Moose, photograph by Jen Mahn.
Photographer Jen Mahn loves meeting new people— and their pets.
“I love building new relationships. I make friends out of the clients that I work with. And working with the pet photos is great because I meet these people, I learn their stories, I learn how they came about having this pet, pets they’ve had before, personalities. I just learn so much about them, and it’s just so much fun to get to meet everybody.”
The Toledo photographer’s love of our furry friends has led to a new campaign that sees her working with area pet shelters and animal rescues. Every month, Mahn partners with a shelter and pledges to give a 30 minute photo session to any donor who gives $25 to the organization.
“I decided to work with an individual shelter every month, and be able to have a session fee that got donated directly to that shelter or rescue. I offer a 30-minute session and a matted 5×7. And so I’m gaining new clients, but they’re gaining awareness and funds for their projects.”
Huey, photograph by Jen Mahn.
Mahn has always been a big pet person. She has two dogs of her own, and has had plenty of pets prior to that. “One of the reasons I really wanted to start my photography was so that I could give back to things that are important to me. Animal rights is one of them, pet safety and health and wellness is another.”
She started by reaching out to a shelter in Dundee, offering to help with photos of pets seeking homes on their rescue website. Eventually, though, she wanted to do more, leading to the idea of the photo session giveaways.
The first fundraiser was in June. Things were modest at the beginning, making a few hundred dollars for the first two shelters she worked with. In August, however, her campaign for Nature’s Nursery earned over $1,000.
“I’m still working on catching up with sessions for people that donated,” Mahn said. “It’s been great, it’s keeping me busy, that’s for sure.”
Bengal Cat, photograph by Jen Mahn.
Though Mahn loves working with pets during the photo shoots, it can be challenging. There’s a reason each session is a half an hour. “Most pets can’t last more than 30 minutes,” Mahn said. “They get out there and they get bored, really easy. You can only hear the squeaker so many times, or walk the same pathway so many times.
“I love getting the owners involved, in being able to catch those moments where they’re interacting with those pets. Where they’re playing with them, rubbing their belly, getting kisses, all that kind of stuff. I’ve even taken a few school photos of kids that came with their pets.”
Mahn has high hopes for the campaign’s future. This month she is working to raise money for Maumee Valley Save-A-Pet, and already has pl
ans in motion for teaming with new partners in the months to come.
“It’s something I would love to continue doing,” Mahn said. “I think it’s a great way to, like I said, gain exposure for theseshelters and rescues, to gain some funds for them, and just get awareness for them.”
Cash, photograph by Jen Mahn.
To participate in Jen’s latest fundraiser, visit her Facebook page.