Community Comment- What got you started in photography?

July 4, 2014


I know that sometimes it seems like everyone and their dog was born with a camera in their hand and 5,000 likes on their Facebook fan page- but usually when you're getting started in this business it doesn't happen that way. I polled the Showiteer community to find out how a few of our Showiteers got started in this career, and when they knew that photography was what they wanted to do. Let's meet them!

How did you get started in photography? When did you know that was what you wanted to do?

Ryan Shephard: My Dad died. Step-Mom set fire to all of our pictures from when we were kids; scrapbooks, everything. After my wife took the knives away I was going to use like Dexter, I asked her for a camera to photograph my son after he was born. She agreed. Life is good and I now have two sons and shoot rockstar brides who have rockstar grooms. Tragedy can turn into something amazing. #proof
Visit Ryan's Facebook Page here!



Lanye Bush: I had my ah-ha moment at my first wedding! Even though it was still an hour until dusk it was super dark in the reception room and I was determined to take a photo of the couple's signature drink, a bright teal Sea Breeze. instead of moving the cocktails to a more well lit area and losing the atmosphere of the room, I arranged a bunch of tea lights behind them so that they were glowing. When I saw that shot I just had this ‘whoa' moment where I realized that, after years of feeling like my only ‘talent' was being book smart, I might actually have a natural knack for something creative. Probably why I LOVE shooting details so much now.
Visit Lanye's Facebook Page here!
L. Michelle Images



Melisa Draper: My Grandma (who I was very close to) was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2006 it was terminal. I knew that the only memories we would have were the photos we took. I carried a camera with me and left one in her hospital room for the remaining 5 months of her life. Those photos are our memories! Fast forward to last year my Dad was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gherig's Disease) immediately we set up a appointment to get family photos taken, he passed away quicker then we thought…. 2 weeks later he had passed Photos mean the world to me and I cherish everyone I have. Photography was always something I was interested in but it wasn't until I lost my Grandma I realized how much I really loved photography. I want to make sure others have the photo memories I have.
Visit Melisa's Facebook Page here!
Melisa Draper Photography



Stephanie Arieno: I bought a Rebel off a friend because I loved the idea of capturing the world the way I saw it. I took one picture of my bobble-head Boba Fett on my work desk, annnnnd…..started shooting everything I could. I just knew. It fit my hands perfectly, and my soul just clicked with it. And I refuse to pardon the pun.
Visit Stephanie's Facebook Page here!



Jeremy Ellsworth: Wait, I'm supposed to want to do this?
**We're on to you, Ellsworth- we know you're the most joyful cat around.**
Visit Jeremy's Facebook Page here!
Jeremy Ellsworth Photography

I got started in photography in a roundabout sort of way- I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar… Ok- so it wasn't a cocktail bar- it was a Montana's rib joint in Kelowna BC. I was making some pretty poor life choices, and finally I hit my breaking point and called my mom.”Mom,” I said, “I can't do this anymore. You know me better than anyone else. If you could pick one thing for me to do with my life, what would it be?””I've been waiting my whole life for you to ask me that question!” she said. “I think you should be a photojournalist. You're great at writing, you love to travel, and you're artistic- you could work for National Geographic!!”

I thought about it for nearly four seconds before I decided that National Geographic would be the coolest job ever. The only problem was, in order for me to take schooling for this newly chosen career I would have to move to Calgary, AB, which was one of two places I had sworn I would never live.

“Pray about it,” my mom sagely advised. I said I would- and promptly went to a house party.

On my way home at around 3:00am, I realized that I was desperately unhappy. My friend was following me home in her car, and as we drove to my place I hit my emotional rock bottom.

“God, if I'm supposed to do this, I will,” I said through tears in my VW Jetta. “Give me a sign and I will drop my whole life in Kelowna, move to Calgary, and chase this with my whole heart.”

We rounded the corner to my house, and the ENTIRE street was covered in National Geographic magazine. I had to drive over them with my car to get home, and the last magazine was at the foot of my driveway. It was the craziest thing I'd ever experienced. I stepped from my car, and my friend stumbled up beside me and said, “DUDE- I thought you lived in a nice neighborhood, but there's **** all over the road!”

“I'm moving,” I said.

“Right NOW?!” She stared at me in disbelief. “Ok then, I'll help you pack.”

I applied for a photojournalism program at SAIT the next day- after the deadline. I was accepted into the program because they had had a cancellation the same day. The writing in the program came easily, and so in my second year I majored in photography for the challenge.

Nine years later- here I am, still chasing that dream with my whole heart. I am so blessed to work with women from all walks of life, inspiring confidence and playing fairy godmother. We as photographers are so blessed to be able to GET PAID to do what we love, and to be a blessing to so many. It rocks!

How did you get started? I would LOVE to hear your stories!!