Kelsey Goodwin – Canadian Top 30 Wedding Photographer

Kelsey

Kelsey Goodwin 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:

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Tell us how you got started in photography.
Photography was always a hobby of mine, it was just too much fun! It became a serious thing for me when I started working at a one hour photo lab when I was 16.

I learned how to restore and manipulate images in Photoshop, work with people and conduct photo shoots. I can’t tell you how many rolls of film I developed or how many damn passport photos I took in those years!

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Now that you are one of Canada’s top 30 under 30 wedding photographers, what’s next for you?
I used to think that there were these “milestones” in a photographer’s career that meant they had “made it”. I thought that when my work was published in print, it meant that I had made it in this industry, then when that happened it was suddenly only when I had the cover of the magazine that would make me feel successful and so on.

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I realize now that it’s a journey that never reaches a conclusion, and I don’t really want it to, because that means I would have reached a point where I think I know it all and that’s a real shame because that’s where limit begins.

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So, what’s next? I am constantly laying foundations and systems for my business so that will continue to be an area of tweaking and harnessing new technology.

I also want to diversify – build my own bridal guide, trendy bridal expo and partner with a fashion photographer friend to direct and film our own reality/instructional film series.
Traveling is always on the agenda! Next fall, I want to do a 6 month world wide trip.

How has attending photography seminars or photo conventions such as the Canada Photo Convention benefited you as a photographer?
Attending photography seminars and conventions has been invaluable! I learned much more at these events than I ever learned at the professional photography school I attended for 10 months.

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I think the reason for this is the absolute potent injection of inspiration and unfiltered honesty you will find when surrounded with amateurs and professionals alike in the industry.

Early in my career, I became a walking exclamation point at these events, just so excited and optimistic about what photography looked like as a business.

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What does it mean to you personally to be a young wedding photographer in Canada?
To be a Canadian photographer is rarely understood outside of other Canadian photographers. I am absolutely proud to live in this country but it poses challenges that are unique to photographers outside of the United States.

For one, we have a vastly lower population, spread out and largely hugging the border, this means that we have less of a local market to draw from, more travel costs and only a few major cities.

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Also, as close as we are to the U.S, our culture differs in ways that means Canadian photographers have less financial opportunities. Canadians don’t care for bridal or “senior” portraits – a multi million dollar photo industry in the States. Bah Mitzvahs, Quinceaneras, and Sweet 16 events are also not common here.

This makes it difficult to apply “universal” marketing techniques taught at many conventions. Can these traditions be marketed here? Potentially, but that is another venture.

In the commercial and fashion world, most large companies and magazines are based in the States, where you will not be approved for a working visa.

Products and subscription services offered to photographers are largely based in the States, where a U.S currency conversion and any applicable shipping and duty often doubles the price of albums, canvases and other products. Some product vendors don’t ship to Canada at all, meaning additional costs involved with paying for a shipping warehouse over the border and to collect the goods. There is little to no quality vendors for these items in Canada.

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I’m not complaining! I willingly pay for foreign subscriptions and product and I choose to be a photographer in this country, but it’s sure nice to have a focus on Canadian speakers so that we can share what’s actually working for us.

I heard once that “photographers in their 20s want to change the world, photographers in their 30s have an inflated ego and photographers in their 40s want to make money”.
I might be all of the above!

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Tell us about a pinch-me moment that you had where you just couldn’t believe that this became your life.
I quit my serving job May 10th 2010. I was waiting for my bank account to collapse or was worried about someone “catching” me getting away with taking pictures for a living.
I’ve gotten away with it every day since! And everyday I wonder how.

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What’s one thing you would say to another photographer that’s just getting started?
Seek to be humbled. If there’s a magic bullet, that would be it.

To see more of Kelsey’s work, check out her website here.

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