Thursday, March 21, 2013

Photographing Dogs for Rescue Groups - Operation Paws for Homes

"One Happy Dog!"
(C) Allen Pearson
One of the aspects of photographing dogs that I love quite a bit is when an animal rescue group contacts me to photograph their dogs for use on their website, with PetFinder and other publications.

On Saturday, March 9, I was invited by Operation Paws for Homes to photograph the dogs they brought to an adoption event in Reston, VA.

The weather was beautiful and I was in my element. Photographing dogs.  Helping dogs who have lost their homes, for whatever reasons, find a new friend, new family and "Forever Home."  Since I haven't photographed for a rescue group in several weeks, I quickly realized what I'd been missing.

My furry clients came up to me like long lost friends though I'd never met these dogs before. Each had their own personality and story.  Some couldn't be helped, some could be and were really sad.  How I wished I could take all of them home with me but having my own "big" dog is about what I can handle.

"Looking for a Home"
(C) Allen Pearson
When I photograph dogs for the rescue groups, I use my 50-200 mm lens as it allows me to get close up to the dogs face or get a full body shot depending on the rescue organizations requirements.  Usually the dogs are full of energy or a bit scared or stressed in their surroundings.  Using this lens, I can back away if needed.  Sometimes I meet a dog who is scared, most of the time it's because I am male, so I let the dog smell my camera and gently reach out to pet him- being careful to not allow him to "use" my camera or camera bag for his business.  Also, I carry a lens pen so if the dog nose brushes my lens, I can clean it easily.
"Hey!"
(C) Allen Pearson
I usually take at least 5 images of each dog.  Many times, the dogs are excited so taking several images allows you to get several to give to the rescue group.

Though I do not get paid for the work that I do, I find that I get paid in other very rewarding ways.  That is, the fun of meeting dogs, helping them to find new homes and making the occasional friend.

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