Posts Tagged: Seth Casteel

‘One Picture’ Helps Senior Gal Find a Loving Home


Shelby’s profile pic after HSSA staff attended our workshop

Our One Picture Saves a Life program, which includes photography training and camera and photo-editing software grants, is helping shelter pets find homes, one photo at a time. A great example is Shelby, a senior gal who found herself at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona in Tucson.

The shelter’s public relations coordinator (and One Picture Saves a Life workshop attendee), Sara Gromley, tells us Shelby’s story:

“Shelby is just one of the hundreds of pets you’ve helped at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, thanks to the One Picture Saves a Life program. As a 10-year-old stray Shepherd mix with age-related ailments (including a heart murmur and worn teeth) as well as slight separation anxiety, Shelby had a very difficult time finding a home.

“She waited at the shelter for a month without any interest from potential adopters. Then I took a photo capturing her sweet demeanor and warm personality. The photo received more than 7,000 views on Facebook, was sent to our media partners, and captured the attention of a very nice lady who came in to meet Shelby. It was love at first sight! Now Shelby is enjoying the cozy retirement she’s always deserved — all thanks to a single picture.

“We’re so grateful for the One Picture Saves a Life program. I never considered myself a photographer, but I receive weekly compliments from adopters who came in specifically because of photos they came across. The impact this program is making for shelters across the country is nothing short of astounding!”

Learn more about our One Picture Saves a Life program, which is made possible thanks to our partners The Animal Rescue Site,, John Paul: Pet and Underwater Dogs photographer Seth Casteel.


Shelby’s photo before the One Picture Saves a Life workshop and grant

After 6-month Wait, Dog Is Adopted Thanks to Great Photo

The photo that attracted Lindy's adopter

The photo that attracted Lindy’s adopter

After waiting six months in foster care — and watching all her puppies find homes — Lindy, an Australian cattle dog mix in Arizona, has finally found her forever family thanks to our One Picture Saves a Life program, which teaches pet rescuers to take great photos of their adoptable pets, and also grants DSLR cameras and Photoshop photo-editing software to adoption groups.

“Shortly after coming back from the One Picture Saves a Life seminar, we took new pictures of Lindy,” Tiffany Rosler, president of the Tucson-based rescue group In the Arms of Angels, tells us. “The lady who adopted her said her photos 100% were the reason she came in to adopt her. She felt a connection to Lindy off of the photos.”

Rosler adds that the techniques she and her volunteers learned at the One Picture seminar are making a huge difference for the harder-to-adopt dogs being cared for by her group: “Our adult adoptions have increased tremendously since getting the new camera, learning how to use it and working with Photoshop to take out leashes and add watermarks.”

Lindy before and after

With The Animal Rescue Site,, John Paul Pet and Underwater Dogs photographer Set Casteel, we’re hosting One Picture Saves a Life workshops around the country for shelter and rescue group staff and volunteers. In the Arms of Angels was one of 10 groups that attended the June workshop in Las Vegas, where participants learned how to groom their homeless pets for the camera and get high-quality images of them to share online.

Rosler said she’s used the program’s online tutorials to teach foster parents to take great pictures of pets like Ace, below, whose foster mom took new photos that helped him find a home.

Ace before and after

“We sent her the link to the online tutorials of what camera settings to use and other helpful tips,” Rosler says. “Ace had so much attention from his new photos that we were able to get another adult dog adopted as a referral off of Ace’s photos. His adopter said his pictures were awesome, and he knew Ace was going to fit in perfectly — which he did.”

The program has worked so well for In the Arms of Angels that Rosler has started teaching the tips to shelters and rescue groups around Southeastern Arizona.

“I love the online tutorials and have shared them with many rescue groups and shelters because the information is great,” Rosler says. “We are so excited about the endless possibilities these tools have given us.”

Ace with toy

Great photos helped Ace find his home.

Donate to help us save more homeless pets, and Orvis will match your gift!

We’re Helping Shelters Take Amazing Animal Pictures

Adorable Kitty

Jack from the Humane Society of Sullivan County in Sullivan, Ind., has an adorable glamor shot thanks to the photography tips we offered shelter workers at the recent Animal Care Expo.

