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Pet Photography - Moments To Treasure

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, October 10, 2018

This is a story about love in all it’s many forms; the binding connections between people and their pets and how children learn about life through their relationships with them.

The first chapter is of a self-effacing mother and grandmother offering her pet photography gift voucher to her daughter and her family to be photographed with their variety of pets. I decided to extend the voucher to include everyone and every pet, including Val’s cat Leo.

Pet Shots Photography,Labradoodle


Val thought that because of her advancing age Bella, the smaller and feistier of her daughter’s two dogs, may be the first beloved pet to cross the Rainbow Bridge so her desire was for me to capture some great images to honour her.

Pet Shots Photography, Boys with Dog


Bella, a cream-coloured Labradoodle, came into Amanda and Matt’s lives fourteen years ago when Amanda was expecting their first child. As a young pup she would snuggle up to Amanda’s pregnant tummy and it seemed that right from those early moments she and Spencer formed an inseparable bond. Even now she is always by his side.

Pet Shots Photography,Labrador Boxer Cross


Betty, the black Labrador-Boxer cross, joined the family 6 years later. She immediately became attached to Bella, followed her faithfully and was very protective of her. Bella liked being the top dog and was not averse to leading her playmate astray.

These two dogs are able to roam off-lead on their Queensland hinterland property, but not with each other. If both were untethered at the same time or found the door ajar at night they would embark on adventures to explore the undergrowth of the surrounding bushland. With all the enticing new scents to follow it was surely great fun when they set off from their rural sanctuary but alarming for them and their human companions when they became lost for several days on end and were unable to find their way back to the safety of their home. 

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Spooky and Molly are the two cats in the family.


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Impressively Olley, the younger son, bought Molly with his pocket money from the RSPCA 2 years ago. Aware that she was an old cat and probably wouldn’t live much longer he decided he could give her a loving home for the remainder of her life. She doesn’t often venture outside but loves his company and sleeps curled up on his bed with him every night.


Pet Shots Photography,Boy with Chicken


Spencer is more drawn to his nine chickens and is pictured here with Jet. Not only are they his pets but also an income earner as he sells their free range eggs to the teachers at his school. Pets with benefits you might say.

Pet Shots Photography,Family with Dogs


Unexpectedly Betty recently became ill and passed away. Bella is a little lost without her canine companion and, as you might expect, searches every nook and cranny trying to find her. I am so glad I was able to photograph this dearly loved dog with her family snuggling into her and showering her with their love.


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Pet Photographer Photographs Daylesford Dogs

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Pet Shots Photography, Whippet, Jack Russell, Autumn


This is a story about two country-town dogs I photographed a season ago when Victoria was painted in splendid autumnal colour. 

They live in the beautiful historical town of Daylesford, a couple of hours drive from Melbourne. It was a joy to photograph these two rescue dogs both at home and in the magnificent Wombat Hill Gardens making the most of the picturesque scenery afforded in both. The late autumn conditions were cold but calm and it was not hard to find stunning locations to use as the backgrounds for the photos. Apparently just one week later all the trees were bare and winter had arrived so we were so lucky with the timing.


Pet Shots Photography, Whippet, Jack Russell, People

I had photographed Bert, the Jack Russell cross, along with four other small dogs with whom he shared his home at the time in my photography studio when he was a younger pup. Sadly the others have all crossed the Rainbow Bridge and although Bert has lost some of his teeth and has had a chunk bitten out of his ear he still has a spring in his step and is keen for an outing where he can sniff out new smells and, with the odd bark, draw the attention of strangers walking by.

Pet Shots Photography, Whippet, Autumn


This time though the focus was on the new canine addition to the family. She is a Whippet/Kelpie cross who loves chasing feathered creatures and consequently was named Tippi in reference to Tippi Hedron who starred in the movie “The Birds”.


Pet Shots Photography, Whippet, Autumn, Close Up Dog

Her brindle markings and bright pink collar were beautifully complimented by the yellow, orange and pink hues of the autumn leaves. They seemed to be the perfect backdrop to enhance this feminine dog’s features.

Apparently Bert is not fond of being touched so it was a most happy conclusion to my day when he snuggled right into me as we sat on the couch with his human family while they selected the images to adorn the walls in their home.


