In 1994, she moved to San Francisco with her husband. “I said to him on the drive out across the country, ‘I want to do something different. I want to find a real niche and do that,’” Jones said. “I didn’t know what it was going to be at all.”
While in San Francisco, Jones met friends in the city who had dogs. She set up a white background and put the dogs on set, giving them the full portraiture treatment and conveying the message that dogs were people, too. Jones photographed six different dogs that day—the start of her career in dog photography and the first of hundreds of thousands of pictures. “They just raved over the images,” she said. “And I loved taking them. And that was it.”
That was in 1996. Jones had a daughter in 2001 and a year later, moved back to New England to be closer to family. Her business continued expanding—to New York City, Washington, D.C., Miami, Dallas, Denver, and Chicago. But flying alone with all her gear was di!cult, so in 2019 she bought a camper van to drive to sessions across the country two to three months at a time. The van served as a mobile studio as well as a better way for her to transport all of her photography gear.
Jones has worked with a variety of clients, such as Anderson Cooper and Mary Tyler Moore. She photographed Tyler Moore’s four rescue dogs at her house. “I love it when people bring in new and interesting breeds that I’ve never photographed, like an Irish wolfhound or four or five pugs,” she said. “It’s also fun working with a big group of dogs. One time, I did a shoot with 10 dogs on the set, and some of them were Bernese mountain dogs, little mutts, and it was a whole family that wanted all their dogs in one shot in Los Angeles. We had everybody helping, and we got the shot. It was quite an adventure.”
Jones is winding down her shooting sessions before pivoting to begin work on a new project. One idea she’s considering is fundraising for dog rescue groups by selling and licensing her database of nearly 250,000 photographs.
She credits the classes she took at IC and her professors, some of which were influential in her studies, for helping her on this path. “The studio lighting course was probably the biggest boon for me because a lot of photographers get intimidated by that—by setting up those lights in the studio,” Jones said. “It’s such a formal process, and I was taught how to do it at Ithaca. It really took that fear away from me. It was a wonderful place to study what I studied, and it was such a great town to live in and to shoot in,” Jones said.