Welcome, readers, to an inspiring journey through the lens of creativity and passion! Today, we are thrilled to bring you an exclusive interview with Jackie O, the visionary force behind Jackie O Photos. A skilled photographer and devoted entrepreneur, Jackie shares her experiences, challenges, and triumphs in the dynamic world of newborn photography.

As we delve into this conversation, be prepared to be captivated by tales of continuous learning, artistic evolution, and the heartwarming moments that Jackie has had the privilege of capturing. Discover the secrets behind her unique style, learn about the pivotal courses that shaped her artistry, and join us as we explore her aspirations for the future of Jackie O Photos.

This interview is not just a glimpse into the life of a talented photographer; it’s an invitation to be inspired, motivated, and reminded that every journey is a story waiting to be told. Join us as we uncover the magic that happens when passion meets professionalism, and creativity meets business acumen.

Without further ado, let the enchanting narrative of Jackie O unfold, inviting you into a world where each click of the camera captures not just moments but the essence of a lifetime…

Hi Jackie! It’s wonderful to have you here. Can you share a bit about your journey into photography and how Jackie O Photos came to life?

Thank you for giving me this opportunity!

Thinking about it, I feel like I was always destined to be a newborn photographer, even if I didn’t know it was a career option. Although I have worked very hard to get where I am, a lot of the time it feels like the universe has been guiding me along the way, you know?

Let’s go back in time to the 90s. According to my parents, I have loved babies since I was a baby myself. I had an extensive collection of dolls and ‘Precious Moments’ figurines, and I was completely enamoured by Anne Geddes’ baby photography. I had some of her dolls, collected her calendars, and excitedly pointed out her photographs everywhere I could find them in public.

My first camera was a blue, red, and yellow Fisher Price Perfect Shot kids’ camera. I loved playing ‘Photographer’ and posing my baby dolls for what felt like professional shoots at the time. For years, I begged my parents for a sibling. When my little brother finally came along, I was 10 years old and overjoyed. I happily took on the role of “Mom junior,” never putting him down unless I had to. He became my favorite model to practice on, and to this day, he’s one of my biggest cheerleaders.

In my first year at the University of Toronto, I enrolled in the Art and Art History Program, which included a photography class. In true artist fashion, I marched to the beat of my own drum, not caring much about assignment guidelines or technical details. Hoping for better career prospects, I ended up changing majors and graduated with a degree in Environmental Science, not knowing I’d circle back to Photography years later.

When I got married, I casually mentioned my interest in photography to my wedding photographer JD. Imagine my shock and delight when he handed me his camera during the reception! He must have recognized some natural talent in me because that led to the opportunity to photograph some weddings and events with him, which gave me a boost of confidence and helped me learn how to properly use a camera.

Weddings were a lot of fun, but I found I gravitated toward capturing the sweet moments between parents and their kids. Seeing the pure joy that young children brought to everyone’s faces, documenting kids stealing candy from the sweet table, napping on the floor during a busy reception, or owning the dance floor with infectious enthusiasm.

The real game-changer happened when my step-sister insisted I try out newborn photography with her baby. Armed with just a faux fur Christmas tree skirt, a boppy pillow, and natural light from a sliding glass door, I made it work! That experience lit a spark, and I was hooked!

As a busy mom with two boys and a supportive husband, how do you balance your personal life with running a successful photography business?

Oh, juggling a photography business with two busy boys is no small feat, that’s for sure! I’m grateful that my husband believes in me and trusts that I either know what I’m doing, or that I’ll figure it out! Did I mention that he’s a great cook as well? Seriously, that’s one thing I couldn’t manage anywhere near as well as he does.

Until fall 2022, I had both kids at home with me, so I could only work during naptime and after they had gone to bed, late into the night. If I tried to pull out my laptop when they were awake, it would get slammed shut by curious baby hands, or become a victim to a rogue Paw Patrol toy flying through the air. Neither of our kids slept well, so my husband and I survived on years of limited, broken sleep. To be honest, my little one still isn’t a great sleeper. I think I’d sacrifice a limb for more sleep at this point, haha!

Luckily I’m a natural night owl, so I’ve embraced the late-night creativity and ability to hyper-focus. Editing photos or diving into something that interests me can easily make hours fly by without me noticing or even getting up to refill my water.

Juggling a photography business and family life can be demanding. How do you overcome challenges and stay motivated on busy days?

