I have many to thank.

During a couple of photography consultations this past week, I was asked why I’m a photographer. This isn’t a question I’m often asked, and I was surprised. Usually my clients and prospective clients don’t inquire about my motivation as part of the reason they should commission me.

I do it for the love of doing it. Seriously. I know it may sound like big cheese, but it’s true. “Compelled” is a good descriptor, too. To me, every image has a story to tell. Especially when photographing people. This is a big part of my motivation.

Let’s state what at first blush may not be obvious: Being a full-time professional photographer is hard work. There’s very long hours, often less than ideal shooting conditions, and a lot of client expectations. There’s never-ending learning, a good lesson on humility. And lots of self-discovery.

And more. You get the idea.

What it’s not about is money; there are many almost-guaranteed ways to earn more and to become rich. For the aspiring photographer, make no doubt about it: there’s a big difference between a hobby-photographer and photographing as a career. But if you love making pictures, the return on the many areas of which you invest of yourself and your business will come. You have to believe. Plan. And pray.

I have much respect for other photographers. When I first contemplated pursuing pro photography, it must’ve been about 8 or 9 years ago. It wasn’t an easy decision. It took me four years to make up my mind. That, coincidently, was almost four years ago. For those that know me, most of the time I make quick but well-thought out decisions. But this was a super-big one.

When I did make the decision, there were a few commercial photographers who generously provided guidance. At the time I thought I wanted to create only corporate and commercial images. But I believe in following my heart and so my love of people and heritage led me to wedding / family photography. So I now create both corporate and wedding photography. And they are two very different types of businesses (which I’ll write about in a future post).

So I’d like to publicly offer some thanks. To Matthew Plexman and Sylvia Verkley. Two wonderful people committed to not just photography but the business of photography in Canada. Matthew is a fantastic advertising / commercial photographer. I was drawn to him because of his work. He has a clean beautiful style. Thank you for your patience, willingness to speak to me and allowing me to hang around the studio.

Thanks also must go to Don Dixon and Leslie Goodwin. Don’s work, to me, are pieces of art. His conceptual style of advertising photography is beautiful. He also really gets my entrepreneurial spirit going. He’s been in this business just as long as Matthew. A very sincere “Thank You”.

To photographer Jim Allen, a special thank you. Jim helped me with my confidence. I was scared as hell at what I was taking on. He pushed me in a very short period of time even further outside my comfort zone. What was once uncomfortable is now comforting.

I also thank photographers Brian Pieters, Nation Wong, and Michael Mahovlich for taking the time to speak with me. Your insights were invaluable in getting my feet off the ground.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Julia Von Flotow. Julia is a career coach, and guided me out of the clouds and haze to a clear thought-process during the very early days. Also, Gabriela Zoltan-Johan of the OSEB – many many thanks.

And to my past and current clients! I’ve enjoyed working with all of my clients. Developing trusting relationships with you is a cornerstone of my photography. I look forward to working together again.

Last but definitely not least, to my family and friends. I know it may have felt I’ve been missing in action, but I think of you often, and look forward to spending more time together.

These past four years have been a whirlwind. Here’s to the next four.

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  • http://www.kaizenlifecoach.com Julia von Flotow

    What a beautiful reflection, Dean. The photos you posted reflect this special ability of yours to shoot from the heart. Recognizing and acknowledging your sources of nourishment and inspiration – the helping hands and hearts along the way and what they contributed to your journey is a fabulous way of creating space and grounding yourself in the present and appreciating all that you have become. Thank you for sharing – so good for the heart! Lovely!

    • admin

      Thanks to all. I’m rather speechless!

      The photography world is ever-changing. I can see how vital it is to stay true to one’s “photo-voice”, and keep that vision as the grounding place to go to when presented with new inspirations, challenges and opportunities.

      Cheers and best wishes. Hope to see you soon.


  • http://www.thebridesproject.com Helen Sweet

    Dean, in the last four years you have delighted many brides, not to mention others who have greatly benefited from your decision! We’ve been lucky enough several times to work with you on Cancer Society pieces, and it’s always a delight. Proof of our appreciation of your work is that beautiful piece that is touring with Cancer Connections (Angelic) adorning our office wall.
    Here’s to your next four years, and many more!

  • http://plexman.com Sylvia Verkley

    You’re most welcome, Dean.
    We have a lot of new photographers ask if they can help out for a day to learn and observe. You can pretty well tell who’s going to figure it out. You took the time to have a lot of conversations with us, and yes, in the beginning there was that glimmer of “did I really make the right decision?” that you refer to.
    However, what was clearly present was the commitment that if you were going to be a photographer, you were going to do it right and uphold the highest standards in all areas of the business. Clearly that has served you well.
    Good on you, Dean! We wish you continued success.

  • http://www.mmphotos.com Michael Mahovlich

    Rock on Dean! I’ll never forget speaking with you and thinking to myself….”great….here’s another guy I’ll end up quoting against….”

    Have you ever considered relocating to Finland? I think there is a shortage of photographers in Finland….

    Michael M