Colleen Niska is one of our Top 30 under 30 featured photographers.
Here’s a little bit more about her, what she does, and some of her best advice:
Tell us how you got started in photography.
When I was 16 I started working for a photographer and I fell in love with the business. After I graduated high school, I attended the Applied Photography program at SIAST in Regina, SK. Two years later when I graduated with my diploma, I started my own business. I had to build up my clientele before I could just run my own business full time to support myself so I also bar-tended in the evenings but before I knew it I was too busy shooting, editing and meeting with clients to hold two jobs. So at the age of 23, I was running my own business as my full time job.
Now that you are one of Canada’s top 30 under 30 wedding photographers, what’s next for you?
What’s next for me is deciding what’s next. I need to take some time and figure out what I am going to do with all the information I have learned in the past years. Sometimes I feel happiest when I have no plan at all, so I feel like wondering aimlessly right now and seeing what new opportunities and adventures come my way.
How has attending photography seminars or photo conventions such as the Canada Photo Convention benefited you as a photographer?
As a photographer you are always learning and growing and who best to learn from than your peers. Having other photographers to contact and ask for help means a lot. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
What does it mean to you personally to be a young wedding photographer in Canada?
I feel like all those weekends I spent working and ridiculously long nights editing are paying off! I am so glad I got into this business when I was young and naive. The thought of failing wasn’t even an option that crossed my mind. I feel pretty blessed to get to do a job I love so it’s icing on top of the cake to get recognized for it.
Tell us about a pinch-me moment that you had where you just couldn’t believe that this became your life.
My “pinch me” moment came this past summer when I posted wedding pictures on my Facebook page that went viral. I am not really a social media type so when I was told I was going viral, the words “what does that even mean?” were going through my head. I thought having the local media wanting the story was pretty great until the crazy amount of media from all over the world were trying to contact me. Having my pictures on Good Morning America, Today Show, CNN and countless blogs, was pretty surreal experience. But it was the kindness of people who went out of their way to send me messages to say they were inspired, that they loved my work, or just to congratulate me, that has stuck with me. “You are every amateur photographers dream and every professionals nightmare” was a pretty heartwarming quote from a fan.
What’s one thing you would say to another photographer that’s just getting started?
The only photographer you should compare yourself to, is the one you use to be. Words I often have to remind myself of. Sometimes I look at other photographers work and think I’m not up to par or get discouraged. I have to remember that I will always be learning and improving and that when I do look back on my work from even just a year ago I can see how much I have improved.
To see more of Colleen’s work, check out her website here.