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Underwater Dog Photographer Helping Shelter Pets

  • August 20, 2012
  • 4:41 pm

Luckily, Casteel continues to make time for his personal passion: the non-profit he founded in 2011, Second Chance Photos, which professionally photographs shelter pets to increase adoptions and save lives.

Often, a pet’s chance of being adopted rests on an unflattering mug shot. Casteel is on a mission to save animals’ lives through quality photography and marketing. He travels across the country training volunteers and shelter staff to take better photos of animals, giving them a greater chance of finding homes. Second Chance grew out of Casteel’s volunteer work at the West Los Angeles animal shelter and pet shelters across the country. Four years ago, he found some frisky kittens on a Sony Pictures Studios lot, sneaked into an executive’s office, and took photos of the kittens playing on the office furniture. He used the photos to promote the adoption of the kittens, and they all found homes.

Connecting more professional-looking photographs with increased adoption rates, he now teaches free photography classes at animal shelters nationwide. Upcoming workshops in Denver, Orlando, and Austin are already at capacity. “My goal is to give people the tools to do this themselves,” Casteel says. “It’s just one step, of course, to increase adoption rates, but it’s an important step. “If you really want to do it, you can become a wonderful photographer, and you can save lives. All it takes is one picture,” he says.

Casteel’s recent underwater success won’t shift his focus from Second Chance, he says. “My goal is to do this more. The underwater thing has been great because it’s going to help me pay my bills so I have time to do more things like Second Chance. This is a top priority for me.”

When photographing animals, Casteel plays games to coax the pets into shots that reveal their personalities. With dogs, he recommends playing hide and seek. “You’re hiding, the dog is seeking,” he says. Go around the corner in your house and find a good, but not impossible, hiding spot, like behind a couch, then call out to the dog. “When the dog finds you, you’ll get a very surprised reaction. So have your camera ready. As soon as that happens, snap! The moment they find you is the moment you take the picture.”

“There’s an element of emotion happening, rather than, here’s your dog sitting on the couch—that’s predictable. Doing this kind of thing is unpredictable and that’s when you get really exciting photos.”

Photos: Courtesy of Seth Casteel

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+ add your own
1:43PM PST on Nov 22, 2012

Thanks we need people helping animals.

9:13PM PST on Nov 18, 2012

great dog

6:35AM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

What a wonderful and beautiful capture. That dog needs to teach me how to swim.

10:15AM PDT on Sep 11, 2012


10:28AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Great post thanks! Love reading post that tell stories of the good that folks are doing, for themselves and for others, including the animal and wildlife worlds. This man is doing a great work! Thank you for what you do!

6:29AM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

what an amazing guy

10:23PM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

Good on him turning his passion into a life saver.

3:26PM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

Very Cool!!

2:15PM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

he is doing such a great thing!

11:53AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

very nice.

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