Famous “underwater dog” photographer turns lens to helping animal shelters


posted Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 11:49 AM EST


Remember Seth Casteel, the photographer behind those viral underwater dog photographs from last year? He's now turned his skills working with animals in a new direction. Second Chance Photos is his new initiative to get better photos of rescued animals, and help them find homes.

Pets often come into shelters in pretty poor states. They might be starving, covered in matted fur, injured, or maybe just scared and in a new place. Shelter staff are often rushed for time, and with mediocre equipment, they only get to capture a couple of poor snapshots to go up on Petfinder or another website. Casteel, in partnership with One Picture Saves a Life are hoping to improve that — as a better photo means the animal is much more likely to be adopted.

On the Second Chance Photos website, there's a gallery full of tips on how to shoot cats and dogs — of which a big part seems to be getting a nice wide aperture lens, and shooting outdoors if you can. Likewise, One Picture has a series of video guides on how to photograph and groom to help them look their best. They also run workshops to get you up to skill, so you can help these animals get the best chance at a new home that they can. They even recommend photography gear, pushing folks towards getting a dirt cheap Canon SLR and 50mm lenses.

Trying to get better photos of rescue animals isn't a new phenomenon. A few years ago, a pet photographer in Texas made the news saying that thousands of animal lives could be saved with better photography, and there was one report of a shelter worker being fired for taking better images of the animals.

If you're interested in pet photography, volunteering at your local shelter would be a great way to get experience, beef up your portfolio, and help save the lives of rescue animals along the way!

(via BuzzFeed)