I got off the plane in Nashville, super excited be attending my first-ever Animal Care Expo hosted by the Humane Society of the United States. I was ready to meet hundreds of shelter workers from across the country, learn about the challenges they are facing, and figure out how we can help them do their hard jobs even better.

At the heart of my Expo experience was spreading the news about the Foundation’s One Picture Saves a Life program, which teaches essential pet-photography skills to shelter staffers and volunteers. We’ve partnered on the program with Underwater Dogs photographer Seth Casteel and our friends at The Animal Rescue Site, John Paul Pet and The program’s central premise is a shelter pet’s chances of being noticed by a potential adopter rise exponentially when they are represented by an attractive photo.

Seth Training Shelter Staff

Underwater Dogs photographer Seth Casteel taught shelter workers how to take better photos at the Animal Care Expo.

Again and again at the Expo I heard from workers who bemoaned their organization’s low-quality photos. They said that their animals’ pictures oftentimes showed them looking blurry, frightened and dirty. While some shelters said they counted on volunteer professional photographers to take pleasing photos, and an even smaller number said they have trained photographers on staff, most said they struggled to take engaging photographs that do justice to their temporary residents.

We pointed them toward the free teaching resources on the program’s website,, and told them about our upcoming workshops. We invited them to a talk we hosted with Seth Casteel and cat-behavior expert Jackson Galaxy (they had terrific chemistry!). We cheered as Debbie Heller of Little Rock Animal Village in Little Rock, Ark., won a digital SLR camera and choked up when she talked about all the lives it was going to help save.

Seth Casteel presents a digital SLR camera the winning shelter worker.

Seth Casteel presented a digital SLR camera to Debbie Heller of Little Rock Animal Village.

The Expo taught me that most member organizations the Petfinder Foundation proudly serves are struggling to take good pet photos. They may have money in their budgets for pet food, electricity bills or an animal-care attendant, but photography funds are much harder for shelters to come by.

The One Picture Saves a Life program is closing that gap, though, by providing easy-to-implement tips, in-person workshops, and technology grants so that shelter workers have the cameras and editing software they need.

And already it’s making a difference. Humane Society of Sullivan County President Miranda Webster Hay, who took the above picture of Jack the kitten, said the tips she learned at Expo have yielded terrific results.

“I am so excited about this program, it is all I can talk about since I arrived home from the HSUS EXPO!” Hay wrote. “Meeting Seth and just showing him some of my pictures, he was able to give me such great pointers in 5 minutes! Two days of shooting with this lens (50 mm/1.80) and I am in heaven–I am so excited to be registered for the August workshop in Chicago.”

Rachel Rosen from Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City, N.J., also sent us this terrific photo of an adoptable pup that she took using the One Picture Saves a Life lessons:

Fresh, an Adoptable Dog

Fresh is available for adoption at Liberty Humane Society.

“I put quite a few tips I learned at the workshop to use in this batch of pictures,” Rosen said. “The fact that it was cloudy made me realize how much easier it would be to shoot in the shade rather than in the sun like I did in the past.” (Learn more about adopting Fresh.)

As a former shelter worker who has struggled countless times to get the perfect shot of a squirmy critter, I was thrilled to promote this progressive program at Expo. Because of the generous donations we receive, we’re able to provide life-saving resources that shelters wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Like the One Picture Saves a Life page on Facebook to see all this year’s success stories!

Learn more about the One Picture Saves a Life Program.

Donate now to help us teach shelters how to take life-saving pictures of their adoptable pets.


One Picture Saves a Life

Bones, before (inset) and after

These days, most people who adopt find their pets on Petfinder before they meet them at a shelter. That means the pet’s photo plays a big part in making a first impression.

And wouldn’t it be great if all shelter pets could have their portraits taken by a bestselling, world-famous pet photographer? Like, say, Underwater Dogs author Seth Casteel?

Seth can’t photograph every homeless pet, but in our new program with The Animal Rescue Site and, One Picture Saves a Life, he’s traveling the country training shelter staff and volunteers to take pictures the way he does — pictures that show the pet’s true personality. And our friends at John Paul: Pet are helping to give those pets grooming makeovers so they can truly put their best faces forward.

One Picture Saves a Life kicks off at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, NJ, and will be followed by stops in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, NC, and Puerto Rico.

To learn more, visit