Pet Shots Photography, Jack Russell, Autumn

To have this darling wee dog choose my company and seek my affection topped off my perfect day out in the country!



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Mr Clooney - Canine Movie Star

Lesley O'Donnell - Thursday, August 02, 2018

Pet Shots Photography, German Shepherd, Smiling


Let me introduce you to Kaiser, a most handsome 9 year old Long Haired German Shepherd.

He is a movie star!!!

Particularly known for his role in the 2017 independent Australian movie “What If It Works?” Kaiser proudly walked the red carpet with his other starring cast members when it was launched at the Lido Theatre in Hawthorn.

He also starred as himself in “Some Happy Day” which was filmed this year in St Kilda and Daylesford. He has many other film, TV and modelling credits to his name.


Pet Shots Photography, German Shepherd, Sitting

I met him when he came into my photography studio recently to update his agency head shots. It is what all stars must do - keep current, relevant and able to stand out from the crowd when casting agents are looking for talent!

Pet Shots Photography, German Shepherd, Movie Star Dog, Standing Sideways


His luxuriously long black and red coat, engaging eyes and dashing good looks have earned him the nickname “Mr Clooney”; a reference to another “Mr Clooney” many of us ladies swoon over. This canine version is now also sporting a distinguished sprinkling of silver around his face and, as with George, it has done nothing to diminish his appeal.


Pet Shots Photography, German Shepherd, Headshot

The bond between Kaiser and Merran, his adoring guardian, is obvious as soon as you meet them. They have been housemates since Kaiser was 8 weeks old and as time progressed they also unexpectedly became work colleagues.

Not only is Kaiser in demand but he also introduced Merran into the world of film and television and she now works as a handler with other dogs on various productions. So it really has been a match made in heaven for these two.

Like many large dog breeds, Kaiser was responsive to being rewarded with treats for being such a well mannered and co-operative subject in the studio. As you might imagine he was also very responsive to commands and was joy to work with.


Pet Shots Photography, German Shepherd, Standing

May he continue to be in hot demand in the film and television world.


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Ball Obsessed Dog Photographed in Melbourne

Lesley O'Donnell - Friday, December 16, 2016

Pet-Shots-Photography-Pomeranian-Balls


These days, most people with pets have hundreds of photos of them on their phones. So when I ask if I can see what their pet looks like they can readily find some cute shots of their adorable furry friends to illustrate all the amusing and endearing little things that they do.


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However, this was not the case when I first met Melissa. She said her dog, Rupert, was camera shy and really hard to photograph  and she could only find one photo of him to show me. She had plenty of her family’s other dog, Spencer, who enjoys posing for the camera.

So, when I met up with Melissa and her brother Michael to photograph them with their family dog I was expecting to be challenged. Happily that did not prove to be the case and I ended up with so many great shots of this wonderful little character that it was hard to know what to share on my blog.

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Part Pomeranian, part Terrier, Rupert is an affectionate character who loves interaction and planting kisses on Melissa's face. He presents himself as a beautiful golden-red ball of fluff who mostly wears a happy, smiling face. I saw him only briefly with a serious expression and weirdly it made him look like a completely different dog; in fact almost like a fox. However, every single time I look at his serious face I feel affection for him which in turn makes me have a little smile.


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Rupert is, however, not at all fond of other dogs and likes to loudly stand his ground when one comes into view. Photographing in the inner city streets of Melbourne therefore had the potential of a dog-to-dog confrontation and a very stressed subject. I scouted for locations carefully in the hope of avoiding canine conflict but there were occasions when we had to block Rupert’s view of passers by.


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Rupert’s attention is easily focussed when there is a ball in play. He will jump extremely high to catch one and I was fascinated by how accurate he was at the task. Very athletic and impressively steady when standing upright on his hind legs.


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As these photos show, Rupert turned out to be the quite the model dog and I really enjoyed my outing with him.


Melissa and Michael now have a wonderful collection of images that show that when the attention is all on him, Rupert can rise to the occasion and be the star. 


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Bulldog Fans Shot by Pet Shots Photography

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, October 05, 2016

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With the exciting win by the Western Bulldogs in the AFL Grand Final this year it seemed only appropriate to photograph a Bulldog to celebrate the momentous occasion. 


