Members of the AbleVoices summer photography club had a chance to learn at two different levels about dogs and other pets Tuesday.

In a visit to Animalia Health & Wellbeing veterinary hospital at Westhaven, students and mentors from the nonprofit were given a few tips on how to shoot better photographs of their pets from a professional pet photographer. And as a bonus, they learned from one of Animalia’s veterinarians about ways to take care of their animals and to recognize what makes their dogs or cats or other pets tick.

This was one of the field trips that AbleVoices takes each summer under the direction of the group’s founder, Jen Vogus. She started the nonprofit a couple of years ago to provide photography programs for individuals with disabilities for self-expression, empowerment and advocacy. Vogus, who has a son with a disability, formed a partnership with Williamson County Schools, and has so far spent a semester each at Centennial, Franklin, Ravenwood, Page and Brentwood high schools.

For the graduates of those schools, or others who are interested, AbleVoices also has activities during the summer.

This was what led them to visit Animalia, where they enjoyed a session on how to best take photographs of pets from Michelle Conner. A few students brought their own dogs, but the main subject for photos was Gemma, a golden retriever owned by Dr. Katie Conklin, one of the hospital’s veterinarians. Conklin also spoke to the students about caring for their pets.

“We worked on the skills and techniques in different settings around the Animalia campus,” Vogus said. “The AbleVoices photographers left the outing excited about trying out their new photography skills with their own pets at home.”

The AbleVoices summer photography club will be exhibiting photos from summer outings at the Williamson County Community Services building (129 West Fowlkes St. in Franklin) beginning in mid-August.

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