Seen = Saved The Perfect Exposure Project Ignites Creativity and Lifesaving

This year, HeARTs Speak’s Perfect Exposure Project (PEP) is celebrating 5 years of hands-on, collaborative workshops in shelter photography and marketing. In that time, the program has worked with more than 571 shelter staff and volunteers who represent 99 different organizations in 25 cities/locations! Even more importantly, those participants in past workshops will be able to help more than 200,000 animals across the United States every year using the skills they gleaned!

This year, HeARTs Speak instructors are traveling to 7 additional locations, thanks to the ongoing support from Petco Foundation and sponsorship from Savage Universal, Earth Rated, and Southwest Airlines, as well as donors to last year’s Giving Tuesday campaign!

Last month we completed workshops in Evansville, IN; Cincinnati, OH; and Cleveland, OH where we met with 122 staff, volunteers, and advocates who will now have the power to change the lives of 14,820+ animals per year with better images!

We road tripped out to Indiana from New York and made our way through Kentucky and Ohio for this most-recent PEP adventure. It was really a special experience to work with so many different organizations within the space of a week. It was humbling and exciting to see how organizations with vastly different sets of resources and opportunities within the Midwest were all able to take the content of our workshops and immediately begin to apply them in ways that highlighted their animals, their relationships with the community, and their lifesaving missions.

The rewards of the Perfect Exposure Project come in many forms, but by far one of the most satisfying parts for us comes during our review of participant evaluations:

The trainers were amazing, kept everything flowing, were available to answer LOTS of specific questions one on one, and made sure information was relevant to all experience levels. It was so perfectly targeted to what I do at the shelter – nothing else like it! – Michelle

I always knew that photos and marketing were a very important part of adoptions. I guess we never really knew where to start, and how to make everything work together. After the workshop, everything makes so much sense…We can ALL market the animals better, and can form groups to work better as a team” – Sarah

“To be honest, I was skeptical that I’d really achieve almost professional-looking photography skills in such a short time. I’d tried to read through some basic photography information and also my camera’s owner’s manual for a couple of years, and just never absorbed the details. But, all the info floating out in the world is for photography in general – you’re bombarded with all these other irrelevant things. The PEP teaches only about SPECIFICALLY capturing animal photos, eliminating all the extraneous knowledge that we don’t need. It was great. I’m thrilled to be able to just grab the camera, change a few quick settings, and start snapping AND still have the pictures look professional!” – Amanda

“Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to have a workshop with you. It will help me look for places to take photos outside that you I normally wouldn’t think would be good places when actually they can be amazing places for photos. That you just even need a very little space and can get an amazing photo from it.” -Tonja

“After the workshop, I can now say that I have so many more ideas about everything and how to market our animals! We have already taken extra steps on creating a more positive bio for those animals that may be our longest resident or a hard placement. Which in return has gotten 2 of our longest residents adopted within the last couple of days since the workshop” – Heather

All of this makes us that much more excited to for our upcoming trips to North Carolina (postponed by Hurricane Florence but rescheduled for October 24-26 in Raleigh) and Arizona (November 9-11 in Phoenix).

Starting in January, we’ll begin taking applications for next year’s workshops, so stay tuned for how your shelter or rescue can get involved!

Psst! Wanna know something REALLY exciting? All the photos in this blog were taken by PEP workshop participants. Seriously impressive, right?!

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Caitlin Quinn

Caitlin Quinn

Caitlin is passionate about working with shelters and rescues to reimagine the way they tell their stories and connect with new audiences. She has served in the animal welfare field since 2008 and early on had the honor of working closely with diverse organizations across the U.S. to maximize resources, redesign policies, and find life-changing marketing solutions. In 2015, she got her MPA with a concentration in nonprofit management and in 2021, she began teaching marketing + communications for the University of Florida Master of Veterinary Science, Concentration in Shelter Medicine program. She lives in NY with a petite brindle pit bull named Sally who owns her heart.