(WSVN) – A South Florida pet photographer is helping shelter dogs find their picture perfect homes. 7’s Karen Hensel is here with today’s Spotlight.
From the moment he picked up a camera, John Bouma knew he wanted to photograph pets. So he decided to get some practice at a local animal shelter.
John Bouma, pet photographer: “I was looking for ways to volunteer that would allow me to practice, and I found out that animal shelters love having volunteer photographers come.”
Little did he know, his practice would become a passion.
For the last 10 years, John has volunteered to spend a morning a week with the dogs at Miami-Dade Animal Services.
John Bouma: “The shelter brings in a lot of dogs, so they’re only able to take a quick photo of the dog when it first comes to the shelter. Obviously, the dogs are confused and a little sometimes scared, so it doesn’t come across really well in their photos.”
He takes pictures of dogs that have been at the shelter a long time. The hope is to find them a home.
John Bouma: “Providing my photos to the shelter, as well as sharing them on my own social media channels, I believe it’s helped a lot of dogs and cats get adopted quicker or just adopted in general.”
But all of us who have tried to photograph own pets know it’s not easy. So how does John manage to get great photos of dogs he just met?
John Bouma: “We use a number of techniques. We always have yummy treats, sometimes a squeaker toy to get their attention when looking at the camera.”
And even on a day when there is a raging thunderstorm, John is able to put the dogs at ease and get a great shot.
John Bouma: “Ideally, the goal is, when photographing a dog, you want it to look its best. With a dog, that typically means ears forward. If we’re lucky, we might get a head tilt and smiling.”
Seeing the dogs relaxed and playful is part of the fun for John.
He hopes his photos will show people that these shelter dogs are loving animals in need of a happy home.
John Bouma: “People that don’t know think that there’s something wrong with the dogs at the shelter, that the whole reason they got here was because they’re broken in some way, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
And the truth for this photographer is, being here, in a raging thunderstorm, with these dogs is exactly where he wants to be.
John Bouma: “I find doing this a little more satisfying, because I know I’m helping these dogs, and it’s really rewarding.”
And he believes the biggest reward is for the family who finds the picture perfect dog.
Karen Hensel, 7News.
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