Hi, I'm Jessica!
Professional Pet Photographer and Macaron Lover
Hi there! I’m Jessica Wasik, the snap-happy and somewhat (OK, completely) obsessed dog mama to my husband and mine’s fur kid Hunter, a Siberian retriever and Bark & Gold Photography’s Frisbee-catching, bed-hogging Head of Shed. Hunter is my heart dog. He is the reason why our home is a little hairier, our bed a little tighter, and our hearts a lot fuller; he is the inspiration behind Bark & Gold Photography.
Since the day I first held this big-headed, floppy-eared boy at just 11-weeks-old, Hunter has been the best part of my life. I remember asking my husband with an I-can't-believe-this joy if he was ours to keep forever.
And so began our forever. Days of exuberant curiosity toward all things new and unusual morphed into months of shark-tooth puppy bites and later years filled with chin scratches, adventures, snugs, and laughter. My world is a better place because of Hunter.
When Hunter turned 10-years-old, it hit me hard. Despite his puppy-like playfulness and good health, celebrating those double digits came with the reality that, as pet parents, we are not privileged to forever. Hunter is my heart dog, the one who made me a pet photographer, and the reason I want to celebrate yours.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD YOU KNOW ABOUT ME?
I’m an ISTJ personality type and enneagram 3w2 to a tee. So, what’s that mean? Well, I tend to be direct, practical, persistent, loyal, creatively driven, detail-oriented, private, and service-focused. Efficiency is my love language and automation is my superpower! Excellence, quality, joy, love, communication, and service will forever be important components of who I am, what I value, and the BGP experience!
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 in solo international ice dance, standard ice dance, solo free dance, solo ice dance, and moves in the field and a Canadian gold medalist in ice dance. Although I'm currently finishing my international ice dances, I also work as a professional figure skating coach and I am a certified choreographer with the American Ice Theater.
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 20 years, which means we’ve also known each other for more than half of our lives. There's no one else on whom I'd rather warm my icy-cold feet.
I'm a voracious reader, a huge personal development nerd, big-time into the woo, and a podcast junkie. You may have even heard me on a few with several interviews on the Hair of The Dog Podcast and The Pet Photographers Club podcast. And despite being an introvert, my dad often refers to me as “WJES: all talk, all the time!” Go ahead, talk doggy to me.
Jessica is an award-winning professional pet photographer focused on celebrating the joy and love between Pittsburgh pets and their people. As someone who values tangible products and who believes her job is not finished until every client has photos on display, ready to be enjoyed and handed down from generation to generation, Jessica is a proud Certified Printmaker, continuing her education on the best ways to create a truly boutique experience for every client and striving to provide the best practices of workflow, processes, design strategies, and client support. She is a member of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and a member of the International Society of Animal Photographers (ISAP).
Pet Loss Grief Specialist
As a founding member of One Last Network, a community created to provide support and connect pet guardians with the services and support they need as they care for their aging and ailing pets, Jessica is also certified as a pet loss grief specialist, which allows her to better guide her clients through anticipatory grief and post-loss grief. As Pittsburgh's first pet photographer to hold this certification, this is a unique role that enables her to connect with you and your loyal companion to help tell his story in a way that elevates your photography experience beyond your beautiful portraits.
Calendar Contest Queen
In addition to capturing pets through playful portraits, high-energy action shots, and small moments in time, Jessica also gives back through her annual pet calendar contest which has welcomed hundreds of entries and raised tens of thousands of dollars for Pittsburgh's local rescues and non-profits. She is a guest instructor in the Hair of the Dog Academy with a course on this very topic and was interviewed on the Hair of the Dog podcast in June 2020 and an expert and recommended coach with The Pet Photographers Club whose podcast she was also featured on in July 2020.
Internationally Published Photographer
Jessica is one of 65 photographers from 14 countries featured in the first-ever Tails of the World book, a collective fundraising coffee table book from the world's leading pet photographers united in "a mission to make a difference to animals in need." All proceeds from the sale of this book support animal rescue. She's also currently in the process of publishing her first self-published book, Tails of the Steel City, a fundraising project kicking off in spring 2023.
In 2023, Jessica was named Most Prestigious Dog Photographer (USA) 2023 by LUXlife Magazine for her extensive expertise within a given field or discipline, dedication to customer service, and client satisfaction with an ongoing commitment to excellence and innovation, adding to her recognition among the top 100 professional pet photographers in the Portrait category of the International Pet Photographer of the Year 2020 Awards, Peerspace's best pet photographers in Pittsburgh, one of NEXTPittsburgh's seven Pittsburgh businesses dog owners will want to know about, and Giggster's 2021 list of the best pet photographers in Pittsburgh.
Business Coach & Certified Dubsado Specialist
Jessica is a coach in the Flourish Academy's elite business coaching program, Elevate, where she specializes in pricing, in-person sales, and client management software/automation. Additionally, she is a former Certified Dubsado Specialist who offers one-on-one mentoring to photographers throughout the Pittsburgh area to help them run their businesses profitably while delivering the ultimate client experience.