Pet photographers in Calgary are helping rescue animals find homes faster.

Holly Montgomery volunteers eight hours a week taking professional portraits of dogs and cats who are up for adoption.

'What a full-time photographer does is it gives them the attention and the ability to put their best paw forward, essentially.' - Shandell Van Hell, Calgary Human Society's full-time photographer

“Without the professional photography it’s usually foster homes using iPhones," she says. "iPhones will typically use flash, and flash is a big no-no with pet photography. In humans you see red eye, but in animals you see glowing green and it almost makes them look demonic.”

The pictures are then posted on the website and Facebook pages of local rescues and shelters. 

Montgomery says once that happens, the pets are often adopted in a matter of hours.

"Sometimes a photo can be posted on Facebook, and within minutes, hours, days they can already have interest when they didn't before."

At the Calgary Humane Society, sharing professional shots of the pets have helped to triple adoption rates.

Shandell Van Hell had been volunteering at the organization, but was hired full time after the success of the photos.

"Shelter animals have such a stigma attached to them that they're these broken sick old animals that somebody didn't want,” says Van Hell.

“What a full-time photographer does is it gives them the attention and the ability to put their best paw forward, essentially."

With files from Danielle Nerman/CBC