40 Things You May Not Know About Your Pittsburgh Dog Photographer

Let’s drop some truth bombs about photographers. Sure, we can wield magical light-bending wands and make you look like a million bucks (even if you woke up feeling like a three-dollar burrito that morning). But here’s the secret sauce: you have to click with them beyond the lens.

Think of it like this: would you entrust your life story to the Puppucino barista who only talks about the perfect foam-to-espresso ratio? No, because that would be cat-astrophic (pet photography pun intended and maybe slight dramatized). Same logic applies to hiring a photographer. Your photographer (at least if you’ve booked a pet photographer) captures the mischievous twinkle in your furry friend’s eyes, the regal fluff of a tail held high, the zoomies that defy gravity itself…and you need to click with her.

I’m not “just a pet photographer.” I’m a light wrangler, a moment weaver, and a master of f-stops and feels. And I’m also human. I wipe the drool off one hand while petting a fuzzy head with the other. I’m a five-year-old’s fever dream in sparkles galore and glitter-coated kicks by day and an octogenarian queen whose early nights are her jam.

If my last sentence left you scratching your head like a dog with a flea circus, fear not! Brace yourselves because the next forty facts are about to unleash a hurricane of me-ness, unfiltered and unapologetic! Prepare to be surprised, delighted, and possibly slightly baffled by the quirky corners of my brain. Think of it as cracking open a piñata filled with rainbow confetti, gold glitter, and maybe a few slightly stale marshmallows (those are childhood memories, obviously). This is your official invitation to get to know the real me, one fun fact at a time. Let’s get this party started!

  1. The number 444 has a special significance to me. No kidding, I see this number at least two or three times a day in the craziest places. Seeing 444 is symbolic of a message that there is nothing to fear regarding work or life in terms of being on the right path. Supposedly, it’s also a sign that someone is trying to communicate with you and one of protection and encouragement. (In my best Lionel Richie voice: Hello, is it me you’re looking for?)
  2. I’m a native Floridian who traded my flip-flops for figure skates. Turns out, escaping the Florida heat comes with a lot of bruises and an obscene amount of sequins.
  3. I began figure skating at the age of eight. I am an accomplished high-level figure skater and a current five-time gold medalist through U.S. Figure Skating and a Canadian gold medalist (and I’m not even Canadian). I have earned each of those by completing the highest levels attainable in various disciplines, including moves in the field, solo international ice dance, standard ice dance, solo free dance, solo ice dance, and Canadian gold ice dance.
  4. Before becoming a figure skater, I used to horseback ride. My mom encouraged me to try skating with a friend’s son who was enrolling in learn-to-skate classes for hockey and the rest was history!
  5. I married my high school sweetheart who I met at one of the local ice rinks where we both used to work. We’ve been together for more than 23 years, which means we’ve known each other for more than half of my life. (What?!
  6. I run on hot chocolate no matter the time of year. My engine revs highest when that mug is topped with a whipped cream Everest!
  7. My hidden talent is that I can recite the alphabet backward. I’m not sure it’ll ever come in handy in my day-to-day life, but I joke that I’d definitely crush the talent portion of a pageant.
  8. One hundred percent, without a doubt, I believe in ghosts. It doesn’t mean I need to ever see one though!
  9. I’m an ISTJ personality type to a tee, the same as people like George Washington, Warren Buffet, and Anthony Hopkins. So what does that mean? Well, I tend to be direct, practical, stubborn, loyal, creatively driven, detail-oriented, private, and service-focused.
  10. Sunflowers are my absolute favorite, but don’t count on me to grow ’em well! I have a black thumb…except when it comes to those low-maintenance, water-once-every-two-weeks kind of plants, then it’s more like a gray thumb.
  11. I appreciate puns and bad jokes way more than is socially acceptable. Break the ice with one and we’ll be besties.
  12. I’m an early bird, like wake-up-at-4 a.m.-to-work kind of early. I consider “sleeping in” to be waking up around 5 a.m.
  13. I go to bed earlier than an 80-year-old…but only after I’ve watched my Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. So like, 8 p.m. on the regular.
  14. The smell of freshly cut grass, bacon, cigarettes, and leather repulses me.
  15. I wear a lot of pink, but my favorite color is the color blue of the sky just before a thunderstorm.
  16. I believe rainbow sprinkles make everything better.
  17. Fish freak me out and I am absolutely terrified of snakes. If you’re looking for someone to photograph yours, I’ll happily refer you elsewhere.
  18. My fear of snakes is so epic that I once drove with one on my windshield like a living hood ornament (although I’m not sure one can really call it “driving” considering I did so without feet on the gas or brake due to my descent into pure, unadulterated terror). Don’t worry, the only thing slithering faster than that nope-rope was my sanity into a pretzel of panic.
  19. I love to read. I can devour anything by Brené Brown within hours.
  20. One of my all-time favorite movies is A Charlie Brown Christmas. I watch it every year and I know nearly every line word-for-word. I like to think I have a little bit of Lucy in me, particularly during the Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales installment in which she’s talking about needing a partner “who’s handsome and graceful” for the Christmas show at her skating club.
  21. I love macarons! (If you’re buying, I’ll take a few salted caramel, almond, and Earl Grey-flavored ones, please!)
  22. My internal thermostat is permanently stuck on Arctic Blast. Ice is my life, but the sun is my vacation. One touch of sunshine and I’m a puddle of happiness, basking in the warmth like a lizard on a rock…or a snake on a car windshield.
  23. One of the consoles in my car can hold an embarrassingly large amount of Chik-Fil-A honey mustard condiment cups. (Don’t ask how I know.)
  24. I have an insane memory when it comes to numbers. I may not remember names, but ask me to recall some random number and I’m unstoppable.
  25. Although I was raised in Pittsburgh for the majority of my life, I cannot stand Pittsburghese. Like, most of the words aren’t even actual words!
  26. I eat a strict gluten-free diet.
  27. My favorite actor? Dwayne Johnson. (Yes, The Rock.) What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good eyebrow raise. No shame in my game.
  28. I moved into a 100+-year-old farmhouse right after my husband and I got married. We shared the roughly 98 acres of land with everything from cows and pigs to sheep, chickens, and even peacocks. I learned as much as I like the thought, country-living wasn’t quite for me.
  29. I love to give gifts, and I’m damn good at it. Like, masterclass level.
  30. My love language: words of affirmation. And spreadsheets. (Talk nerdy to me.)
  31. My husband and I used to own several backyard chickens, including Rhode Island Reds (June and Peep), Light Brahmas (Marsala and Piccata), and Leghorns (Amelia Eggheart and Egg-ar Alan Poe). Yes, they all had names. And yes, I know Egg-ar is not a normal hen’s name.
  32. I have about a billion ideas for businesses and products. Unfortunately, my ambitions often overpower my actual abilities, but if anyone ever wants to partner for their Shark Tank debut, I’m your girl! Just sayin’.
  33. My dad sometimes refers to me as “WJES: all talk, all the time!”
  34. I’m a total list-maker. I love crossing things off my to-do list and will sometimes add already-completed tasks to my list just to feel the dopamine hit of striking right through ’em.
  35. One of my biggest pet peeves: when people don’t clear the countdown numbers on the microwave after they stop it early. Seriously, it’s not 0:38 o’clock!
  36. I secretly want to keep all of my clients’ wall art when it arrives from my lab for me to inspect and package. (Well, I guess that’s not a secret anymore…)
  37. Few things are more relaxing than a good bath bomb, its tiny, fizzy parcels of pure joy, transforming the tub into a Technicolor dreamland.
  38. My idea of a party? Curling up with a stack of personal development or business books, my favorite podcast chattering in my ears, and a Trello board overflowing with goals and intentions. Some call it obsessive, I call it passionately curious with a dash of woo-woo.
  39. I’m a walking, talking jump scare magnet.
  40. You’ll hardly ever catch me without my sunglasses on my head.

