2018 Portfolio Project

For those who don't know, I've been in school studying photography for the last 2 years at Niagara College. I just finished up, but part of my last semester was spent creating a 10-piece portfolio on any kind of photography we wanted. We had to develop it over the course of the semester, print it, and present it in front of a 7-person jury and talk about why we created it, and why we loved it. 

Our teacher for the project had no problem telling us something we did wasn't good enough, which I heard a few times over the semester. This process was both amazing and exhausting, but it definitely pushed me to do what I think is my best work thus far. It paid off, as I walked away with first place, and a sweet new Nikon camera. 

Now that it's done and over, and I'm excited to share all the pieces in one space! As part of the project, I had to create a cover page and an artist statement, which I will share as well. I hope you enjoy taking in the result of 3 months of sweat and many shed tears.

Let me know what you think! I'm curious what you really resonated with, or which one your favorite is.

I am humbled by the amount of people willing to give me their time, from modeling or assisting or providing creative services in the way of makeup and hair. I am not an island, and this wouldn't be what it was without the dedication from those around me who helped me uphold my vision every step of the way. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to every one of you who may be reading this.

And for your viewing pleasure, a photo of me winning first place, presented by Mark Cruz from Nikon Canada. I'm grateful that the judges loved the series as much as I loved creating it!

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Ball's Falls

Winter adventures are some of my favorite to photograph, even despite the cold. Even despite the fact that I fell in the snow this day. Even despite the fact that my hands were bloody frozen because I hate shooting with gloves on.

Does anyone else feel this way? Do you have special gloves that make you feel more confident in not dropping everything?

P.S. I dropped everything anyway. 

I find something magical about the way the snow looks in photographs, about the softness and crispness in the air, which you can find a way to capture in frame.  Blessed with wonderful, adventurous friends, we trekked off to Ball's Falls to wander around, shoot, and try not to freeze.

Brooke (IG) & Michelle (IG) were our models for this day, but I was accompanied by a couple wonderful photographers as well (Tyler & JR) (We even found someone to snap a group picture!)

You can find this shot ^ and more great ones at JR Kingdon's blog here!

We adventured down near the water, and back up to the church, JR made a snowangel and we all got pretty wet. But I'm excited at the winter adventures to come! 

Christine & Bryan

I'm not sure if I consider myself a helluva romantic, but photographing love seems to really bring that side out in me. I truly enjoy getting to shoot with couples and create honest, and sometimes silly, moments of pure cuteness in front of my lens.

Christine had made it abundantly clear that her and her partner, Bryan, don't like being photographed and it was going to be weird. But I have yet to actually be deterred by anyone who says that to me.

Psst, everyone says that! And they are ALWAYS wrong! Case in point:

I would call myself fairly quirky and silly, so a couples session with me won't be too posed, too cheesy, or stiff. I will talk a lot, give you weird prompts (this shot above is the aftermath of one of those prompts), and try to pull out as many candid laughs as I can. Love is fun, silly, messy, and pure, and I think your photos should reflect that, at least most of the time.

Don't get me wrong, I like a nice posed photo thrown in there though.

In the end, it's most important that you enjoy yourself during a photo session. And I personally have always enjoyed myself too, and hope my clients have as much fun as I do. Christine & Bryan were a blast to shoot with, and I am in love with the photos we captured on that day.

Let me know what you think!

Erin

One of my great mysteries of Toronto will always be: Why the hell do people actually goto the CNE?

Erin asked if I wanted to do a shoot when the Ex was in town--full disclosure, I thought she meant her ex, which could be an interesting photo session, and should tell you how low on the list this place is for me--and I said sure, I havent been to the Ex in 14 years. Honestly, I am good for another 14 or 70 years now. There are too many people and you surely can't go with any real purpose without spending a lot of money, right? I love shooting with Erin, but when we left I felt very relieved.

But I digress. This isn't a blog about why the CNE is the worst.

Despite the list of reasons I could give you of why I hate this place, it does have a couple of redeeming qualities: cotton candy, bright and colourful lights at night, and weird mirror mazes (this is only partially redeeming, I had a small panic attack inside of this maze).

