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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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Ball Obsessed Dog Photographed in Melbourne

Lesley O'Donnell - Friday, December 16, 2016


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.


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.


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.


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.




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.

Pet-Shots-Photography-Pomeranian-Catching Ball


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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Melbourne Photographer Captures Cute Cavoodle

Lesley O'Donnell - Friday, October 21, 2016
I hope you enjoy this video I made about a very cute puppy called Hollywood and his mum Jennie.

I would love to hear what you think.


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Photographing Milly the Chinese Crested Powderpuff

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, July 20, 2016


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. 


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. 

Pet-Shots-Photography-Two Dogs-Two Women

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.

Pet-Shots-Photography-Two Dogs-Garden

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. 


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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Rhodesian Ridgeback photographed in Melbourne Parkland

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, May 11, 2016

All dogs are special but some burrow themselves so deeply into human hearts that they become THE SOURCE OF JOY in their companion’s lives. This is how Dawn regarded Bella.


I photographed these two a few years ago now as subjects for my second fund-raising book Connected Tales 2. I recall a fun time in parkland Bella had not previously visited. We were both amazed and amused at how keen her senses were and how she drew our attention to every creature in the undergrowth and the possums sleeping in the trees; critters we would probably have never noticed if left to our own inadequate observations.

Recently Dawn contacted me again. This time it was with the sad news that her beautiful rescued Rhodesian Ridgeback cross had struggled through unbeatable cancer. She wondered if I still had the photos. I suggested that, in honour of Bella, I make her an animated slideshow of her 40 favourite images. Dawn thought that would be a great idea and then wrote me this touching letter of appreciation.

Hi Lesley,

The mail has arrived ..... I just need to tell you that it was a great deal more than I thought it would be. I was expecting one page with one image on it, then scroll forward to the next.

Yes, I have wept and wept ..... so obviously there is more grief inside ... but what you have done for me, I cannot thank you enough for.

I had forgotten some of the placements we had - some of the images of me with her are just so moving and it really and truly captures just exactly what the relationship was that I had with her - even then only having her some 6 weeks or so. The connection only grew stronger - hence the deep void now she's gone.

Yes, it will give me great comfort. Once the tears stop I know I will cherish every single frame and see her personality, her curiosity and interest in everything that was around her that day - and know that was precisely my girl.

I will frame one of the pages you also sent .. I wasn't expecting that either as it is just beautiful.

I've had anticipation all week on this coming and I guess the pressure valve has now been released. I'll put this on my digital frame and play it on the TV later tonight.

I'm really truly overwhelmed at all you have done and so very grateful to you for the suggestion.  This will stay with me, life long.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am so grateful that I can have these images. It was a magical day for me.

Dawn x

P.S. I am now taking bookings for my fourth coffee table book. If you would like to feature with your pet please let us know and, like Dawn and Bella did, you can help us raise funds for animal charities.


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Melbourne Pet Photographer in New Zealand

Lesley O'Donnell - Monday, February 15, 2016

Sometimes it is when you have been away from your home district and return to it much later that you see all the fabulousness that it offers. 


Helen is a fellow photographer in New Zealand so it was a great pleasure to photograph her with her dearly loved companion Taffy and discover the wonderful historic buildings her small town had to offer as backgrounds for these photographs. In the middle of last century New Zealanders didn’t value these buildings so I think it is especially valuable that these ones have survived and can be appreciated now.


Helen’s sense of styling with her colourful floral dress, Taffy’s matching rose and her vintage props made this a very enjoyable assignment.


With her long black fringe hiding Taffy’s dark, deep-set eyes she still managed to reveal her character and features and the close bond she shares with Helen.

Spoodles are gun dogs and, typical of her breed, Taffy’s favourite thing to do is to chase wild life. She doesn’t catch it but enjoys the sport of trying. She adores the freedom of running at the beach and local parks but also loves surveying her surroundings while riding around town in Helen's bicycle basket. She attracts lots of attention from locals while doing so which suits Taffy well as she is a social creature and loves meeting other dogs and people; especially children.

Taffy is quite particular when it comes to grooming. She is not drawn to water and therefore doesn’t like having a shower or swimming but she does love being dried by the hair dryer after these activities. She hates getting her nails filed and having her face and feet shaved. However, she doesn’t object to having a haircut. Perhaps this is because she loves the peanut butter treats she is given while being groomed.


I am coming to New Zealand again soon so if you would like special photos that show the love you have for your dog while I am there please contact me.


