In less than a week, I will be leaving the city of Kelowna.
I moved here two years ago to go to school for photography, and upon completing my one year program, I stayed around for another year to continue my progress as a photographer.
I’m not going far- I’m moving to the smaller city of Penticton, which is about an hour drive from Kelowna. Still, the opportunities for fashion photography are going to be less once I move. I know this and I’m okay with it.
So… Why am I moving to a smaller city? Simply put: Penticton is my home. I miss it. While living in Kelowna, I got caught up with school, work, photo shoots, etc. While I like to keep busy, I have also been missing everyone back home- I expected to see them much more than I do. My friendships and relationships are extremely important to me, and while photography is my passion, I never want anyone in my life to feel ignored.
I’m moving home to work on myself. I want to ground myself, to figure out the next step. I plan to get an apartment of my own and spend time alone, focusing on art.
The reason I got into photography in the first place was my love for art. I’ve always loved to draw and paint, and I’ve been doing those things much longer than I’ve been taking photographs. I feel like I haven’t properly made time for the things I enjoy since I’ve been in the city, and I’d like to start.
If I decide to seriously pursue fashion photography, I will have to move to a bigger city (I’ve always thought about moving to Vancouver.) Right now, I feel like moving back to Penticton is a necessary step. I don’t know how long I’ll want to stay, but I do know I’m no longer happy in Kelowna. Change is so important to me, and I think that if you’re unhappy with your situation, you have to change it (easier said than done, I know.)
I owe a lot to the people of Kelowna, I’ve had so many experiences here (good and bad) that have helped me not only with photography, but with other aspects of my life as well.
I was extremely shy when I moved to Kelowna… I struggled to talk to anyone I didn’t know. I was often overcome by anxiety and I avoided talking to strangers.
I was terrified when I found out how much public speaking was involved in my program, and questioned my ability to get through it.
I did, though. Although I absolutely hated and struggled with it at the time, I see now how important it was. I’ve become comfortable with meeting/working with total strangers, which is so important as a photographer.
Thank you, school.
Thank you to my fellow students as well. I especially want to thank Tony Colgur and Lisa Haywood for all of their help, during school and afterwards.
Tony has helped me with numerous shoots and assisted me with my very first wedding. Thank you for the lighting advice, lending me your 35mm lens (almost indefinitely) and lugging around heavy equipment for me. Oh, and the film (!!!)
Lisa is a photographer I have respected and admired ever since I first saw her beautiful travel photography. She is someone I have gone to for advice again and again and she is always willing to give me her opinion and encouragement. Thank you, Lisa.
Someone who deserves immense credit in the development of my portfolio: Cheri Chung
it’s all about the details: Cheri painting Gabbi’s nails for one of our very first shoots together.
Cheri with model Kourtney, during one of our more recent shoots.
I worked almost exclusively with Cheri while living in Kelowna, not only because I am a huge fan of her hair and make up work, but because she is extremely reliable and dedicated. Cheri has gone above and beyond when helping out with shoots- She has helped with styling, wardrobe, location scouting, providing props and even holding a reflector when necessary.
I feel so lucky to have worked with such a talented individual.
Thank you so much for all of your hard work, Cheri! My portfolio obviously wouldn’t be the same without you (in fact, I wouldn’t even HAVE much of a portfolio without you.)
For this shot, Cheri was holding up a reflector in order to block the sun so I could capture Shelby’s face through the glass.
Thank you Shelby Leanne
Shelby and I almost had to cancel this shoot because of the weather… Fortunately, one of her clients was willing to lend us her beautiful condo for a couple of hours. Thank you for helping to pull this shoot together at the last minute, Shelby.
Shelby is one of the stunning models I’ve had the pleasure of working with in Kelowna. She is honestly one of the sweetest and most down to earth models (and people) I have ever met. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Shelby on multiple shoots, and each time she puts forth an amazing amount of effort and dedication. (She was even willing to lie down in the freezing cold lake in OCTOBER to get a shot.)
She is also someone who I’ve always felt very comfortable around and we’ve done a few practise shoots together, which have been very helpful to me.
This girl has the beauty, the personality and the talent, and I think she’s going to be an amazing success. Thank you for letting me photograph you, Shelby.
Shelby’s effortless beauty.
Thank you Gabbi Leon
I was so excited when Gabbi agreed to do a ballerina shoot with Cheri and I! The image on the left was published on Vogue.it
Upon graduating from my photography program, Gabbi was the first signed model I worked with. I was amazed at how professional she was, especially for such a young girl.
I’ve worked with Gabbi multiple times, and she is always very enthusiastic about our shoots (even when I suggested a one-on-one shoot without hair/makeup or wardrobe.)
I’ve always loved her very unique look and I enjoy watching her progress as a model. She was recently signed to Key Model Management in Vancouver, and I believe she’s going to have an amazing modelling career.
From my first shoot with Gabbi.
Thank you Sam Parr
One of my favourite portfolio images. Sam killed it!
Sam was another of the first signed models I worked with. Our very first shoot was a long one (read about it here), but Sam was such a patient and dedicated model to work with. Even when I was having an off day (during an amusement park shoot), I ended up with one of my very favourite portfolio images. This girl has such amazing versatility, which is such an important quality for modelling.
Another shot from the fair shoot… In addition to modelling on a moving carousel, Sam also modelled on this moving ferris wheel. It was a challenge for us both to constantly change our positions to try and get the shot. I have tons of blurry/missed shots from this experience- This is the one shot that worked out.
Thank you Hannah Grace Montgomery
This shot was taken in Summerland during a day of exploring.
Hannah has helped me produce some of the more artistic, natural shots in my portfolio, and I’m extremely grateful for that. She’s always fun to work with and is so natural in front of the camera. Plus, she’s great at styling herself.
Thank you Frakas and Rachel
Accessories and top in this shot were provided by Frakas.
On multiple occasions, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to use clothing/accessories from Frakas Boutique for my shoots. Clothing is obviously a huge part of fashion shoots, and Frakas had some wonderful pieces that I was able to use.
The manager of Frakas, Rachel Pithart, has been so great to me and has helped with the styling of several of my shoots.
Thank you local photographers
While there are too many to name, I think you know who you are. Thank you to all of the local photographers who have been so supportive and helpful. I know we work in an often competitive industry, so I think it really shows a lot about a person’s character when they are willing to support another photographer.
Thank you to anyone else who has either supported me or helped shape my portfolio in some way.
To those who I didn’t get the chance to work with- I am only moving an hour away, please plan something with me. I’d still love the chance to work with all of you!
I know I’m not going very far, and that I will still see/work with a lot of you. I just wanted to post this in case I don’t say it enough: Thank you for all of your help, truly. I appreciate you.
Now I really need to get back to packing…