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How would you describe your personal style?

I am a light chaser, and a storyteller. I love capturing “real” moments, raw emotion and movement. I am passionate about capturing the magic and joy of childhood. I am drawn to capturing details, shadows, lines, dramatic and interesting light. I also enjoy encompassing nature. Photography is my artistic outlet and food for my soul.

What first sparked your interest in photography?

My journey into photography began after losing our home in a devastating wildfire in May 2016. Prior to the fire, I would book family photo sessions with local photographers. I always loved having these memories to hang on my walls. After losing all of these precious memories, I started getting more family pictures done to try to replace the ones I had lost. The cost was starting to become a burden, and the void I felt from not being able to recreate all the images I envisioned began to weigh on me. My husband had an entry level DSLR, and suggested that I try to learn how to take the photographs I saw in my mind’s eye.
In September of 2017 I finally decided I was going to learn how to use the camera. The camera sat on my chest like a necklace, I brought it everywhere. I devoted myself to learning the ins and outs of manual mode, throwing auto to the wind. I enrolled in many online courses to assist my education, while developing my natural eye for composition and lighting. As I progressed, I began to freely shoot friends and family, and eventually strangers, in a further attempt to grow as an artist.

What caused the most growth for you as a photographer?

Carrying my camera everywhere! Even when I didn’t want to, and felt like smashing it into a million little pieces, I would make sure it was close at hand. You never know when, or where you will see a perfect moment, or perfect pocket of light just waiting to be captured. Studying light and shadows, and taking risks in areas of the craft that intimidated me. For example, I was terrified of low light situations, assuming I would be terrible at it. After having a course essentially force me to try low light photography, I find it has become one of my favourite types of lighting situations to capture moments in.

How are you using your photography now?

A year into this journey I came to the realization that the traditional style of portraiture that most people expect from photographers is not for me. I feel compelled toward a more artistic and creative view, and feel like my perfect models are my own family. Between juggling a full time job as a teacher, and the demands of parenthood, I have decided that for now, my learning and growth would be more appropriately spent on my own personal photographs.

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

Don’t compare your work to other photographers’. We are all at different stages in our photography journey. Rather than comparing, use the talent of others as inspiration to grow. Make sure your camera is another appendage; attached to you at all times. Practice what you know, in order to improve, but also try new things as often as possible. I have recently tried Macro photography and absolutely love it.

You can view more of Melissa’s beautiful work on her Website and Instagram

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