from scarcely 13,000 adoption groups.

“What we’re perplexing to do is make a certain change in a series of pets that are adopted, contra only a dollar donation,” Purina’s Hill said.

The association is regulating what it’s schooled with amicable media to boost adoptions. “We have a enlightenment where people are acid online initial for everything,” Hill said.

Some of a photos are also featured on a Purina ad debate on area billboards and magazines that titillate people to cruise a preserve pet. The ads underline a shelter’s name and a name of a pet subsequent to a photo.

During a past dual years, Purina conducted concentration groups to establish what drives a perplexity some people have about adopting a preserve animal. Only about 27 percent of domicile cats and dogs in a U.S. come from shelters, according to a Purina study, nonetheless a series is aloft locally, during 40 percent.

“We’ve finished quantitative studies and concentration groups, and a categorical separator to adoption is they’re aroused what function a pet will have once they move it home,” Hill said. “It’s unequivocally singular to see certain images for preserve pets. We cruise only saying these images will change their opinion and assistance them cruise a preserve pet.”

To rise “Meet a Real Me,” Purina enlisted a services of photographer Nanette Martin, co-founder and executive executive of Shelter Me Photography, a nonprofit formed in suburban Denver. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Martin photographed hunt and rescue efforts for People magazine, and took photos of stranded and mislaid animals. Martin began training workshops during shelters nationwide, spurred by her knowledge in New Orleans.

As partial of Purina’s program, Martin trafficked to St. Louis this tumble to sight employees during 10 area shelters how to take photos that improved bond animals with people. Instead of holding a print from a viewpoint above an animal, for example, she lerned preserve staff to get down on a animal’s level, with a pet looking into a camera. The animals’ bodies should fill a support of a photo, she also advised.

“Do whatever it takes to get a animal’s attention, so they’re looking directly into a lens,” Martin said. “When a chairman looks into a eye of an animal, that’s when a romantic tie can start.”

She also suggests shelters use a purify and elementary background, such as a sweeping or pet bed, so a concentration is on a animal and not a distracting backdrop.

On amicable media, people who perspective a photos are responding agreeably and pity a images some-more than in a past, that widens a pool of intensity adoptive families, Kaufman said. “We now have a open behaving as cheerleaders,” he said. “Animal advocates are pity a photos with their friends.”

For Mina Karr, saying a print of a poodle named Chloe wearing a bandana was adequate to coax her to conduct to a APA in late November. Karr, 30, of Brentwood, had poodles flourishing adult and wanted a messenger for her 7-year-old Beagle, Chase. “The design brought us in, a approach they prisoner her image,” Karr said. “She looked unequivocally good in a picture.”

The APA, that operates from a singular trickery on Hanley Road in Brentwood, has between 200 and 250 animals accessible for adoption, and a normal stay is about 30 days. But some comparison cats and dogs are some-more formidable to place. “We don’t like to have birthdays for them, since that means they’ve been here longer than a year,” Kaufman said.

The APA skeleton to enhance a print studio to embody videos that can be common on amicable media sites, such as Vine.

“It’s operative for us,” Kaufman pronounced of a photos. “Good photography helps change a perceptions some people have about preserve animals. It shows that instead of being aroused or scared, a animals are accessible and outgoing.”

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