F-stop, shutter speed, depth of field, lighting…the photographer is ready. Bring on the model! Were we at a photo shoot for the latest model or actor? No, these actors and models were of the furry variety and the location was the Burbank Animal Shelter.
The Shelter Art Foundation, sponsored by Purina and the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, recently spent three days giving in-depth instruction, expertise, mentoring and special equipment to VBAS volunteers. The energy, enthusiasm and excitement of the volunteers was evident as they learned new photography techniques, discovered the magic of good lighting and saw the spectacular results! The goal for Steve Sloop and Deb Cobb of Shelter Art Foundation and for the staff and volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter is to provide the animal stars the best possible way to attract potential adopters. Actors, actresses, models and celebrities all use sharp, classy photos to get noticed, why shouldn’t our animals?
“This instruction was a game changer for me” said volunteer photographer Amy. “My pictures are about to get SO much cooler!” A new photo of Coco, a female Korean Jindo/Australian Shepherd available for adoption, was posted on a Facebook and “That photo has exploded on my page!” reported Photo Team Manager Lorry. Three different sessions of many hours each were offered to the volunteer photographers, to wranglers tasked with perfect placement of the animals onto the specialized backdrop and to kitten foster parents who would be using the techniques for home photography. Hands on sessions, critiques and editing suggestions all contributed to the end goal — the best first impression of an adoptable animal!
Steve and Deb shared photo expertise and their love of the process. “The VBAS Photo Team is already working well and has a great deal of skill so we were able to offer them a Level 2 session with additional equipment,” said Steve. The Shelter Art Foundation (www.shelterart foundation.org) is based in Monterrey, California but will travel all over the country sharing these techniques and will maintain contact with the teams that they have trained to promote an interchange of ideas and methods. The Foundation is able to offer this training free of charge to shelters and rescue groups through a generous grant from Purina and support from the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation. The volunteers at the Burbank Animal Shelter were thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in this process. “I learned more about photography in thirty minutes than I had learned in my whole life” said Chris.