3 Ways to Plan for a Successful 2017

pet-photography-nicole-begleyIt’s here! It’s here! Turning the page on a new year is one of my most favorite times. No matter what type of year you had in 2016, I hope you are entering the new year with optimism and good intentions. If you had a great 2016, you should be motivated and carry the momentum that you are riding through an even better 2017. If 2016 wasn’t the best year for you, I hope you are looking at the new year as an opportunity to close the door on the past and open the door to new opportunities and happiness. (more…)

4 Successful Giving Tuesday Campaigns to Inspire

avatarEvery year since 2012, a day of dedicated support for the non-profit community has soothed the retail hysteria of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving and the non-profit answer to the post-Thanksgiving consumerism that has gained momentum over recent years. It’s a feel-good exclamation mark for the season and can be an important piece of the developmental equation for animal welfare organizations. (more…)

Shining a Light on Senior Pets

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-4-28-41-pmGrey-faced and mature pets sometimes encounter a bit of a challenge when it comes to adoption. Perhaps it’s our very human reaction to try and protect our hearts from the impending loss of a pet. Maybe older pets force us to come to terms with our own mortality in a new way. Whatever the reason, with the right marketing approach it is possible to help our communities see the great value, varied personalities, and amazing companionship that senior pets can add to our lives. (more…)

Capturing Connection: Tips for Photographing Pets With People

ritaearl_mg_5990For most of us, the connection we share with our furry friends is a large part of why we are driven to help more animals find a life of love and happiness with their own human. And the promise of that connection can be a powerful tool in the promotion of shelter pets. Not only does it showcase the friendship potential of the pet in question, but it can offer the public an inside look at all the love, care, and magic that’s happening every single day at their local shelter!

(more…)

Tips for Taking Better Cell Phone Photos

erica_cell-7g0a8815There’s a reason they say ‘the best camera is the one you have on you’. These days, smart phones are fixtures of our day-to-day lives and are the most widely used type of camera in history. They’re also rapidly improving with each update — so much so that Apple is showcasing the possibilities with their inspiring ‘Shot on iPhone’ project! (more…)

Photographing Shelter Cats: Tips from a Pro

greystrokeDespite the fact that there are an estimated 80 million pet cats living in homes in the U.S alone, it’s still widely understood that there is a higher percentage of cats than dogs entering our animal shelters. While there may be a variety of factors involved, it remains that lots of very deserving cats need homes and many shelters and rescues are looking for ways to boost their marketing appeal! Enter: HeARTs Speak member, professional photographer, and resident cat-vocate, Lindsi Jones! (more…)

What’s New With Facebook and Instagram

Did you wake up this morning and notice your Facebook business page looked a little different? Maybe even a bit swankier, dare we say?! Or perhaps your Instagram now has this funny little row of twirling circles at the top? It’s probably not the first time you’ve gotten the hang of a social platform and it’s done a 180 on you. But don’t panic! Change is good. (more…)

Celebrating Success and Setting Aside Fear

080113_HS_NYCACC_010-2In July, the animal sheltering community celebrated more than 47,000 pet adoptions in just one day when nearly 700 shelters across the United States participated in Clear the Shelters Day! This lifesaving day was sponsored by NBCUniversal and allowed community members, who may not have otherwise known that adoption was an option, to engage with shelters and participate in free or reduced-fee adoptions.

(more…)

3 Tips for Choosing a Rescue Photoshoot Location

harley-9-avatar2Location, location, location. It’s not just the key to success for hopeful homeowners; it’s a worthwhile consideration when creatively marketing shelter pets, too.

Kim de Araujo, a professional photographer and HeARTs Speak member, could pass for a realtor given her talent for setting a scene. She recently happened upon One Eleven East, a new and dreamy event space in Hutto, TX. (more…)

Be Well, Do Good: 6 Simple Self-Care Ideas

Jill_Flynn_dog_3127JFIn our excitement to do as much good as we can for animals, many of us stop taking care of own needs. Lack of interest in our own self-care is both a symptom of and a result of compassion fatigue. But self-sacrifice isn’t sustainable.

Too often, taking care of ourselves gets regulated to the “optional” category: something to do if we have some free time, after our to-do list is all done, and when all the animals are safe, cared for, and don’t need anything else from us. Which is never. (more…)

Tips for Rocking Social Media on a Tight Schedule

blogscoialavatarHands up if your to-do list currently resembles the opening crawl from Return of the Jedi. Somewhere along our evolutionary journey from smoke signals to Snapchat, life got busy. Like, really busy. And let’s be real: sometimes social media can feel like both the cause of and solution to a hectic schedule. Thankfully, knowing where and how to use your time on social media can help make it feel less like a time warp, and more like the magical marketing force it has the potential to be!

(more…)

3 Steps to Finding Your Creative Style

hollyavatarAs a longtime HeARTs Speak member and professional pet photographer, people often ask me about the mysterious and sometimes elusive path to finding and establishing a clear creative style and voice for their work. Often, my initial reaction is “Geez, I have no idea! I am still searching for it myself!”

And then, when I started to really consider it, I realized, “you know, I think I HAVE finally stopped searching!” I think I am now content with the direction I am going, and happily following the flow.

So, how did I get here? Here are a few of the steps I took on my personal creative journey that helped me refine my aesthetic and start producing consistent, cohesive photographs.

(more…)

Are You Missing Out on These Social Media Opportunities?

HeartsspeakAV_2012-1No doubt social media is a great way to help bring more attention to your adoptables, along with other activities and campaigns going on in your organization. Unfortunately, it’s also a very crowded platform, and you compete with zillions of other messages to grab potential supporters and adopters attention.

While posting charismatic adoptable bios and huggable images is a great start, newsfeeds are crowded, images are everywhere, and it’s very easy for that right adopter to miss the dog or cat they’ve been looking for. (more…)

Tips for Photographing Black Animals

Untitled-2There’s nothing wrong with working what your mama gave you. In fact, here at HeARTs Speak, we encourage it of our furry and feathery subjects! Alas, despite their best modeling efforts, this task presents some challenges for animals of the raven-coated persuasion.

It’s a trend we’re all aware of: black animals just don’t generate as much interest from potential adopters. There are many theories on why this is. Is it due to the fact that there are just more black pets in general? (more…)

5 Tips for Writing an Effective Pet Bio

junosmallA quality photograph is worth its weight in gold for an adoptable animal, but an effectively written bio to accompany it is the juicy cherry on top.

There’s no denying that words are a powerful vehicle for generating emotional connections; just think of your favorite piece of poetry or famous quote. A few thoughtfully selected words strung carefully together can move a person, or an entire generation, to action. (more…)