Shelter-Me Photography

A nonprofit organization

Each year, an estimated 6 to 8 million pets enter the shelter system in America. Nearly 50% never make it out alive. Shelter Me Photography is committed to saving homeless pets by changing society's perception of them with pictures that touch hearts, change minds and save lives.


"There are not enough words to express the good work Nanette selflessly gives to saving the lives of animals in shelters. She is an extraordinarily talented photographer combined with the most compassionate heart I know. She is an invaluable asset to shelters with hi-kill rates and has helped get loads of animals adopted. Thank you Nanette for all you do." Mary Missy Taylor, rescuer

"Nanette has a remarkable rapport with animals and her passion and dedication to them is infectious! Her workshop provides valuable insights on how to shoot high quality pictures and techniques for working with animals to get the right shot. The workshop also gives each student hands-on experience taking pictures and handling animals. Nanette is highly skilled, patient, and very generous with her time and knowledge!" Allen Upton, SPCA Brevard County

"Nanette came to Caddo parish. She taught me more than I ever could imagine. I can not say how much her class has changed my life. Thank you, Nanette. You are truly a hero." Yvonne Stephens, Caddo Parish

"Shelter Me Photography arrived on the scene after hurricane Harvey hit Houston and rendered thousands of pets homeless! Not only did Nanette spring into action to photograph dogs and cats in less than ideal conditions, but she frequently jumped in to help with animal care as well. Her calm presence and spirit of teamwork were greatly appreciated by all, humans and pets alike! Shelter Me came in at an extremely difficult time and provided an invaluable service snapping high quality photos of the dogs and cats displaced by Harvey living in our shelter, and these photos helped showcase the pets to fosters, adopters, and other rescue groups who brought these flood survivors into their homes. We are so grateful that she was able to donate her time and experience to help us during this unprecedented disaster." Houston Pets Alive

"Concordia PAWS in Ferriday, Louisiana, faces an incredible challenge every day. Not only is our parish overrun with stray dogs, we are also in one of the worst areas across the nation for dog fighting. We have no spay and neuter laws in Louisiana, so our task is daunting. In our 15 months of operation we have remained at full capacity.
Our adoption rate was almost nil. Because we got a lot of publicity when we started due to a dog fighting bust, everyone assumed all we had in our shelter were mean pit bulls. We have a very active social media presence and posted photos begging people to adopt, but had no success.
When Nanette Martin with Shelter Me Photography contacted me to offer her help by coming to take photos of our dogs I almost thought it was a hoax. Who would give up their successful career to do something like that, and why? But once I saw on her website that she was sponsored by Purina. I knew she must be trustworthy.
When Nanette arrived she immediately jumped into action to get us a good set up for taking our own photos. We didn't understand the importance of that until we had our training session with her. The presentation made it so clear that we had been doing everything wrong when we posted dogs for adoption. Our photos of the dogs from behind the bars of their kennels, pulling hard against their leash, or hunkered down in fear were totally non-productive. Who wanted to adopt those dogs?
It is amazing what we learned from Nanette in such a short time. We were very impressed with Nanette's knowledge and friendly way of showing us the proper way to showcase our dogs. The opportunity to work with her while she photographed our dogs was invaluable.
Because we were so impressed with Nanette, we requested the newspaper do an article on her, her work and the great opportunity she has to help shelters around the country thanks to Purina's financial support. It was a great article and we got lots of positive feedback. (And lots of Purina dog food!)
Once Nanette's photographs went up on our Adoptable Shelter Pets page on Facebook, we started getting inquiries about the dogs right away. It was clear she knew what she was doing. We adopted out several dogs within a few weeks. Even pit bulls! We were thrilled. Clearly people felt a connection to the dogs through these photos.
Now we use Nanette's techniques and our adoption rate has gone way up! We are very, very grateful to Shelter Me Photography and Purina for their help. Shelters around the nation need this program to help them success that their mission."

