By Ginny Weissman


       A picture says a thousand words…..and now beautiful photographs are saving thousands of shelter animals’ lives.  Can you believe the two photographs here are of the same dog?  Renowned photographer Nanette Martin transforms the images of these animals into beautiful, enticing creatures that people want to adopt.  Nanette is coming to Palm Desert, and you have the opportunity to take her 2-day workshop, whether you are seeking to rescue homeless animals or simply take quality photos of your own pets.

Nanette Martin: Executive Director, Co-Founder
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Nanette Martin is an international, award- winning editorial and documentary photographer who is also a dedicated animal lover. She has been using her camera to help animals in need since September 11, 2001. After documenting the animal rescue effort in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Nanette began photographing animals in the shelter system to facilitate and accelerate their adoptions. Since then she has photographed over 9,000 homeless animals in over 60 shelters in 15 states. Her images have increased traffic to shelter websites and facilities, which has in turn led to increased adoptions (some as high as 100% for the animals photographed!).

Nanette will be conducting a two-day workshop in Palm Desert on Friday, April 5th and Saturday, April 6th  from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nanette will teach animal shelter staff and volunteers, as well as students and professional photographers, the art of photographing shelter pets to make them more adoptable and, as a result, save their lives. Millions of wonderful pets are euthanized each year due to lack space in animal shelters. The networking of adoptable pets through websites, Facebook and email photos increases their chance of adoption before their time runs out.

The workshop is hosted by Loving All Animals, Shelter Me Photography, Inc. and the Pet Ministry and will be held at BG Place, 73550 Alessandro in Palm Desert. To make the workshop accessible to as many animal rescuers as possible, the cost is only $25.00 ($1000 value). Sponsors are needed to cover the cost of the event as well as setting up a permanent photo studio at the county shelter to insure that the pets will continue to be photographed in the proper setting to increase their chances for adoption. Donations to Shelter Me Photography, Inc (a 501(c) (3) are tax-deductible and can be made at:

Participants are asked to please bring a digital camera. A phone camera will work but not preferred.  A workbook will be provided. Registration and details for the workshop at:


Professional pet portraits will be taken by Nanette prior to the workshop, on Thursday, April 4th from

2 -6 p.m. at BG Place.  For more information:


GW: What is the secret to getting a good picture of a dog or cat in a challenging environment like a shelter?


NM: Making a connection with the animal and being skilled enough with the camera and lens to capture a moment that might only last 1/250 of a second. It takes A LOT of practice and patience.


GW: Why did you start Shelter-Me Photography?


NM: A rescuer once told me my images were making the difference between life and death, so I went to work photographing as many homeless animals as I could. From 2006 to 2009, I worked part-time jobs (mostly construction, landscaping and poop scooping) to keep a flexible schedule and fund my road trips.


GW: You have a great success rate for adoptions from your rescue photos. Why do you think the photo makes a difference?


NM: I believe my most powerful and successful images are those that capture a connection between the animal and me, because capturing that moment allows anyone viewing that image to experience that connection (the animal will then be looking into their eyes).


GW: Do have a favorite adoption success story?


NM:I have a few… Puppo was a pit bull that had been in a no-kill shelter for over five years without a visitor. He was adopted within one week of posting his picture online.


GW: Do you have pets? Tell us about them.


NM: No, they have us. There is Oedipus (Oedi), our 9-year-old “Chiwoodle Katrina souvenir; Ryleigh, our 14-year old Black Dog (my best buddy); Simon, our 4-year old Chow mix with one kickstand leg; Maja, our gorgeous 1.5-year old Siamese/Tortie mix who either wants all or none of your attention; and Linus, our very handsome 1.5-year old domestic gray who loves to sit on your shoulders and tunnel his head into your hair.


Sign up now for this wonderful, life saving workshop!  This is a must for rescuers and animal lovers alike.  Contact (760) 459-7802 or if you have questions.