If you were searching for Mr. or Mrs. Right on Match.com, how successful would you be if a) someone else chose your profile photo and b) said photo was, well, hideous?
This is the wrong that Dallas photographer Teresa Berg has been righting since 2007—only instead of glamorizing guys and gals, she’s been photographing pooches.
And not just any dogs, either.
Berg snaps portraits of shelter canines looking for a good home.
You don’t have to save every dog in the world. Either help them take better pictures or volunteer to do so yourself—it can make so much difference.
The result has been nothing short of astonishing: her professionalization of online dog adoption photos for the Dallas-Forth Worth Dachshund Rescue Foundation has increased adoption rates by a staggering 100 percent.
Seriously, how adorbz is Arnie? He still needs a home. Adopt him here!
(Photo: Courtesy of Teresa Berg)
Berg tells TakePart that her “must do this, light-bulb moment” came in 2007 when she was trolling online for a dog to adopt.
She knew the breed she wanted—“a long-haired dachshund”—and her hunt eventually led her to the Dallas-Forth Worth Dachshund Rescue Foundation.
“They were so well run, so professional. The dog had been vet-checked and healthy and cared for,” says Berg. “But their photographs just looked awful.”
While adopting her doxie, she made fast friends with Kathleen Coleman of the foundation. “I said: I don’t have a lot of time, but I want to help you. Your dogs could really use some better photographs,’ ” says Berg.
Nowhere in the hundreds of doggie photographs she’s snapped will you find “green, glowing eyes or blurry faces or half-eaten boxes of pizza in the background.”
Her portraits depict the floppy-eared pooches in her Dallas studio, reports CBS of Dallas/Forth Worth.
Their eyes sparkle with personality. Some of the female animals wear a pearl necklace, which they seem to carry with a certain pride. Others appear to sport a smile or even exude serenity.
“As soon as we did the first shoot, within maybe two weeks, the hits on their website went up maybe tenfold,” says Berg. “We know we had a winning combination. People started emailing the foundation, asking: ‘When are the new dog photos going up?’ ”
“It’s almost like she can capture the soul of a dog in the photograph,” said Jennifer Pearson, to CBS DFW. Pearson adopted one of Berg’s subjects earlier this month.
Interest in Berg’s camera-for-a-cause operation went viral this week after the airing of a CBS Early Show segment.
“I’ve got about 300 requests from professional photographers across the country this week alone,” says Berg. “We’re frantically trying to set up webinars. We want to capitalize on their enthusiasm.”
Her advice to photographers around the country that want to help is simple.
“I’m telling them to just find one small group to help,” says Berg. “You don’t have to save every dog in the world. Either help them take better pictures or volunteer to do so yourself—it can make so much difference.”