Joanne Minor, of Minor Moments Photography, has spent the past 4 years as the official cat photographer at the ARLGP. She makes her weekly trip in, spends an hour carefully shooting photos of the new cats on the adoption floor, and edits them to purr-fection for their website debut. As you can imagine, taking photos of cats isn’t always the easiest endeavor. It often takes the assistance of an ARLGP staff member with a number of props (feather, wand, catnip, bells) to capture just the right shot for their website profile.
We know that for many of our adopters, our website is the first stop. Jumping online to see if a cat, dog or small animal catches their eye before making the trip to our facility is common routine for many. Joanne Minor knows this, and dedicates her volunteer time with us making sure each feline gets the picture they need, to help send them to their new home. We couldn’t be more thankful to Joanne for lending her expertise and skills to help send our animals to their new families.
We followed Joanne around during her volunteer shift last week, taking photos of her taking photos (how fun!) and asking her about her time with us.
In your professional opinion, why do you think a great photo helps a cat get adopted?
I think some people don’t come into the shelter. I think they think it is too sad, or that they will not have any willpower and will want to adopt every cat. I think some people want to look from home because it is safer. I also think people are surprised at all the beautiful cats available. I think the photo is just the icing on the cake that makes them fall in love. I think every beautiful cat deserves a beautiful photo, and it just might be the trick that brings someone in the door.
What is your favorite adoptable cat photo you have taken?
The cat with its tongue sticking out is one of my all time favorites!
Do you have a favorite story from a cat photo session at the ARLGP?
I have been photographing the cats for four and a half years. Once, and luckily only once, a cat jumped out of its cage and landed on the island of cages in the middle of the room. It scared me so much. Ellen (an ARLGP feline staff) came to my rescue. There was a sign on the cat’s cage that said “I’m an escape artist” but up until that point I had never really paid attention to that sign! Now I do.
Another story comes from my very first day volunteering. A lady came in and started crying while looking at the cats. Her cat had recently passed away and she found one that reminded her of it so much. She was sobbing, and in turn I felt immediate sadness. I was afraid that this experience would keep me from coming back… but I did come back. I love taking photos of the cats. It’s never a sad experience, because I know that the perfect photo will match that kitty with the perfect home.
Aside from donating your time and talents to the ARLGP, what other photography services do you offer through Minor Moments?
I love to photograph anyone or any event. I love photographing weddings and I do photograph a limited amount of weddings per year. So far, all of my couples have been dog people, which makes them my kind of people! And, I love to photograph dogs too. My tag line is “focusing on tails and veils.” Currently, I am keeping very busy with high school senior portrait photo shoots, and I love those too. I haven’t done many babies and families, but I love doing those too… and I would love to do some boudoir and maternity photos, if your readers are interested! So, like I said in the beginning, I like to photograph everything!
Why do you do this?
There is a wise belief that all business owners should find a way to give back to the community. I love that I am able to give back week after week to the ARLGP. It’s a win-win. I am practicing my craft week after week photographing beautiful cats and saving lives at the same time. How lucky am I?!
Below, view some of Joanne’s favorite shots from her time at the ARLGP.