Have a question or want to know more about me? Leave it in the comments and I just may answer it! Or better yet, share a random fact about yourself.

18 thoughts on “40 Things You May Not Know About Your Pittsburgh Dog Photographer

  1. Michelle says:

    While I can attest to the truth of many items on your list, WJES is absolutely my favorite thing I’ve read today. 🤣 From being helpless in the backseat of your nope-rope mobile to feeling the love through your excellent gift-giving ability, I am happy to know you both as an excellent Pittsburgh dog photographer and as a sparkly, pink-loving friend. 💖

  2. Donna says:

    I love this Jes! And I thought I was the only person who added completed tasks to my to-do list so I could cross them out 🤣. I love the photo of the snake in your collection above (and Heather is right, it was absolutely coming right for her 🐍). You are going to crush 2024 as the sparkliest, snake-fearing Pittsburgh dog photographer and I can’t wait to come along for the ride.

  3. Amanda Lewis says:

    Jes, of all the things I would expect to learn about my favorite Pittsburgh dog photographer, I certainly never would have guessed that you’re a five-time gold medalist figure skater! That is so cool!! And you’re not alone — I also love to check things off a list. So satisfying! PS Egg-ar Alan Poe is the perfect hen name if you ask me!

  4. Gwen says:

    Thanks for sharing Jess, I loved learning more about you and your fun personality ! You have accomplished so many great things and continuously share so much of your pet photography experience ! I can relate on # 24, It would less embarrassing if I could remember their name but instead I can recite their phone number by heart…

  5. Ina says:

    OMG i love these facts about you. I didn’t know that you were five time gold medalist figure skater! That’s awesome.. and #24 – that’s the same as me! Also, you wouldn’t like Australia much then especially in Summer as we get a lot of snakes!!

  6. Monica Adalsteinsson says:

    Loved learning more about you! I didn’t know that you tried out the farm life!! Also, hello fellow early bird!

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