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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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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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Border Collie Photographed at Home

Lesley O'Donnell - Tuesday, March 15, 2016


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.


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!



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Country Kelpie moves to Melbourne

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tristan met Cork as a newborn puppy while staying with a friend in country Victoria. He fell for him immediately but was instructed by his urban based parents that he was not to get another dog while living at home with them. You know how it goes: young man gets a dog, young man stays away some nights with friends, young man studies and works and then young man travels or moves overseas leaving the parents to become the care givers, exercisers and providers for the dog. 

Tristan stayed on the farm for a few weeks while on a country assignment. The more time he spent with this dear little Kelpie pup the more their hearts became entwined. 


Hard to ignore his desire to have Cork permanently in his life, Tristan developed a plan to subtly introduce him to his other family members and took him for a weekend visit to Melbourne. Ingeniously, he did this several times until everyone else had fallen for the puppy too. His plan worked and when Tristan returned to the city full time Cork came with him.


Cork absolutely adores Tristan and is always wanting to please him. I admire how this young man has invested the necessary time to train his canine companion to be so obedient and well behaved. He looks at Tristan with soulful eyes for guidance and loves riding in the car with him to destinations that always reward with doggie adventures.

Cork was a dream to photograph when he had his “pet portraits” taken as a celebration of his first birthday. Kelpies are so synonymous with this country and I love how Tristan included, with a fashionable twist, other Australian icons such as his Akubra, RM Williams boots and moleskins into their photography session.


This match has worked out perfectly for both man and his best friend.


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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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Dog Portraits Reward Melbourne Pet Photographer

Lesley O'Donnell - Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Woo Hoo! I am smiling from ear to ear as I just enjoyed a great weekend at the Australian Professional Photography Awards with two of my entries winning Silver Awards! How good is that!

I photographed this very regal Labradoodle, Max, as part of a commercial pet photography assignment for Balwyn dog groomers Roll Over Beethoven. I have always loved the humour in this image with the paintings of the imposing characters overseeing from above.

And who doesn't love a pug puppy with their pleading eyes and curling tails? I think Emmi-Rose has a name that is just as cute as she is. I took this striking image of her on the night that she graduated with flying colours from Puppy School at the Swan Street Vet in Richmond.

Thanks to Max and Emmi-Rose for being such stunning models.

Share the news!


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German Shepherd Lives the Good Life

Lesley O'Donnell - Tuesday, April 08, 2014

You have to be impressed by sons who give their mother something she will really value. 

I was genuinely touched when I learnt that Christina’s boys had gifted her funds towards a pet photography session with her beloved German Shepherd Max. So thoughtful and considered. 

Of course I was also thrilled that she chose Pet Shots Photography as the studio for the assignment.


Christina describes her gentle giant as a dog for all places. 

He does indeed enjoy a life full of variation rather than one with a predictable routine. 

His early years were spent as a city dog living in a large apartment; an exciting environment full of changing sights, sounds and smells to thrill his senses. During this period he also spent his days hanging out (or perhaps even helping out) at the family business headquarters.

Max rarely spends his weekends in the city though, as he regularly joins his devoted family at their country property. A perfect lifestyle option that offers him the chance to run free and swim in the dam; one of his favourite activities.


These days 7 year old Max resides comfortably in a grand period home in an inner city suburb. His walks with Christina around the tree lined streets now bring him into contact with suburban curiosities such as cats and other dogs. However, Max is not so keen on others of his own species, preferring to keep the company of his two legged companions.



This intelligent dog with a happy temperament endears himself with his loyalty, cheekiness and innocence. His approach to life seems to be just to enjoy it.


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Pet Photography Melbourne - Puppy Dog Eyes

Lesley O'Donnell - Friday, January 17, 2014


Don’t you just love this dog’s expression?

This is one of my favourite pet photos and a large canvas of it hangs proudly in the entrance to my studio. The soulful eyes plead with you to look right back at it and most people are drawn to comment.

Matilda, a Blue Roan Cocker Spaniel who lives in Brisbane, was such an expressive and fun personality to photograph. She made me laugh so much as she would position herself into a pose, I would take a few shots and then she would move again and look at me as if to say, “What do you think of this?” 

So it gave me great pleasure when her mum Erin came to visit recently and saw her dog’s portrait displayed at this impressive size. I just couldn’t resist grabbing a shot of them together. 

Erin now lives overseas but Matilda stayed on in Australia to keep her grandmother Kelsie company. Lucky Kelsie to have such an entertainer in her home.


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Melbourne Staffy Rescue

Lesley O'Donnell - Sunday, October 06, 2013

Boris is very lucky to have escaped euthanasia when he was rescued just in time from the pound by Staffords in Need and in turn by Carly with whom he now shares a happy life. With his engaging smile and striking brindle coat it is hard to imagine he was abandoned. Perhaps his first home was a misplacement with an owner who preferred a sedentary lifestyle. This would not be something Boris would be happy with.

After inclement weather thwarted several attempts to photograph Boris and Carly we finally met up at an inner city oval in Melbourne to record Boris running around with his frisbee, ball and tug-of-war toy. They are the favourite activities of this friendly and excitable Staffy cross. He also loves to run alongside Carly’s bike and to jump into puddles; the muddier the better. Such a boy thing to do!

Boris is indeed a busy boy and just loved tearing around in the open spaces, occasionally stopping for a cuddle before racing off to expend more of his boundless energy.

I couldn’t believe it when half way through the pet photography session the skies opened up and it bucketed down with rain. Luckily we could take cover in the grandstand and I just love these two photos that I took while we were sheltering there.

Staffords In Need commented on 10-Oct-2013 09:09 AM
ahhh stunning boy, so glad you now have the life you deserved..

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