WCL: Picture perfect pets!

The Animal Welfare League is having their 2nd annual Pet Photo Contest as a fundraiser. The winners get their pet's photo in the 2012 Animal Welfare League Calendar. Cory Berndt and Crystal Broccardo from the Chicago Ridge facility tell us all about it, and bring a couple of "friends" who need a new home!

Animal Welfare League

The Animal Welfare League was founded in 1935 to stop the suffering of animals that seemed common place in Chicagoland. Our founding shelter, located at 6224 South Wabash Avenue in Chicago, still exists today as the only humane society on the south side of Chicago. Our Wabash shelter operates in an economically depressed area and provides valuable services to residents in the area such as shelter and care to homeless and needy animals, low cost clinic services to pet owners on a limited income and no-charge monthly pet food distribution.

The Animal Welfare League opened a second shelter in southwest suburban Chicago Ridge in 1974 to expand the care and services that were desperately needed in the south suburban area. In May 1992, Animal Welfare League moved into a state-of-the-art, full service shelter at 10305 Southwest Highway in Chicago Ridge, where we can accommodate the increase in the number of homeless and unwanted animals, housing the largest number of adoptable animals from a non-profit organization in the entire mid-west.

Do you want to find out how to take the perfect pet portrait to submit to the contest?? Founder and photographer from Pink Parrot Pet Photography, Candace Zynda gives us the "pros" inside tips...
Tips for taking great pet portraits at home

Have a positive attitude about the "pet portrait session." Animals have a way of sensing our emotions and feelings, so being anxious or uptight will make them feel this way as well.

Use natural light. Chose a well lit area, but avoid direct sunlight as it can come off harsh or wash out the features of your pet. Having a well lit area will also reduce the chances of having to use your camera's flash. Using a flash can upset some animals, and reduces the chance of capturing a natural expression. Additionally, using a flash increases thechances of your photo having red-eye or "alien eye" (that funny green laser beam effect found commonly in dog & cat photos!)

Go to your pet, and get to their level. If you want to capture the most natural expressions and genuine personality, don't make your pet feel uncomfortable or out of place by making them pose where they normally wouldn't. Getting down to the animal's level may mean sitting on the floor, or laying on your stomach and waiting for the right moment (trust me,it's well worth it.)

Pick a focal point on your pet that their unique expressions stem from, the eyes are typically a good place to start.

Think about words and phrases that your pet responds to in a way that shows their character. Some ideas may include: "Mommy's home!, You want a TREAT?, W-A-L-K, or Outside?" Be creative and try a few different phrases.

Shoot multiple shots in a row. This increases your chances of getting that picture of your senior "lazy cat" yawning or your "playful puppy" licking its nose or whatever little moments that define your pet's unique character.

Be patient, professional pet photographers sometimes shoot dozens of pictures to get the "perfect" shot.

Don't forget to have FUN! Our pet's respond to silly noises, different pitched voices, and can tell the difference between the playful tones in our voices and when we are scolding. Don't forget to keep the mood and atmosphere light hearted and your pet will respond full of character just waiting to be captured on film.

Candace Zynda
Founder and Photographer at Pink Parrot Photo Pet Photography

Pink Parrot Pet Photography