Meet our founder...

Hello there…

 

My name is Susan Schmitz.

I knew there was more out there …

For 20+ years, I had a successful career working for a mortgage company in Detroit, Michigan. I always felt very fortunate to have had such a secure job, working for an amazing company that took very good care of me, paid me well and provided great benefits. But after about 15 years of working a 9-8 job, I was burnt out. I knew that there was a more exciting and fulfilling life out there for me. So I packed my things, grabbed my two dogs and moved across the country to “find myself” in the magical and mystical land of Sedona, AZ.

I found my creative side.

During my soul-searching quest, I went on hikes, visited vortexes and healers and took up skydiving. But even free-falling at 100 mph didn’t make me feel grounded.

Then something happened… I started spending time behind a camera while attempting to document the endless beauty that surrounded me. I felt a spark. The creative side that I never knew existed began to come alive. I quickly developed a thirst for knowledge. I watched countless webinars and bought every how-to book that I could find. I networked with photographers and took many workshops. My passion was found.

I became obsessed with animals!

I started off by taking family portraits, but I found myself having much more fun photographing their pets. I’ve always had a deep love and respect for animals. I seem to just connect with them and they feel at ease with me. Pet photography seemed to be a better fit, so I started a company called A Dog’s Life Photography.

To build my portfolio, I volunteered my time taking photos for rescue groups to help them to raise awareness of their adoptable pets. Soon, I was getting so many requests for photos that I decided to create what is now known as our Good Focused Photo Program. 

I have photographed thousands of rescued animals since starting this program.  The groups I’ve worked with have raised tens of thousands of dollars through their fundraising efforts using my photos. These funds have helped to save the lives of many more animals that I have never even had the pleasure to meet.

But throughout this journey, it was the animals that rescued me. 

The unconditional love that they provide helped to open my heart.

Although helping the animal rescue community has brought me immense joy, it unfortunately does not pay the bills. Since charging the rescue groups for my work was out of the question, I had to find other ways to keep the studio lights on.

It was then that I discovered the world of stock photography. I began submitting my images to an agency named Shutterstock. They found buyers to license my images on things like pet product packaging, websites and  social media ads. The royalties that I received helped to keep my rescue group photo program running.

This agency ran a grant program that called Shutterstock Stories. Participants had to submit a video that told the story behind their images and work. I entered in hopes that they would throw my little program “a bone.”

Guess what?? I won a $5,000 grant in this contest! 

This helped to keep my rescue photo program running while I built out my stock photography library.

I take time out to travel about.

 

After a few years, I reached a point where I was making a nice steady residual income each month and I was able to quit my day job!

This newly found freedom also provided me with the opportunity to spend more time traveling. I was finally able to plan my dream trip to Africa!

I absolutely fell in love with this land…. the wildlife, the scenery and most of all… the people.

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Africa four times now and have begun to build a portfolio of wildlife and travel images. Sales of these photos as art prints and photo gift items along with stock photography help to run our new Good Focused Donation Program.

 

I found myself in the service of others.

This donation program helps to support non-profit organizations that are focused on empowering young women in challenging situations to become skilled and independent. It also helps their children to receive a good education so they can succeed and prosper.

We carefully select groups such as the Africa Foundation and Girl Empowerment Coalition Uganda because of the extensive work that they do to help women and their children.

Helping young mothers is a cause that is very close to my heart.

I left home as a rebellious teen at the young age of 15, dropped out of school at 16 and became a single mother at age 17. I had to work my tail off to raise my son. I didn’t always do the best job or make the right decisions. I made a hell of a lot of mistakes along the way. But I had a great support system surrounding me that helped to empower me to succeed.

I never could have made it to where I am now without the help of others. I will be forever grateful to those that provided me with the opportunities that I was given.

Now it’s my turn to give back.  

I am dedicated towards helping others through my photography.. to do good deeds and spread good vibes.

 

I am committed towards using my camera to stay focused on the good stuff. 

Thank you for supporting me on my journey.

 

     Namaste,