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Rising Stars: Meet Jessica Shaw

Hi Jessica, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory
I was born into a family of pet lovers so I was set up for success from the start. From an early age, I wanted to be a vet but I ultimately decided that wasn’t exactly what I was looking for as a career. In my senior year of high school, I decided to apply for The Art Institute of Tampa with the major of Digital Photography. I graduated from there in 2013 and started a marketing/photographer job in April of 2014. I lost that job in October 2016 and after 400+ application denials or never getting a call back I decided to try the freelance route. To this day I continue to do freelance but my real passion came to me a few months into freelance life, Dogs. When it hit me one day, I felt that feeling everyone talks about when they know their true calling. I am meant to be a photographer of pets and their humans! In hindsight, it seems so obvious. I’ve loved animals all of my life so why wouldn’t it make sense to pair that with my career passion. When I look back to 2013 when I lost my best friend, my dog Slash to cancer at just 5 years old. I think It really solidified my purpose without me knowing. People should have professional photographs with their pets. They are only with us a short time and sometimes even shorter than we expect so we will want those memories in the future. When I found out last year that my new dog Lily was diagnosed with lymphoma at 3 years old, I was crushed and I realized, I have no professional photos with her. I wasn’t practicing what I was telling my clients. So, the first chance I got I had our photos taken. She has since gone through chemotherapy and is in remission and I am soaking up all the time I have left with her whether it’s short or long. I also have a photoshoot planned for us again soon.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I don’t think anyone has a smooth road but I also think those bumps are what helps shape you and your business. I still don’t feel like it’s smooth but I think it is always changing for the better. Struggles along the way have been of course learning to be your own boss, getting clients, and paying the bills. Struggles make the good times that much more satisfying!

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a pet photographer for pets and their humans. I specialize in photographing pets in their homes doing day to day activities. Sleeping on the couch, rolling on the bed, helping their human make coffee in the morning, those sorts of things but I also love to meet pets and their people at the beach or park to get some fun shots of what they love doing best. I like taking a more lifestyle approach along with a few posed photos. I also have a blog where I share tips, tricks, recipes, pawdoptions, and more. I have a vlog on YouTube where I do interviews with people about pawdoptions of their pets and my dog Lily makes the recipes shared on the blog.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I think the main thing I want to tell people is, take the time to get your photos done. There’s always an excuse not to get photos done, not enough money, I want to lose weight first, I don’t have time, but none of that matters when your pet is gone. You don’t care what you look like in the photos, you’re just happy to have them. I think society has us worried about what photos to post online to share with everyone, and don’t get me wrong I want people to share the photos. But, I think it’s more important that you have them for yourself, you don’t have to share them if you don’t want to, they are yours to keep forever either way.


  • $300 – One hour in home or on location session within 50 miles of my home office • Up to two people and one pet • Gallery of print quality and web sized images

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Jessica Shaw Photography

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