Where I grew up, there was always a camera laying around. Nothing fancy, just a point-and-shoot. When the film was developed it would come back with photos from a family trip, or Christmas, or somebody's birthday.
It was on one of those family trips, when I was 10 years old, that I developed my obsession with photography. It didn't come on slowly like a cold, it came out of nowhere and hit hard like the flu. I had to get a camera.
From the day I fell in love with photography, it would be weeks before I had my own camera. I worked all summer doing grimy chores. But I did it with love, knowing that when that camera came I'd be able to take amazing photos.
It came in the mail with a fresh role of film just in time for a train trip through Northern Ontario with my family.
That was a whole different trip for me. For the first time I studied everything I saw. The role of film I was using only allowed me to take 12 pictures, so I had to ask what was truly photo worthy.
Looking down as a river curves through a valley. Click, 11 pictures left.
Off the train, we hiked to see a waterfall plunge from it's rocky edge. Standing back, I got the whole waterfall in the frame and clicked the shutter button. 8 pictures left.
Back on the train, I could see the last cars on the train as we curved through the mountainous terrain. I pressed the camera up to the window and clicked another one. 3 pictures left.
I'll never forget those first 12 pictures I took. Nor will I forget the day, weeks after the trip when I had saved up to have those pictures developed, when I discovered my camera was defective and my photos were all ruined.
There were no photos.
I never got to see those 12 pictures, but I've never forgotten taking them
"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."
― Dorothea Lange
I got a new camera for Christmas!
I would read my subscription to Photo Life magazine during silent reading time at school. I wasn't just looking at the pictures, but reading about the adventurous lives of the photographers who took them.
I could never get my photos to look like theirs. My landscapes lacked beauty. My portraits were dull. Objects in my photos appeared small and lifeless.
My high school didn't have a photography class like I had been hoping. It wasn't until after university, when we had our first child, that I would finally learn photography.
If only I could go back and teach myself what I know now!
I spent so many months (years really) studying so many things. Only to look back and realize only a tiny bit of it was necessary.
I just wanted to take creative pictures of my kids, nature, and the occasional rock band.
I learned ALL the camera settings and discovered there are only 3-4 that really matter to most photographers.
I thought it was all about the camera and technology, before discovering much of what goes into a good photo has more to do with how you see, the angles you choose, and the light.
From broken camera to photography business.
I got lots of hands-on experience as a school portrait photographer. After photographing 1000's of students, I took a leap and began a family photography business. Here are some of my favourite images from the early days.
Along the way, I met a lot of people who had invested in cameras that they never learned how to use. They told me about what had inspired them to buy the camera and they felt discouraged that they were no good at taking pictures.
I had struggled through and learned all the things they needed to know.
That's when I decided to teach photography.
In photography, there are a few principles that every photographer uses no matter what they are photographing. And it's no wonder, because they are the principles that have always worked and give your photos the biggest impact.
Learn the best skills first and then go for the other details on a need-to-know basis.
I love to photograph the things I love in life.
I love to photograph spontaneous candid moments and I especially enjoy making beauty out of chaos. I love light and families and music and food and aircraft.
I could never have predicted where that broken camera would take me - and I'm thrilled to help you on your journey.