LARGO, Florida -- It takes props and plenty of patience to capture the perfect picture... especially when you're trying to photograph a dog.
"You run around and get comfy while I figure out what you can wear," photographer Angela Hunt says as she pets Gizmo, one of her furry photography subjects.
Hunt volunteers at SPCA Tampa Bay as a pet photographer. The pictures that she takes and edits help animals find forever homes.
"My husband and I are adoptive parents and we remember how, when we were waiting, we would look through those photographs of waiting children," Hunt says. "A picture really is worth a thousand words, and they're so powerful."
Once the photos are finished, they appear on SPCA Tampa Bay's website.
"We have new animals coming up almost every hour, so it's an ongoing task," says SPCA Tampa Bay CEO Martha Boden. "These people are creative and dedicated and they make the animals look like a million dollars."
"My first photos were horrible," Hunt laughs. "I once tried a feather boa that basically buried the dog. It was more boa than dog. I learned a lot through trial and error."
Hunt figures out each animal's personality in a matter of seconds. She brings in props from thrift shops, matching each bow tie or strand of pearls to an animal's demeanor.
"There are people who literally check [the website] every day, several times a day, watching those photos and trying to get a sense of a personality from a couple of shots," Boden says.
A couple of shots that make all the difference for dogs and their photographers.
"I just love it when you can take a little dog that's frightened and just take his picture and suddenly he's beautiful," Hunt says, "because I believe they are beautiful."
SPCA Tampa Bay is always looking for volunteer photographers. All it takes from you is a camera, some props, and the desire to volunteer. Send them an email or visit their volunteer page to learn more.