As for staying motivated, I’ve got this mindset that failure is not an option. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a perfectionist by any means… and all of my former math teachers can vouch for that! If something doesn’t click or I’m not feeling it, I’m happy to switch things up. Taking breaks and embracing the slow seasons have been crucial to preventing burnout at times, and I think it’s important to occasionally step back, take a look at how things are going, and reevaluate.

But if I sense deep down that I can do something great if I just stick with it through the rough patches, then I won’t give up. Quitting is simply not on the table, unless I truly stop enjoying this lifestyle and feel called to something else. Continuous learning and improvement are really motivating as well. I’m not afraid to ask for help from people who know more than I do and are willing to share their knowledge, because that’s the only way to really make it in this game!

We love the cozy home studio concept of Jackie O Photos! What inspired you to create a warm and inviting space for your clients?

As a parent myself, I completely understand that the time right after having a new baby can be incredibly vulnerable. Parents, especially moms, are navigating exhaustion, post-delivery recovery, and a whole array of new challenges, all while wanting to fiercely protect their little ones. My goal is to make this experience as stress-free as possible for them. The convenience of a home studio allows me to get to know my clients on a more intimate level, and I feel like it helps us connect, as I’m inviting them into my space as well.

I remember the early days of parenthood, where leaving the house with a newborn felt like a monumental task. Adding a toddler or older children to the mix only amplifies the challenge. That’s why I strive to make everything comfortable and convenient right here. From spare wipes and diapers to my adorable studio wardrobe for babies and toys to keep older siblings busy, I’ve got it covered. There’s even a park just two doors over for a quick escape if the weather is nice.

During our sessions, parents can sit back and relax – literally. Whether they choose to sit on the couch and watch or join in the photos, they don’t need to worry about a thing. I’ve had a mom even fall asleep on my couch once, and I thought that was wonderful because it showed me just how comfortable she felt here (and she probably really needed that nap, too!). I often finish a session feeling like I’ve made new friends, and I like to follow my clients on social media to catch glimpses of how their adorable babies are growing up too.

Beyond photography, what are some of your favourite podcasts that you enjoy listening to in your free time?

Oooh, good question. When my son was a baby, he was a consistent 5:00 a.m. riser. No matter what. We went for a LOT of walks, and podcasts kept me sane during that time! One podcast that stands out is ‘This Can’t Be That Hard’ by Annemie Tonken. Her great advice and the community she’s built thanks to the podcast and courses she offers have been instrumental in boosting my motivation and contributing to my success. Her podcast really made me believe I could make this work, even when I was a beginner and practically working for free.

On a fun, not photography related note, I’m a huge fan of diving DEEP into podcasts that discuss whatever TV show I’m obsessed with at the time. If I’m engrossed in a series, I love immersing myself in discussions about plot lines, characters, and backstories. If I’m watching a reality series, I just love to hear others’ thoughts and commentary about how funny, ridiculous, or fake the moments on the show are. It’s my way of enhancing the enjoyment of the show and shutting off my busy brain for some downtime.

Baking and sweets seem to be a passion of yours. Do you have a signature dish or favourite treat that you love making?

Absolutely! I have the world’s biggest sweet tooth. I bake everything from scratch as I truly believe it tastes better that way. As basic as it sounds, I love to make chocolate chip cookies and I’ve been using the same recipe since I was 15 years old. Despite trying many others, I always come back to this one because it’s a real crowd-pleaser, and one I often drop off on my neighbours’ doorsteps.

Other than the classic chocolate chip cookies, there are a few other goodies I’ve mastered over the years. I can confidently say I bake a mean chocolate, red velvet, and carrot cake, and a really yummy rice pudding. Now, I know rice pudding is a bit divisive – some people find the texture a bit off-putting, but hey, to each their own!

It’s clear that family is important to you. How do your experiences as a mother influence your approach to capturing family moments for your clients?

I think being a Mom makes me more relatable because I’ve been where my clients are, and I completely understand what they’re going through. Sometimes clients will apologize for a crying baby or an uncooperative toddler, and I always reassure them that it’s not a big deal at all (it’s even expected, really!) and not to feel bad at all. My kids have taught me an enormous amount of patience, and I’ve found that maintaining a calm demeanour has a comforting effect on my clients.

I also remember which moments felt big and important to me as a new Mom, and I try to document the features and stages that are most precious to look back on. Chubby wrist rolls and big curious eyes, gummy smiles and the first few teeth poking through the gums, thumb sucking, babies playing with their toes – something neither of my own kids had much interest in, sadly! Every stage lasts for such a short time and should be cherished. I want to ensure that these precious details are preserved for my clients to look back on with joy, and to show their own children one day too!

