Guinnevere Shuster didn’t set out to start a photographic revolution. She set out to get some shelter dogs into homes.
It just so happened she did both, with some gloriously joyful photo booth-style pictures.
In 2014, the Humane Society of Utah photographer got the idea to start taking this new style of adoption pictures of the pups who needed a little extra attention.
“I wanted to use multiple images of the dogs that really showed off their great personalities,” Shuster said. “Plus, it was always really hard just choosing one image to share, this way I got to share four.”
The images have been wildly successful. The dogs she photographs – some 400 of them by now – often fly out the door.
“Sometimes the HSU has multiple families waiting at the doors before we open after viewing the photo booth pic on Facebook the night before,” Shuster says.
The pictures themselves –made with the help of an obscene amount of peanut butter and treats — are also wildly pup-ular.
Shuster’s wonderful work — and the ensuing adoption stories — has been featured on The Huffington Post, CNN, BuzzFeed, Time, ABC News, and dozens upon dozens of other outlets.
A book has also just been published. It’s called “Shelter Dogs In A Photo Booth” and we heartily recommend picking up a copy, especially since part of each sale benefits the Humane Society of Utah and Best Friends Animal Society.
The style’s been adopted by other shelters, as well — with Shuster’s blessing, and sometimes with her aid. She offers advice when other shelter photographers reach out; she’s even taught some workshops.
“If you want to help shelter animals find a home, then you can be my friend any day of the week,” Shuster says.
Shuster’s proud not only to be such a strong influence on how shelter dogs are photographed, but also how they are viewed.
Her photos help people the world over lose some old negative stereotypes about what shelter pets are like, and instead see these dogs as they are: gorgeous, funny, and extremely lovable individuals.
“I hope it’s shown people that all sorts of beautiful dogs can be found in shelters and rescues,” Shuster says.
“As a photographer, you always want people to value and enjoy your work but it truly means the world to me that this series has shined a light on shelter dogs. At the end of the day, that’s what I’m most proud of — helping these dogs find homes.”
One of those dogs, a gorgeous, blocky-headed boy named Tubs, found a home with Shuster herself.
Tubs had been adopted a few times and then returned, and despite his good looks was having a hard time getting noticed.
Shuster decided to give him the full photographic treatment and “he was a ham for the camera,” she says. She felt optimistic he’d be snatched up.
Then Shuster’s house got broken into. She decided that it’d be great to have a big dog at home. The next day, she came into work and adopted Tubs.
Unfortunately, all his pre-adoption photo booth pics were on a laptop stolen in the burglary, “but we’ve since made up” for it, Shuster says.
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