We arrived just in time for golden hour, snagged some cotton candy and went to town. Once the night was upon us, we found the aforementioned mirror maze, which was cool to take photos in but put me into a total panic. Once we got through the worst of it, there was this cool part up stairs with the blue painted steel you'll see in the later photos. All in all a success. I spilt a watermelon smoothie all over my backpack, but I also got to eat really good nachos. 

Gear note: Taken with the Nikon D5, (*sigh* I will never actually own this camera) and the Nikon 35mm f1.4 lens. 

 

Ariella

I'm not the most social person so one thing I am grateful to photography for (one of the many) is that it's allowed me to reconnect with people I never knew very well. I had not seen Ariella in years; we went to highschool together but I'm not sure if we ever really had a conversation during that time.

A mutual friend suggested we hook up for a shoot, so Ariella invited me over to her super cute apartment in Toronto for some Ben & Jerry's and we sat down and got to know each other over ice cream. As the sun lowered, I helped her pick out an outfit and get to it, and it was probably my quickest shoot ever. Perhaps it was the relaxed atmosphere, the ice cream, or Ariella's charming personality (probably the latter), but we knocked off the entire first part of the set in no time. After the shoot we headed to a pub to tie off a meal and a pint, and snapped the last few photos en route.

Ariella was a pleasure to shoot, and I'm so happy I was able to connect with her to make these photos. I can't wait to do it again! 

Gear note: Shot with Nikon Df and Nikon 35mm f1.4 lens

P.S. I also took a couple photos of her beautiful kitty, because how could I resist?

 

Paul & Olivia - Engagement Session

I was really excited to get to shoot Paul & Olivia's engagement photos. Until the recent demise of HMV Canada, I had worked with Paul for a while and while I didn't know Olivia, I knew Paul was a big gooey dork underneath his bushy beard when it came to her and I was excited to get to capture that (and have proof to show our coworkers!).  

We took these photos at Jack Darling Park, which is located on the lake shore in Mississauga, ON. The park was busier than I expected; we arrived to find it overtaken with families and groups that had moved in for the day, complete with tents and barbeques, something we sure didn't do when I was a kid! We found a small gap in the waterfront underneath a willow tree and decided to move in. 

These two were all smiles and laughs and it was nearly effortless to capture them being naturally themselves, silly, sweet and in love. With the sun setting through the trees behind us, we settled in at the rocks on the water to knock off some more shots before the light was lost. At the end of the night, I spotted the ice cream truck that gave us our final shot, one that brought the shoot together neatly. If I had to sum up the shoot with one shot, it would be that one.

*Click on a photo to see full-size.

Farrell & The Tale of Gear Failure

Photographers put so much trust into our gear - trust that it's going to help us do what we want to achieve the outcome we are looking for, and trust that it's not going to fail mid-way through. Gear failure is a bit gut-wrenching.

I showed up to the parking garage in Kensington Market to shoot with Farrell with my camera in hand, ready to take some portraits with the Toronto skyline looming in front of us. A few frames in, something seemed wrong; Farrell wasn't in focus. I tried trouble shooting, but I came to the unfortunate conclusion that my camera was back-focusing, which meant it needed some TLC from the good people at Nikon and it wasn't going to be fixed then and there. 

Patient Farrell made lots of silly faces while I tried to get my bearings, and I decided I was going to go manual focus. I have photographer friends who go manual focus most of the time (legends!), but I wear glasses and can't see well far away, so trying to be precise and depending on these ol' eyes is not a great combination. But you do what you have to do to get the shots, right?

It wasn't easy, but it was definitely a lesson in patience (for both of us, I reckon) and in the end we came away with some good shots, boisterous laughs, and a sense of accomplishment. I felt lucky this snafu happened when it did, as I had a company event to shoot the next day, and luckily had a second camera at home to save the day. Lesson learned? Test gear meticulously before a shoot, and bring a backup if you can. What a rookie mistake!

Have you ever had gear fail on the job, photography related or not? I'm curious how it went! Let me know below!