Every photographer has a different story. Some were born into photography, some discovered their passion at a young age, and some later in their life. Some were lucky to have artists present in their life, and some just found photography unintentionally, by experimenting. For my part, I never planned on being a photographer while growing up. I definitely wanted to do something artistic and creative, but I never really knew what it would be.
I always loved photos, since I was very young. I loved anything that was visual. I used to draw ALL the time. The rest of my family were quite the opposite, and no one really pursued any artistic hobbies. The first camera I can remember having was a really cheap 35mm camera that my mom bought. We would snap the usual family shots with it, and wait a couple of weeks to see the photos in print. How exciting that was! Then, around age 8, I remember my aunt giving me a more high end reflex camera - I think it was a pentax MX. Altough this camera was broken and produced blurry and out of focus images most of the time, I really enjoyed shooting with it, experimenting and trying to be creative!
My first digital reflex camera was a Canon Rebel (the first model). The digital changed my life. I got to shoot more stuff, and this got to shoot more often! I started with photos of my dog and cats, of course, then I turned to landscape, and street photography. My next camera was the Nikon D300 - but I at that moment I still wasn’t very good, or should I say, I hadn’t found my passion yet.
Then in 2008, I met a photographer who was doing portrait photography on the side. He was quite passionate about his photography, and his passion was contagious. I came out of my shell, and started experimenting with portrait and fashion. And I fell in love. I learned a lot from this photographer - he became my mentor.
I quickly realized that this is what I wanted to do, no question. I left my desk job as a web designer to pursue a career in photography full time. The next few years were experimentation. I tried events, weddings, families & babies and all of that. I wouldn’t say that I didn’t enjoy those at some point, but I never really got any real inspiration… But when I returned to portrait and fashion, I felt like all the work that was involved was effortless. I was growing so much so fast - I found my niche.
It was important to me to differentiate, from the very beginning, what quality photography work was, and the difference between amateur and professional photography. I chose to learn from the very best of the best, and to only look at work from photographers who were at the top. I assisted a few photographers in Montreal, and this is where I learned the most about the fashion industry. I learned the things to do, and the things not to do; something that they would never teach you in photography school. I still went to school for a bit to perfect my technique, and basically to get a new outlook on the business side of photography.
The rest was just pure passion, and a lot of determination. You have to just go for it. Along the way I took risks, some small and some huge! And I don’t regret any of them - even the ones that didn’t end up working - because that’s when I learned the most. I think that when you have a vision and a goal, everything gets so much easier, and you don’t really see obstacles as obstacles… but more as fun challenges that you are actually expecting. :) Photography isn’t the easiest career. You HAVE to be passionate about it. You have to live through it. It has to become a part of you.