Weâ€™ve all heard the saying â€œa picture is worth a thousand words;â€ but, when you are faced with separating from a pet to fulfill your service commitment, the right picture can be worth far more.Â A great pet profile photograph is a critically important step in finding a volunteer who will board your pet while you are deployed.
When you upload a photo of your precious pooch (or cat, bird, or other animal) to the â€œPets in Needâ€ section of dogsondeployment.com, using the right picture can find your pet a temporary home quickly and with minimal stress.Â Conversely, the wrong photo can distract viewers, detract from you petâ€™s profile, and even derail your search for a boarder home.
When you photograph your pet for a DoD pet profile, keep the following strategies in mind:
- Â Photograph your pet against a simple, colorful background that is not cluttered or distracting.Â For dogs, an outdoor background of grass or shrubbery works very well.Â For cats or other pets, a solid colored indoor wall is an excellent choice.
- Take outdoor photos in an illuminated area out of direct sunlight.Â Try photographing your pet on a partly cloudy day or in a semi-shaded area.Â The animal should be positioned so that the light source is behind the photographer.
- Indoors, avoid using a flash, as this can cause your petâ€™s eyes to have an unnatural red or white glow that is not flattering.Â Avoid overhead lighting.Â Indirect lighting is best, with the light source positioned behind the photographer.
- Â Make your pet the only focus of the photo, and get down on the animalâ€™s level to take the shot.Â The best picture will focus on your petâ€™s face.Â For dogs, you may want to take a photo that captures the face and also shows his/her body next to a simple, identifiable object (e.g. lawn chair, picnic table), to give the viewer a sense of the animalâ€™s proportions.
- Â An animal that is engaged and looks happy or content will be the easiest to place. To ensure you are able to show your pet at his/her best, have someone help you with the photo shoot.Â While the photographer snaps photos, the other person can stand behind the camera with a squeaky toy to attract the dogâ€™s attention.
- If possible, try a few minutes of vigorous play or a brisk walk before starting.Â This will likely get the dog panting, which tends to makes for a happier looking, â€œsmilingâ€ dog.
- For cats, it may be best to take a more relaxed approach, concealing the camera, and engaging the cat with a toy.Â Cats look great when they are looking at the camera, or when they are focused intently on a toy.
Things to Avoid
- Â Donâ€™t unwittingly sabotage your petâ€™s chances of finding a boarder home.Â Be sure your petâ€™s photo shows him or her in the best possible light.
- Donâ€™t photograph your pet doing anything that might be objectionable to someone else (e.g. digging, lying on furniture, inappropriate chewing, etc.)
- Do not photograph your pet in a choke or pinch collar.Â Â Not everyone agrees on the use of these types of collars and we have found that they distract from the issue at handâ€”matching a pet with a boarder home.
Everyone wants their pet to find the perfect boarding situation, in the absence of their loving home; taking a great picture makes it all that much easier for your pet to look as appealing and adorable to a potential boarder, as he/she does to you, every day.