Photographs save lives.
Pictures help to capture the spirit of adoptable animals. Photos highlight the sparkling personality and lovability of these discarded pets. This gets them noticed and greatly increases networking ability. While all this attention is happening online the photo is capturing the hearts of potential adopters and supporters. Consistent photographs of rescued pigs helps people understand the joys and struggles of the rescue world. It lets them feel involved and connected. It introduces them to individuals, real animals, with names, personalities, feelings, stories and shining eyes that are looking to love and be loved. Photographs open the door and lets the public in. Think of a long bio you would write to describe the pig to the general public, and then capture that in a photo! With a single photograph you can reach potential adopters who will imagine that pig in their living room, with their children, or on camping excursions, part of the family.
Photograph everyone, as often as possible. Most importantly, share a mix of happy adoptable pigs, special needs or elderly pigs, pigs interacting with people or other pets, and pig’s with their new adopted family. If you choose to only post “unadoptable” pets, sick pets, depressed pets, abandoned pigs, and heart wrenching stories, then people have nothing to look forward to. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. They want to see that all this heartache and struggle is for something good – an adoption. Highlighting happy adoptions is a great way to perk up the mood and show how much promise and potential each pig has within themselves. Photographing and promoting younger pigs, social pigs, and photogenic pigs with lots of personality helps to highlight that rescue is full of pigs that are
The background of the photo is just as important as the subject. When at all possible, photograph outside in a safe place. Green grass makes a beautiful backdrop, mud does not. Lighting is essential. If the photo is too dark, the pig’s best features will not shine. Bright natural light, either direct sun or in the shade – they each have their own benefits. Clear the area, make sure there is no trash or debri to distract in the photo. Objects in the background such as a pool, kid’s toys, or furniture take away from the focus of the rescue pig. It is very difficult to get a great photo inside a barn. A camera flash makes this even more difficult. If a barn is the only safe place to photograph, bring in as much natural and artificial light as possible.
Close up photos are brilliantly eye catching. Squat down or sit to get as close to eye level as possible. Try to catch the pig making eye contact with the camera for a very personal and intimate feel to the photo.
Interacting with the pig will help to capture her personality and help the public to connect with her. This is best achieved by having a photographer and one or two helpers to manage and interact with the pig, to catch her attention and spark expressions. The experience should be calming and relaxing for the pig. If the pig is pushed into a corner or made to feel restrained she will panic and this emotion will show in her photos. Use sweet talk or soothing tones when interacting with the pig during photos. Use treats to get her attention. Have her perform commands or tricks, such as sit or wave, if she is trained to do so. If the pig is socialized, ask people to interact with her, pet her, rub her belly, kiss or touch noses.
With a pig photo shoot… food, food, and more food! Pig’s love food. Their enthusiasm and focus will show in the photos. Treats can be used, hidden in different spots to get the pig moving, or treats can be given held above the pig to capture those extraordinary expressions. Another fun idea is to give the pig a special treat. A pumpkin, a watermelon, or a special pig friendly cake with yogurt. Props such as pianos or other toys to play add to the visual fun while showcasing the pig’s intelligence and suitability as a cherished pet, if only given the chance. Seasonal or holiday props can be a great addition to the photo, but the focus should remain on the pig. Clothes or accessories can add a lot of flair to a rescued pig photo. A fluffy tutu, a bow tie, a bandana or a hat can really make this pig stand out.
You don’t need 100s of photos, you only need the right one. #1 rule of pet photography is patience. Set aside enough time to not rush. Don’t start photographing right away, and don’t push for a certain photo angle. Ask your helpers to interact with the pig, sit and watch, then when everyone is relaxed and smiling, start shooting those pics! Remember, pigs are very in tune with our emotions. If you are stressed, anxious, or aggravated, they will reflect that back into the photos. Start with a good mood and have FUN! You’re giving this pig the gift of networking!