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Maltese Shih Tzu Stars in Melbourne Studio

Lesley O'Donnell - Sunday, October 25, 2015


Meeting Buddy for the first time was tinged with sadness as Kylie had already informed me that he was suffering from mouth cancer and she wasn’t sure how he was going to respond to his treatment. There was an urgency to have photos taken that captured their relationship while he looked happy and well.

What struck me with these two was how close their bond was. Buddy by name and definitely buddies by nature.


This dear wee Maltese Shih Tzu stayed close to Kylie and, while we chatted about how she wanted simple, interactive photos to remember how close their relationship was, he rested his head comfortably across her knees as if that was the sole purpose of her lap.


They constantly shared intimate exchanges such as tummy rubs and kisses. As soft as silk, Buddy’s ears were irresistible to Kylie and he adored having them stroked. It was quite possibly his favourite form of affection.


I think Buddy understood human language because when Kylie spoke to him he would look attentively at her with his nose right up to hers.

Sadly Buddy’s health declined and he crossed the rainbow bridge shortly after these photos were taken.


Buddy was more than just a dog to Kylie, and indeed her extended family. He was a friend, a cuddle buddy, an exercise partner, a playmate and the perfect foil to life’s stresses. He would always greet Kylie with an enthusiastic welcome when she returned home from work each day. I know she misses him terribly and for the short time I knew him I completely understand why.

His photos will keep him alive in Kylie’s memories forever. RIP Buddy. You brought love and light into your world.

Read stories of other pets I have photographed.


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Milo the Maltese Poodle

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, May 27, 2015


This delightful little dog called Milo, was a dear little soul who has sadly passed over the rainbow bridge.


Before crossing over, this Maltese Poodle cross was a playful and affectionate companion to Julie for 12 devoted years. He loved nothing more than greeting Julie at the door, wagging his tail with delight and smothering her with kisses. Such a joyful way to be welcomed home! 



He also loved playing chasey around the house or tug-of-war with his rope before spreading out across her chest to relax and recharge ready for the next game. Dancing with Julie in the lounge room was also a favourite way for these two to spend time together.

Partially blind, his response to noises was acute. If Julie was gardening in her rear yard and Milo heard someone at the front door he would come out to alert her that she had a visitor. He loved the company of Julie’s friends and often joined her on outings to visit them. 


At the end of the day, after all his exertion, he would go to Julie to be picked up and taken to his bed. 


Dressed in his resplendent silver coat and decorated with a happy smile, this handsome little boy will always occupy a very big part of Julie’s heart. It’s easy to see why.


R.I.P little one.

Read stories about other pets I have photographed.


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Treat of a Dog - Pet Photography Melbourne

Lesley O'Donnell - Thursday, May 14, 2015


Every now and again I photograph a dog who is so damn gorgeous I could take them home to live with me. 

Felix is one such delight.


Thought to be a Kelpie Ridgeback cross, he has good looks, a charming personality, is content with himself, very intelligent and has an abundance of affection to share. He understands a great deal of vocabulary and responds earnestly to much of the conversation he shares with his companion Kris. 


These qualities are probably why he prefers to be part of what humans are involved in rather than spending time with other animals. Venturing out on foot (or should I say paw) and in the car are favourite activities but nothing beats curling up on the couch at home watching videos with Kris. 


This is seriously one lovely, loving and much loved dog.


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Cavalier Cuties

Lesley O'Donnell - Saturday, January 03, 2015


Photographing in a public park can be a challenging assignment, especially when there are many other dogs being walked at the same time. The constant passersby provided plenty of interest and distraction for these canine subjects. The curious pooches who roamed the park off lead liked to bound over to check out my models, often just as I was about to take their “perfect” portrait. 


Despite such diversions Kita and Niko were delightful little dogs to photograph. They are great friends and often sneak little kisses with each other.

With pizzaz and a confident personality, Kita is the larger of Helen’s two dogs. Her muddy paws are a tell tale sign of how she enjoyed exploring the freshly watered undergrowth in the park.


More timid and shy, Niko is a Blenheim (chestnut and white) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He is an affectionate, cuddly little boy who also delights in chasing birds. Much to our amusement he demonstrated his love of this sport several times while being photographed.


I admire how perfectly Helen nailed her outfit for her photography session with her two little darlings. Her floral patterned dress coordinates beautifully with the colours in the dog’s coats and as a result these images are going to look wonderful decorating the walls in her home.


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