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So it was that this Australian x English Bulldog, donned the club colours and posed perfectly as a loyal and excited supporter. I could not have asked for a more cooperative and fun canine model.

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Clover Bell enjoyed endlessly chasing a small football up and down the aisles of the grandstand, slobbering copiously all over it as she did so. 


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You can tell by her swollen, extended tongue that this gorgeous girl was enjoying her active outing. The more tongue exposed the greater the ability to keep cool but I did marvel at how such a big muscle would ever fit back inside her mouth when she closed it.


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I waited for the moment when Clover would reward Cal with a full wet slap on the face but she was a true lady with manners and was content to be just held and cuddled by him.

PetShotsPhotography-Bulldog-Man-Talking

PetShotsPhotography-Bulldog-Man-Lap

Read stories about other pets I have photographed.

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Photography of A Shy Brindle Dog

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pet-Shots-Photography-Mastiff-Bulldog


Nervous and unsure are the best words to describe this sizeable dog. She is nervous of people but people are equally, or even more so, as unsure of her. 

This six year old is a large, powerful dog of mixed origin, all of which are considered as dangerous breeds - American Bulldog, Mastiff and Pitbull. As a result people are very wary around her and no-one quite trusts her. Because of her appearance, which she would be completely unaware of, she is not the kind of dog that people rush up to pat and cuddle. I think it makes her a little sad as all the other dogs in her extended family are greeted in a much more enthusiastic way by visitors and strangers alike.

Pet-Shots-Photography-Mastiff-Bulldog-Garden

In reality Ella is very shy and a bit of a scaredy-cat and laps up any affection afforded her. She was nicknamed Bubbaloo by her family which was quickly shortened to Bubba. She studies you intensively with her inquisitive stare but fortunately has never made an aggressive move towards anyone. 


Pet-Shots-Photography-Mastiff-Bulldog-Window

She makes an excellent guard dog because one glimpse of her over the fence and no attempt would ever be made to trespass. Her favourite places to observe her world are elevated ones - on top of the outdoor table and stretched out along the back of the couch looking out the window.

She also has excellent hunting skills which mean that mice and rats don’t dare to set up home on her property.

Although spayed, Bubba’s mothering skills were brought to the fore recently when another brindle puppy of a different breed joined the family. Peculiarly she seemed to think that Eddie was her puppy and let him suckle her. They have formed a strong bond and now curl up together to sleep on the same dog bed or couch if they can score it. It is a heartwarming sight to see the softer side of this perhaps misunderstood dog.




Read stories about other pets I have photographed.

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Eager Greyhound Wins Photography Award

Lesley O'Donnell - Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pet Shots Photography-Greyhound-AIPP-Award


This fleeting little scene appealed to me the moment I spied it and I was delighted to click the shutter and record it forevermore. 

At the time it felt like a winner and so it proved to be when it earned me a Silver Award in the recent 2016 Australian Institute of Professional Photography Awards.

I love the quirkiness of glimpsing only half the subject but immediately understanding the full story with the clock suggesting Benny is ready for his evening walk. Although the image is humorous, excursions to nearby parks were something this lithe dog considered a serious matter and eagerly looked forward to. 

Shortly after I photographed him, this rescued Greyhound Wolfhound cross moved to England with his adoptive parents Jackie and Nigel. No doubt he has discovered new open spaces to explore where he can endlessly run around after his ball.

Read an earlier post about this dog and see just how handsome he is from the front.


I would love to hear what you think, so please leave a comment below.



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Photographing Milly the Chinese Crested Powderpuff

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pet-Shots-Photography-Chinese-Crested-Powderpuff


Until I photographed Milly, I had never heard of a Chinese Crested Powderpuff. 


Unlike the more typical Chinese Crested (who have hairless bodies and humourously sport long scruffy tufts on their heads, feet and tails) the bodies of Powderpuffs are completely covered with long flowing coats. 

Pet-Shots-Photography-Chinese-Crested-Powderpuff-Woman

If they remain unclipped they tend to resemble miniature versions of Afghans (which you can clearly see in profile). However, keeping this elegant look takes hours of devoted brushing so Margaret decided it was easier to keep Milly tangle free if she had regular haircuts.

