‘Remembering life because we all die at some point’
The rain was spattering the window with large heavy drops as Ryan told me about his passion for photography. The weather, he told me, would be a perfect setting for a somber shot of the old brick building across the street. When Ryan is not using his camera, he is studying music business management in school while also working towards a career in photography.
His goal is to one day work out west as a professional photographer and he is well on his way. He had recently returned from a three month contract where he was working for the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise ‘shooting canoes’. The scenery, he said, was incredible. Every day he would take photos of the canoes returning from their early morning excursions and use them to promote the hotel.
‘It’s an art that I can do, I can just go out and do it.’
For Ryan, taking pictures comes naturally. He describes photography as ‘an art that I can actually do well’. When asked what he meant, he explained that he has never been keen on drawing or painting. He does however enjoy photography because it’s a different medium that also captures emotion in a scene.
He says he brings his camera everywhere he goes. ‘It also helps me’ because it forces him to go out and try different things. When we sat down for over our teas, Ryan was preparing for ‘A Day with Thomas’, an event where families have the opportunity to meet Thomas the Tank Engine at the train station in Uxbridge, Ontario.
Ryan originally wasn’t fond of film photography after his grade 11 class, but when his cousin gave him his first camera, he worked towards improving his abilities as a photographer. In the beginning, he was motivated to learn by his grandpa and cousin. He now uses other photographers such as Brandon Woelfel as a reference on how to improve his work. He also says that Youtube is an incredible resource for learning new skills.
‘Sometimes I hate it and sometimes I really like it’
Photography in itself is a skill, but it also requires large amounts of patience. Ryan explained that for every 300 pictures he takes, he might find four or five quality pictures that he will then edit. He says he will post even fewer on social media if the photo is lacking the emotion he was attempting to capture.
In the beginning, Ryan explained that he would edit one single picture for several hours before he was content with the piece. Sometimes however, he would just delete the hours’ worth of work because he was unhappy with the end result. ‘I like producing good quality, if it’s not good quality, I don’t like it.’
When asked about the use of editing in photography he said that it is mainly a way to fix the mistakes of the photographer. He explained that when using editing, he ‘want(s) to make it more real’ which is not always captured in the photo. Some pictures however require hours’ worth of work using both Photoshop and Lightroom.
‘If you’re not getting emotion from it, then it’s just a boring picture.’
A good picture Ryan explained is all about emotion. He elaborated. Using lighting and setting in the setup of a picture is one of the key ways to ensure emotion.
Ryan explained that photography plays a huge role in society because of social media. Instragram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter all use pictures as a way to connect with others on a different level by being able to visualizing their experiences rather than just hearing about it.
We talked about if Ryan found it frustrating as a professional photographer to have to compete with social media ‘amateurs’. He explained that ‘you need a certain skill or talent’ as a photographer. It shows, he said in the quality of picture if there is some lacking. Well thought out pictures, will have a setup and be specifically designed to portray a specific emotion.
‘You can always learn something and if you think you know everything in one area of photography then you can learn something else, there’s so many different aspects of photography’
One of the many things Ryan wished he had known when he started out in photography was ‘that the gear doesn’t matter’. ‘The best camera you have is your best camera’. He is currently shooting with a Cannon T5I.
Ryan has found a way to turn his passion into a career and loves what he does. He never wants to quit and with the open mindset of ‘I can always learn from other people’, Ryan will continue improving as a photographer.
His biggest advice for anyone starting out in the field is to ‘just pay attention to everything,’ and ‘go out and shoot.’ We are often afraid of making mistakes, but Ryan’s ability to continue improving has motivated me to work harder and to try and accept my mistakes.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes in pursuing your passion. They will happen and as long as you use them as learning opportunities, it will all work out.
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