Jo by Sam Haddix

Pet Photography 52 Weeks Project – Week 3 – About the Photographer

Welcome to Week 3 of the Pet Photography 52 Weeks Project.  This week is all about me! Yikes!

Like a lot of pet photographers, we can be quite introverted when it comes to speaking about ourselves, and we rarely show ourselves on the other side of a lens.  I think that’s why we resonate with animals so well, and connect with them.  I’m not an introvert in the shy sense, but I have become more of an introvert as I’ve made my journey through life.  For those who are interested in the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, I sit on the border of ENFP/INFP.  Extraverted/Introverted – iNtuitive – Feeling and Perceiving.  Rather than waffle on here about what that means, if you are interested you can read more here and maybe check out what your MBTI might be.

My past career life is very different to where I am now.  Today I spend my time with animals, whereas before my job was all about the humans.  I was a Human Resources professional for over 20 year and prior to that an Executive Assistant.  I’ve also spent some time being a Payroll Manager, Ski Resort Accommodation Property Manager and a Bookkeeper.  As much as I love most of my bosses (and despise a couple who would today be classed as “bullies”… both male), and how much I love the teams I have worked with over the years, I absolutely adore working with animals and for myself… working with animals is definitely the true happy place in my career.

Working so much with shelter pets has carved my character immensely, and my photography skills.  After spending every weekend over many years volunteering at one of Australia’s biggest pounds in my early pet photography career, and then spending more than double those hours each week editing and telling the stories on social media, I have always considered this experience akin to a degree in pet photography and animal behaviour.  I’ve had to learn under the most challenging of conditions not only with all kinds of pets, but also in all kinds of lighting and weather conditions.

Ooops, I’m talking about shelter pets again and this post is meant to be about the photographer!

So, about me.  When I was 21 years old I registered a business called “Party Schnapps”.

I loved photographing out socially and photographed friends 21sts, my brother’s wedding, work Christmas parties … any social event really.  I was getting asked so often that I registered a business!  Now back then (more than half my life ago), I really didn’t know much about photography… I simply enjoyed using an SLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera (film at the time) and I had an eye for composition.  I’m pretty sure I had the settings on the P mode all the time as it wasn’t until later in life where it all “clicked”…

In 2011 my interest in photography sparked yet again after I’d found that little dog named Jack who started my career in pet photography.  I’d always had an SLR camera, and at this time I’d moved up to a DSLR (Digital SLR) and I was longing to master outside of Program mode.  Back then there was this online site called “Jump On It” who sold vouchers for all kind of things.  I saw an offer for a basic photography course at Art Est in Rozelle in Sydney. I signed up and turned up for the 6 week course and the teacher was amazing.  Her name was Nicola Hill and the way she taught photography resonated so well… finally I actually understood the exposure triangle and a whole lot more.  A little while after the course finished, I hired Nicola for four hours of private tutoring.  She came to my home and then to my park with our dogs… from that day forward I was shooting in full manual and I have never looked back.  I’m a control freak so full manual suits me just fine!

One of the photos of our Luna from that 4 hours of tutelage.

Little Luna Lyons the mini red Cattle Dog Foxie Dog Mix

Little Luna Lyons the mini red Cattle Dog Foxie Dog Mix

I had a feeling I might waffle on and I have… and most of it about photography!  So I’ll try to wrap up quickly.

My life outside of my photography?

I married Neal in 2010.  We first met on Anzac Day 2003 in a Balmain pub playing two-up… the quintessential Aussie way to meet I guess!  We married in the beautiful Kangaroo Valley a few hours south of Sydney.  We have three amazing little furkids… the #3dogkateers (all rescued).  Our dream has always been to find a home in the country and that is about to happen.  Late last year we found our dream farm and after a few setbacks, it was ours!  We settle on 18 March and our new life will transition over the year and we’ll hopefully be settled by late Spring 2019 (October/November).  So my dream of living on the land is coming true… so much will change over the next twelve months, and I know it will only be for the better.  Our journey along the way will be uncovered through future blog posts.  I didn’t start out this post with the intention of sharing this news, but there it is!  So if you’ve read this far, you are one of the first to know!  Exciting times ahead for this little pet photographer and her family!

Thank you for reading and please head on over to check out Cahlean Klenke from About A Dog for her take on this topic.

Continue clicking the link at the bottom of each post until you end up right back here.

If you would like to book a photography session for your dog please get in touch as I’d love to meet you.

Artboard 1 copy


  1. Kim Hollis on 18 January, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    It’s so easy for me to start writing about the things I love instead of about myself!! I probably did that too and don’t even know it. 🙂

  2. Darlene on 19 January, 2019 at 3:07 am

    Jo, I loved learning all about you! What a beautiful variety of images! Oh and I need to take the personality test again to see where i fall! Thank you for all you do with rescue – so wonderful!!!

  3. Elaine on 19 January, 2019 at 4:06 am

    Congratulations on the new farm! Beautiful photos and story. I enjoyed reading it.

  4. Angela on 19 January, 2019 at 4:57 am

    Thank you for all you do for shelter animals! I tried that a couple of times and it was just too heavy on my heart.

  5. Colleen on 19 January, 2019 at 6:40 am

    Loved your story. I was so curious about the personality test that I had to take it. The result shows me to be a “Defender” and definitely an introvert. I was surprised at how accurate it is. 🙂 I also share your love for shelter pets. They have come to own my heart. It has been a pleasure getting to know you.

  6. shae on 19 January, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Lovely work and beautiful family!

  7. Linda Perdue on 20 January, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Lovely story! I really love the photo with the dog over your shoulder – that’s such a cute expression. Your love for dogs shines through in your work.

  8. Lynda Mowat on 20 January, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    Great to read your blog and learn a little more about you. That certainly is a typically Australian story of how you and Neal met?. Congratulations on the new farm too. That will make for an exciting couple of years ahead. Gorgeous collection of photos here.

  9. Tracy Allard on 28 January, 2019 at 12:58 am

    Such beautiful photos, I loved seeing your wedding and you and Neal throughout the years – Congratulations on the farm! Color me green with envy. It was a pleasure getting to know you better and your pups are adorable!

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