This decision seems better suited to this highly spirited, athletic and inquisitive dog who rather enjoys leaping over the high fence to explore outside, of what others would view as, a secure backyard. 

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I suspect Milly sees this activity as a sport because she is certainly not out to separate herself from the close affection bestowed on her by Margaret and her daughter Marita.

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Usually reserved with strangers, I was flattered to find Milly a friendly and willing photographic subject. Surprisingly it was Trixie, her canine companion, who needed a little more coaxing to stay interested. 

Margaret is a talented painter of folk art and I loved being able to incorporate her artwork into the photos to give them just that little bit more of personal meaning. 

Pet-Shots-Photography-Chinese-Crested-Powderpuff-Garden

Many of the terracotta pots she has decorated over the years have been generously donated as fund raisers for her gardening club. I found a lovely example of one that unfortunately had no plants growing in it. To enhance our little setting I promptly filled it with dirt and stuck a piece of flowering geranium in it. 

Much to our surprise this little cutting took root and I now have a memorial pot plant in what Margaret and Marita refer to as Lesley’s Corner. What a lovely honour!

Read about Margaret and her previous dog Xisca who I had the privilege of photographing five years ago.

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Doggie Friends Become Family

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Photographing four dogs together is always a challenge but when all four are white look-a-likes the assignment is even greater. 

Sharing identical cute little button-eyed expressions and with the same shade of velvety, pale pink lining their alert ears these four West Highland Terriers appeared to also have an allegiance with the same talented groomer. When I first laid eyes on them they seemed to all look exactly the same.

I did know one was a male dog and as I became more familiar I could see that Bailey was overall larger with slightly more masculine facial features. Helpfully, he also wore a blue collar which distinguished him from Bonnie, Pavlova and Bombe Alaska. Don’t you just love the unique names of these dogs! So witty and clever!

Pet-Shots-Photography-Westies

These four Westies used to live as pairs in two separate households. However, when Siobhan and Kelly set up home together these four little pooches became one eye-catching blended family. I imagine they attract a great deal of attention when they venture out on their walks.

The request was to have all four dogs running together towards the camera but this proved to be impossible as when they were let off their leashes they all headed in completely different directions. Again and again and again. I suggested using my magic Photoshop skills to blend a shot of each dog to make up one image but this idea was rejected. The owners wanted the shot to be authentic.

So this is the image that was chosen as a signature piece to decorate their home. I am sure it will continue to bring a bemused smile each time it is glimpsed. 


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Border Collie Photographed at Home

Lesley O'Donnell - Tuesday, March 15, 2016

PetShotsPhotography--BorderCollie-Home

When I first met Dexter he was in his kennel on the verandah and I think his preference would have been to stay there and have a snooze. Afterall, he had just returned home from a vigorous run in the park.

This handsome dog is the first red and white Border Collie I have seen. My first impression of him was how perfectly his colouring complemented the tessellated tiles and tuck pointed bricks of his Victorian home. It was as if they were designed for each other. 

Photographing this gentle dog presented something of a challenge as Dexter was not too keen on being my subject. His inclination was to roll onto his back into a submissive pose and look up with pleading eyes hoping for a tummy rub. His ploy did work and he managed to elicit quite a few from both his owner Ann and from the old softy behind the camera.

I tried my usual tricks of using various noises to attract his attention but he was on to me after the first one. Intelligently he understood the game and despite my very best efforts, refused to respond further to my verbal and physical antics. Even offering him liver treats didn't rouse his interest.

Dexter is a rescued dog who came from an neglectful situation in Queensland to join a caring home in Melbourne. From his reactions to sudden movements, brooms and even cameras it would seem that he was abused as a puppy and it has taken him some time to develop trust in people.

He certainly adores Ann though and looks to her for guidance and queues to follow. He has a gentle personality and never barks or jumps up on people so is a pleasure to have around. He is a lucky dog to have found such a loving family to live with.

Pet-Shots-Photography-Border-Collie-Laughing


Dexter is a very smart dog and seems to understand specific words extremely well. He reacted with enthusiasm when Ann mentioned the names of his doggie friends that he meets in the park. I was intrigued that he seemed to understand individual names and respond differently to each of them. In the end it was his excitement over his buddies that brought out his diverse expressions. Fascinating!


Pet-Shots-Photography-Lesley-ODonnell

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