Vermilion Family Grad Photographer | Finalist for the Canadian Portrait Photographer of the Year

When I went back to school for photography, I was swept into the energy for more than 200 photographers and all of our instructors for the ten months that I was at school. That energy was such an inspiration to me and it helped me to expand my creative abilities. Once I left school, I lost that energy. Enter the Professional Photographer’s of Canada. This is a network of photographers that spans across Canada. They hold business meetings, webinars and provincial and national conventions that provide an outlet for like-minded professional photographers.

Anti-bullying, pink shirt campaign, Dragon Hare Studios

For the first few years, I was too shy to reach out. Then I started entering accreditations and print competitions and I let my ego stand in my way. I would get angry when a print failed and only felt immense frustrations. This frustration drove me to reach out to a photographer in Ontario for help. I began attending meetings, and getting involved by sitting on both provincial and national boards. I met all types of photographers from all over this great country. I began to find that creative energy again that could push me to do more, try new techniques, and master skills that I struggled with.

A year ago, I sat down at portfolio reviews at national convention with two amazing photographers. Claude, a master portrait photographer from Quebec,​ said to me “safe, safe, safe, why do you stay so safe?” and he challenged me to create a specific type of image. Tracey, a freestyle photographer from BC,​ helped me set goals that challenged me to push as hard as I could. Louise​, a commercial photographer from PEI, and Ian, an architectural photographer from Edmonton,​ became my sounding board, Padraic​ & Sonia​, portrait photographers from Ireland, were my inspiration and I went way out of my comfort zone to see what I could do. I set myself a goal of earning a best in class award at provincials and I walked away with the Alberta Portrait Photographer of the Year Award as well as two best in class awards!

Vermilion Family Photographer, Dragon Hare Studios

And now, 5 months later, I submitted four images to the National image salon. I watched the salon with my heart in my throat as I saw my images judged. There are four possible scores – not accepted, accepted, merit and excellence. Merit. Merit. Merit. And Accepted. This year, my score was good enough to end up as a finalist for the 2015 Canadian Portrait Photographer of the Year! The winner will be announced at the end of April in Niagara Falls at Canadian Imaging! There are some truly amazing photographers listed on the list of finalists, and it is a true honor just to see my name there! Check out the full list here and go visit their websites. Amazing talent!

Vermilion Grad Photography, Dragon Hare Studios

This my friends, is just the icing on the cake after a most amazing year. My PPOC family has become a very important part of my career and I am so grateful to all of those members that take the time to inspire me. Thank you Claude, Tracey, Louise, Ian, Padraic, and Sonia for helping me along my way, I cherish each of you! And to my friend Andre, whom I met through the PPOC, who has encouraged me, taught me, cheered with me and pushed me further than I could dream about, I thank you too.

But most of all, I must thank my clients who allow me the chance to create my art as it truly is an honor to get to know each of you. And finally, to make up artist Krista Niedzielski​ from Serenity Spa in Vermilion, who’s work makes me look way better!

Here’s to setting goals and chasing after them with everything you’ve got.

Vermilion Family Photographer, Dragon Hare Studios