You mentioned always having a camera in your hand. Can you share a memorable moment you’ve captured spontaneously that holds a special place in your heart?

Oh, there’s this one memorable and spontaneous moment that truly stands out – the Triplets!

One day, I was driving home from the grocery store and spotted a mom pushing a triplet stroller just a street over from mine. The thought crossed my mind, ‘Wow, I wish I could photograph triplets!’

Once I got home and put away the groceries, that urge to seize the moment felt a little overwhelming. So, I went back out, found the Mom still on her walk, and approached her with a big smile. I mustered the courage to hand over a business card and express my desire to photograph her babies, acknowledging that I know it might sound a bit sketchy. I assured her there was absolutely no pressure, and to my delight, she did end up reaching out!

At the time, I hadn’t realised that her triplets were identical. Photographing identical triplets was undoubtedly a career high for me. I did some online digging and discovered that the chances of having identical triplets are only about one in 200 million. Now, here’s the best part – I somehow captured a moment where all three babies are looking directly at the camera, and almost perfectly mirroring each other’s body language. It was pure luck, and I’m still in awe of how it came together. That particular photo has found a special place on my business card.

Going through old photo albums is a nostalgic experience for many. What’s your favorite memory captured in a photo from your own collection?

If I had to choose a favorite, I might seem like a bit of a downer… but when it comes to happy moments, the abundance of photos taken during these times makes it impossible to pick. My personal preference for favorites leans towards photos that capture interesting, impactful, or important moments in our lives. Not necessarily the happiest or cutest moments.

My most treasured collection of photographs is from our time at home during the pandemic lockdowns. Those days were marked by isolation during the significant addition of our second child, and during what should have been fun, exciting, and happy times in my young children’s lives. I made a deliberate effort to document our experience – photographing signs at the local park during its closure, capturing my kids staring out the window, looking bored, or engaged in imaginative play and enjoying each other’s company.

I made myself a photo book out of these photos and chose to make the photos black and white. The monochrome aesthetic somehow captures the heaviness of those moments, you know? Having my camera with me during that time not only allowed me to document it, but I think helped me process everything that was happening and properly remember all the winter months that seemed to blend together.

Your focus on a baby’s comfort and safety is commendable. How do you ensure a safe and comfortable environment for the little ones during your photoshoots?

Ensuring the safety and comfort of the little ones during photo sessions is my top priority. I’ve undergone safety training through APNPI (Accredited Professional Newborn Photographers International), equipping me with the skills and knowledge to create a safe setting for each session. One key aspect of my approach is avoiding any poses that feel unnatural or risky for the baby.

I believe in following the baby’s lead to understand their unique comfort preferences. Some babies have torticollis, which is a fancy name for a really stiff neck due to being cramped in the womb for 9 months! That can make it uncomfortable for them to turn their head in a certain direction. Another example – I recently had a baby who had been in a frank breech position in the womb, and it became apparent that he wasn’t comfortable with the typical leg-swaddling poses. In cases like these, I let the baby guide the session, allowing them to position themselves in a way that feels most comfortable to them. It’s all about adapting to the individual needs and cues of each baby, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for both the little one and their parents.

As a photographer, continuous learning is crucial. Which photography courses have had a significant impact on your skills and style?

Ah, the world of photography is a playground for perpetual learners like me! I’ve taken some game-changing courses that have significantly impacted my skills and style. Kelly Brown’s Newborn Photography Bootcamp was like my photography ABCs – it gave me the foundation for my understanding of posing, angles, and setting up my studio when I was first starting out.

Then, there’s Shan Fisher, master of the ‘timeless white studio look.’ Her course helped hone my ability to achieve the clean and timeless white style that I was drawn to. Although it may seem simple to photograph on all white without props, it really requires you to be creative to get a varied gallery and a lot of patience to get truly white whites. Her guidance helped me appreciate the beauty of simplicity and learn how to capture a diverse gallery of photos without using traditional newborn poses and props.

Lastly, let’s not forget the wonderful Annemie Tonken. Her courses and podcast feel like having a VIP backstage pass to succeed in the business side of photography. Her courses are the secret sauce that adds flavor to what can be an incredibly dry business side of photography. Thanks to her guidance, I’ve found the sweet spot where my passion and interests meet professionalism and business sense, allowing me to continue doing what I love and delivering the best experience for my clients.

We’d love to hear about your aspirations and goals for Jackie O Photos in the coming years. Any exciting projects or milestones on the horizon?

