Animals have a knack for capturing the hearts of many, which is why photographing the animals in your care is a crucial step in preparing for adoptions. Potential adopters spend time scouring the Internet looking for the right match for their family. As they scroll through pictures, you want to make sure they stop on your website or social media page and call about one of the dogs or cats you have available. Taking great photos of animals is not always easy because they are unpredictable and don’t always want to “sit and smile” for the camera.

Here are six tips for taking adoption pictures that instill a connection with potential adopters:

  • Avoid using flash.

 

If you use a flash, you’ll notice the animal’s eyes look red or blue in the final shot. Some animals may even be frightened by the flash making the photo session impossible. Instead, find an area with plenty of natural lighting so you don’t have to rely on the camera’s flash.

  • Focus on their eyes.

 

A dog or cat’s eyes speak volumes to potential adopters and are the key to capturing their heart. They tell a lot about the animal without you having to explain anything. If you can’t get them to look at the camera, go to where they are looking or ask for help from other volunteers.

  • Take pictures at their level.

 

The picture should be all about the dog or cat and getting to their level makes it easier to center the frame on them. Don’t forget to take close-ups so the animal is the star of the picture.

  • Show the animal’s personality.

 

Is the dog or cat playful? Or do they prefer to lie in the sun or a quiet place indoors? Try to showcase their personality so the picture paints a story of what potential adopters can expect. If the dog or cat likes to interact with humans, include photos of them playing or laying on the lap of a volunteer.

  • Use treats or toys they like.

 

Trying to persuade a dog or cat to look at you with a less than desirable treat or toy will get you nowhere. Make sure you use their favorites to get the best results.

  • Patience is important.

 

Patience is necessary when it comes to photographing animals. Some sessions will go exactly as planned and others can take some time. If a dog or cat isn’t quite cooperating with your efforts, give them a break by moving on to the next one. Sometimes they may just not be in the mood to interact with you, but they could be later on.

The ASPCA estimates that nearly 6.5 million companion animals enter animal shelters and rescues each year, but only 3.2 million find their forever home.  The rest of the animals either remain in the care of animal welfare organizations or end up being euthanized. The ongoing goal of every animal shelter and rescue is to find a way to increase animal adoptions. The animals in your care deserve to find a home where they will be loved and cared for long-term.

If your shelter or rescue is struggling to increase adoptions, we’ve put together the list below to inspire new ideas, strategies, and techniques.

  1. Focus more on the experience

Too often, individuals looking for pets skip the shelter experience because the idea of seeing so many unwanted animals is heartbreaking. While it is heartbreaking, entering your shelter doesn’t have to leave visitors feeling like that. Make it an energetic and happy environment by adding color, bright lighting, and minimizing clutter.

  1. Paint a pleasant picture

What does your online presence say about your animal shelter or rescue? Are there pictures of animals posted online? Do the animals look like they are living in a happy and well-kept environment? Or, do they paint a different picture? Your website should be inviting and engaging for users and focus on getting them to call or visit your location.

  1. Use social media

If you haven’t created a social media page yet, you are behind in the times. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat are a gift to animal welfare organizations. The best part is they are free! You can post pictures and videos of available animals, and, with the right approach, thousands of potential adopting families can see them and fall in love.

  1. Dress for success

Just like you would dress for success if you were meeting with a significant donor, your animals also need to dress for success. Make sure they are well groomed at all times so it is more difficult for adopters to say no.

  1. Spend time in your community

Don’t hide the animals ready for adoption from the community. Take them out for walks in local parks and to pet-friendly events. By giving community members a chance to meet and see the animals, you spark conversations and build relationships with potential adopters.

  1. Limit the number available for adoption

Sometimes too many choices are overwhelming for those looking to adopt. Depending on the number of animals you take in daily, it may be beneficial to limit the number available for adoption. By limiting the choices, you make the decision easier for adopting families that may have left because the decision was too hard.

  1. Partner with the community

Partnering with the community on awareness projects like this one in Concord, North Carolina, may be what you need to fully educate your local community. Students in Concord created a movement with the help of their teacher to increase adoptions. When children get behind a movement, adults listen.