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Miranda Hay, Pet Photographer

Miranda HayMiranda Hay has been involved with the Humane Society of Sullivan County since the initial planning stages for the shelter in 2008. She assumed various roles for the shelter until ultimately becoming Shelter President in 2011. In June of 2012, Miranda was chosen by CoverGirl and O, The Oprah Magazine as one of four women in the country for the "Beauty of Giving Back" award. Miranda tells us that saving the lives of helpless animals is the most rewarding thing she has ever done, even more so than her day job helping save lives as a helicopter Flight Nurse.

When asked how she became such an amazing pet photographer, Miranda stated:

“As the Facebook page administrator and coordinator of marketing and media relations for the shelter, I always knew the power of great pictures, great stories and community support. So, I had decided that I was going to learn to be a pet photographer. I bought a new camera, bought books on pet photography, Photoshop Elements and signed up for two different photography classes. Although I learned a great deal about my cameras and how to do several things with photography, everything was focused on shooting kids, weddings, or nature. No one could give me straight answers about shooting animals, let alone in a dark shelter, quickly and efficiently.

SethAnd then I met Seth Casteel! There he was at the HSUS EXPO with the One Picture Saves A Life booth! I was familiar with his work with shelters and the Underwater Dogs book through my research of pet photography. I was like a teenager standing in line to talk to Justin Bieber! I had my camera and he was gracious enough to look at my pictures. 

In five minutes Seth gave me all the advice I needed. Get a 50 mm 1.8 lens, shoot in the shade, focus on the eyes and watch my videos! They gave me the information for the workshop in Chicago in August and I went back to my hotel and signed up online that night! The day after I arrived home from the HSUS EXPO, I went to the Kodak store and purchased the lens and sat down in front of my computer and the rest is history! My shelter photography took off! It became exciting and no longer frustrating! I love to go into the cat room and take 40-60 amazing pictures in an hour! I applied for the grant through PetFinder Foundation for the workshop and we were so excited to receive the travel expenses, the camera package, and the one-on-one session with Seth in Chicago.”

After attending the Chicago workshop, Miranda continued to fine-tune her photography and editing skills by utilizing the online videos on the One Picture Saves a Life website. Upon returning from the workshop, Miranda and her colleagues contacted local media to share their story. As a result, they have already had two shelters contact them for a “mini-workshop.” Miranda states:

“I am excited to share what I have learned with others, because we want all the homeless animals across the country to find homes, and marketing is the key! I can’t thank One Picture Saves A Life and Seth Casteel enough for this valuable resource and for the amazing work you all are doing for shelter pets across the country!”

TallieWhen asked to share a favorite pet photo and an adoption story, Miranda provided us with this picture of Tallie, a two-month-old Yorkie placed up for adoption after a puppy mill raid in May. Thanks to the new skills Miranda acquired through Seth Casteel and the One Picture Saves a Life workshop in Chicago, the Humane Society of Sullivan County has seen a spike in adoption rates (including Tallie!). A big thanks to Miranda Hay for taking the time to share her amazing story and for her dedication to helping pets find their forever homes through positive pet photography! You too can connect with your local shelter here and train online with our Learning Videos. Remember, One Picture Saves a Life!