About That Dog Spot

The why.

Some people have suggested I have enough on my plate at the moment and that adding a completely voluntary weekly commitment is downright ludicrous. They might be right but I’ve always been a stickler for having a stab at stuff people think is silly. I guess we’ll see?

1

Human

3

Collies

1

Camera

1

Full room of kit!

Hi, I’m Jess.

It’s probably worth me just jotting down some things about both me and this vocation that I’ve gotten myself into.

I started my first business when I was 16 years old and, yep you guessed it, it was a dog photography business. I can’t sit here and say my 16 year old self was a photographic prodigy, because she wasn’t. She was just as green as any other newbie photographer and like others, thought it would be a walk in the park.

How wrong was I. 

I started in the deep end with microstock where technical perfection was the aim of the game. Commercial “style” came pretty easily and we got on well. I learnt everything I know now from 3 things:

  • Blogs/Forums
  • Other trusted photographers who were willing to help a newbie
  • Trial and error over many years of practice

I have never had a formal photographic education and I have never read a photography book. That’s just not how I work!

Anyway,

I ended up not half bad…

I was regularly, and surprisingly, gaining international recognition for some of my work in the early 2010’s. At that point I also started teaching other photographers and a revelation happened – I absolutely loved it!

Life went a bit pair shaped, as it often does, and I moved into a different career path, a “secure” one, in marketing and design. I worked with and for lots of businesses big and small and got pretty good at that too.

Life now consists of dogs and my current business, my own marketing “agency”, and I work with lots of exciting businesses, big and small, UK & International, as either marketing and design support, or as the marketing & strategic lead.

My photography work is still widely used around the globe, on billboards, dog food packaging, magazine covers, book covers and on websites too, like Huffpost and The Guardian.

Something was missing in my “new” life and it was my connection to photography. More specifically, teaching it. That’s where That Dog Spot came in.

The Story

Over the Years

^
2009

First Camera

That little Olympus E-420 was my first wander into photography and this was the point that I found myself.

^
2012

First Paid Shoot

This year saw my first paid shoot. Black and white backgrounds with two Jack Russell terriers. 

^
2013+

Proper Shooting Began

Arguabely the most successful years of my professional career. Over 2800 dogs photographed and most at events or in rescue centres. Iconic images were captured in this period. I really came into my own.

^
2017

Life went tits up.

Personal life fell apart and I left photography entirely, selling most of my equipment in the process to cover bills. I moved home, got a job in a different field and started life over.

^
2020

Life is great!

I’m in the best place I’ve probably ever been, but without photography, it’s not quite “right”. If you’ve been there, you’ll know what I mean! That Dog Spot began…

In February of 2020 I re-launched an old YouTube channel that I’d had dormant for years and learnt how to YouTube as I went along (still a work in progress…)

Why am I doing this?

There are so many reasons but the main three are:

  1. Because learning from strangers on the internet was exactly how I learnt. Just because this way may be different doesn’t mean that it is any less valid, true or correct.
  2. Because I feel a personal need to “give back” for the generosity, kindness and commitment others showed me when I was a newbie.
  3. Because I gain a deep-seated, truly incredible feeling of pride when I see a “student” has won a national award, a massive commercial job, their biggest sale to date or has simply taken their best photo ever.

I may not be doing this full-time, but it definitely makes my time full…

If you’re engaging in our community, please remember everyone was a beginner once, so be kind!

 A few published bits and other bobs: