Nobody Pinch Me, Just in Case

When I made the decision in the fall to focus my photography on children and families I joined the National Association of Professional Children’s Photographers so I could make sure I was always doing my best to improve. For a while I have known that I’d like to start entering professional competitions because you can pay to have the images critiqued by master photographers, which is an incredible opportunity to learn and improve. I had just missed the competition deadline when I registered for NAPCP so I started putting some of my favourite images as I shot them into a competition folder on my desktop this winter. I knew that I wanted to enter recent images, in order to receive critiques and tips on my latest work so they would be most beneficial.


Last week I had a dream that one of my images placed. I woke up and was a little bit sad that it was just a dream, but mostly I felt silly for thinking that one of my images would be capable of competing with the incredible work of other NAPCP members, many of which are my photography idols. I had entered the competition knowing that there was a possibility, but not getting my hopes up, mostly just excited to have feedback on how to improve my work.


I’ve been told that I have a very confident demeanour…like intimidating confidence even. Actually, the first time I realized I may come across too confident was during my teaching practicums when my mentor teacher told me he didn’t want to teach in front of me because he would disappoint me. I’ve had the blessing of being raised by parents who instilled confidence in me, but the artistic world is full of self doubt. Recently I attended the Canada Photo Convention in Vancouver, and realized it’s certainly not just me. In this room full of hundreds of awe-inspiring artists there was so much negative self-talk! We put our hearts into every image we create, so rejection doesn’t feel like it’s just an image being rejected, its a rejection of the artist and the artists worth. It’s all ridiculous really, and we all know it, but somehow the feelings persist.


So today I was wrangling 3 kindergarteners and my 3 year old as they raced through the obstacle course that is my living room when my phone vibrated. I had a message from one of my idol photographers Dana Pugh (Former NAPCP Photographer of the Year, and also a winner today) congratulating me on my performance in the NAPCP competition. I had no idea what she was talking about an my first instinct was that she must have me confused with someone else, but instantly began to cry anyways; that’s a perfectly natural reaction right? So I snuck away from the kids before they were able to notice the tears and red face. I raced to the website to check out the gallery and not only had one of my photos received merit, but another had placed 1st.  My phone lit up with messages from another idol photographer Jennifer Kapala (NAPCP Photographer of the Year) as I managed to text my husband and message my mom. I stumbled through contacting the families from my two images (I don’t enter model images, only images from actual sessions) and post the announcement to Facebook.


The funny thing is that my clients are so supportive and encouraging that despite my shock, they mostly reacted something like “Oh cool, this doesn’t surprise us at all.” As thankful as I am to receive this incredible recognition for these images, I’m infinitely more thankful for all of you who encourage and support me every day. So thank you so much, for allowing me to do what I love, letting me into your lives, and cheering me on <3

Fort McMurray Photographer Fort McMurray Photographer

But just in case, nobody pinch me!


Oh also a big shout out to Alberta Photographers! Whoop whoop! Alberta consistently has photographers winning and placing in international competitions, and really fosters an amazing artistic community atmosphere.


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