"Nanette's passion for her work and for the animals is limitless and that shows in the way she teaches - whether it be for a room full of people or just one on one...


Shelter Me Photography's (SMP) mission is to improve society's perception of shelter pets using professional photography and education. We accomplish this by providing free onsite photography and low-to-no cost shelter photography workshops to shelters and rescues throughout the US. SMP is committed to eliminating the #1 barrier to pet adoption: negative images and stereotypes. Through our efforts more people come to know that shelter pets are not what they see in sad television ads but are beautiful and unique animals that make wonderful new family members. And, best of all, they can be found right down the street at a local shelter or rescue organization!

Background Statement

Nanette Martin, Executive Director and Co-founder of Shelter Me Photography, knows first hand the effect a compelling image can have on the heart and soul. Nanette also knows that for a shelter animal, that image can make the difference between life and death.

As an award-winning photojournalist, Nanette found her niche in the chaotic aftermath of some of this country's most infamous hate crimes and disasters, including the brutal murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd in 1998; the Columbine High School massacre in 1999; the Cerro Grande Fire in Los Alamos, New Mexico in 2000; the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center in 2001; the Cedar Firestorm in San Diego County in 2003; and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Nanette began using her camera to benefit animals in need in 2001, when she created and sold a limited edition lithograph from images she captured in and around Ground Zero. Print sales brought in $10,000, which she donated to the New York State Troopers to help feed their search and rescue dogs. But ultimately, it was her time in New Orleans four years later that altered the course of her life and career.

While on assignment for People Magazine, Nanette witnessed the number of animals that were left stranded and struggling in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The effect on Nanette was profound. She stayed in Louisiana and directed her efforts toward documenting the animal rescue effort and helping in any way she could.

Nanette's skill proved invaluable when she was asked to photograph a group of homeless dogs prior to their transport to an Atlanta shelter. Drawing on her years of experience photographing disaster victims and survivors, Nanette was able to connect with every dog and capture each one's unique spirit. The results spoke volumes. By the time the transport arrived at the shelter the following day, nearly every dog had a place to call home!

Soon thereafter, having found her calling, Nanette left her editorial photography career and made it her mission to use her camera to help save the lives of shelter animals. By the time she co-founded SMP in 2009, she had photographed over 3,000 homeless animals. That number now exceeds 10,000 and with help from supporters that number will keep growing!

In August 2016, Nanette purchased a 40' coach with the intent to use it to take SMP on the road. She learned to drive it between Denver and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she photographed pets at two shelters affected by the devastating 2016 floods. She continued on to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she taught a workshop and photographed pets before returning home to Denver. In March of 2017, Nanette moved into her coach and headed to Flagstaff, Arizona where she launched SMP's 2017 Coast-to-Coast Workshop Tour. Second Chance Center for Animals was the first of 30 shelters in seven states Nanette would visit in 2017, including Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Florida, photographing over 600 pets and teaching 20 workshops to over nearly 150 shelter workers and volunteers.

In 2018, Nanette photographed 422 pets at 10 shelters across three states and taught six photography workshops to 91 attendees.

Between January and May 2019, Nanette photographed 153 pets at seven shelters across two states and taught five photography workshops to 28 attendees.

SMP shut all travel down the remainder of 2019 due to funding shortages. Nanette used the time away from the rigors of the road and shelter visits to inventory and organize equipment and supplies and develop a program focused on training military Veterans, struggling graduates of the penal system and others looking for a career change how to photograph and promote shelter pets. The goal of this new program is to develop a professional marketing program for individual shelter pets based on a simple premise: If toilet paper can garner a $111 million marketing budget then surely a shelter dog or cat is worth a $25 marketing budget. Especially since no one in the history of history has ever come home after a hard day's work to a hero's welcome by a roll of Charmin !

Organization Data


Organization name

Shelter-Me Photography

other names


Year Established


Tax id (EIN)




Organization Size

Small Organization


9507 W. Ohio Place
Lakewood, CO 80226

Service areas

Jefferson County, CO, US



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