Oh, it’s a busy place, my brain. I am always daydreaming of the future and where I want to take my business. I’m constantly tweaking my home studio to make it not just functional but also a cozy and inspiring space. I’m on a mission to fill these walls with more of my photography – you know, the kind that tells a story, evokes strong feelings, and inspires my clients to do the same in their homes!

I’ve recently had the thrill of seeing my work in print – first, in a newborn photography magazine called Tinies, then British Vogue, and soon an upcoming feature in Vanity Fair. Last year, I had the honor of winning first place in a newborn photography competition with APNPI, which really confirmed for me that the countless hours I’ve poured into my business are paying off. It’s so rewarding to feel that recognition.

Right now, I’ve submitted my work to become a Qualified Newborn Photographer (QNP) with APNPI and should hear back soon. After that, the next step would be an accreditation in naturally posed newborns or sitters (older babies) somewhere down the line. “Accreditation in a category is a recognition beyond that of the QNP Certified Photographer. It’s among the higher level recognitions, representing an above-average quality of photographic artistry.”

Why am I chasing these goals? Simple – it’s all about striving to be the best I can be and making sure my clients are not only happy but downright thrilled with the memories we’re preserving together. I’m truly passionate about what I do, and I really love my clients. So naturally, I want to push myself to succeed in whatever way I can.

Given your love for babies, what’s the most heartwarming or funny moment you’ve experienced during a newborn photoshoot?

Cake smashes are an absolute blast! There’s just something incredibly fun about watching those little ones devour a cake. I can’t help but laugh out loud along with the parents when a baby dives in with no hands, just pure face-first enthusiasm in a pile of icing. It’s a priceless and often hilarious moment that never gets old.

Now, when it comes to heartwarming scenes, twin babies steal the show. Seeing them interact, cuddle up beside each other, and sometimes even holding hands is just too precious. Twins have this magical connection that unfolds right before my lens. They feed each other cake, playfully snatch toys, and what’s truly fascinating is how their personalities, even in identical twins, can be completely opposite.

Travel often sparks creativity. Are there any destinations on your bucket list that you believe would inspire your photography?

Greece and England are two places overseas that I loved, and I’d happily explore almost anywhere in Europe in a heartbeat! While I have a bunch of dream destinations on my bucket list, they’re not necessarily about seeking inspiration for my photography. I find my muse in human interactions, the love between people, and the pure joy that children bring to their families. Now, if I could document babies in a completely different cultural setting, that would be a dream. Though, I might have to rethink the idea of photographing strange babies – that might raise a few eyebrows, right? Haha!

Our readers love to travel; what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

Honestly, lately I’m all about exploring the beauty within Canada! I’ve really enjoyed the beautiful forests and mountain views when visiting the West Coast, but there’s so much more in this country that I haven’t seen. Places like Banff, Quebec City, and the East Coast are calling my name. Canada has incredibly diverse landscapes, and I’d really love to explore the wonders of my own backyard.

Finally, if you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring photographers or moms pursuing their passions, what would it be?

Honestly? Being a photographer means being a business owner, and that’s one thing I think many of us don’t consider in the beginning.

Running the show takes discipline and an immense amount of passion, commitment, and maybe a hint of stubbornness to not quit when the going gets tough! Sure, we get the pleasure of making beautiful art that our clients love and admire, but running a business based on your talents and passions also means diving into the realms of accounting, marketing, bookkeeping, advertising, website creation, SEO, social media, and the whole business shebang. It demands a massive chunk of your time, energy, and also, a financial investment – because let’s face it, businesses take a while to turn profitable.

Here’s the golden nugget: Once you’ve mastered your craft, charge what you’re worth. It’s not just about making ends meet; it’s about building a sustainable income, saving for the future, and keeping your business afloat. Your time is valuable. It may sound like a rollercoaster, and it is, but let me tell you – it’s an incredibly rewarding ride. There’s a unique joy in capturing those monumental moments for people, knowing that you’re the one who took the photos that families look back on over and over, for years to come. These are the snapshots they’ll fondly share with their own children, creating a beautiful legacy through your lens.

Where can people follow you and find out more?

To stay in the loop and explore more of my photography work, people can follow along on my social media – Instagram: jackie.o.photos Facebook page: Jackie O Photos

For a deeper dive into my portfolio and the services I offer, hop on over to my website at Jackie O Photos. I can’t wait to connect with your readers and share the joy of these beautiful moments with an audience that appreciates them as much as I do!

Once again, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for having me. It’s been an absolute pleasure sharing my journey and passion with you. Thank you for this incredible opportunity to connect with your audience, and if there’s ever anything more you’d like to explore or discuss, I’m just a message away!


Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.

Comments are closed.