This shoot holds a lot of significance for me as the turning point in my style of photography. I’ve been interested in photography ever since I was little, starting out with my moms point and shoot in middle school. I bought my first DSLR in grade 10 and got into Photoshop around the same time. However it wasn’t until this shoot that I discovered my style and voice as a photographer and really let my creativity flow.

This shoot was actually for a magazine project I was working on for school. I convinced my sister to model for me (which she absolutely killed). I wanted the shoot to be moody and dramatic. I love the edgy atmosphere and contrast that neon lights give. So we drove to the city to hunt down some cool lighting.

I still use the same Nikon D5100 that I used in high school, and a 50mm lens. I did minimal photo-retouching, just brought it into Photoshop to brighten it up a bit. I shoot in manual, which I am fairly experienced in, but every now and then I will mess up the settings. Sometimes it turns out horrible, but others it turns out to be cool. Accidents work out sometimes, if not then it’s a good experience for next time.

I got a lot of amazing feedback from this shoot. I think everyone was a bit surprised because it was so different from everything else I had done. I was pretty surprised with myself as well to be honest. This was my first real shoot in portrait photography and I learned a lot about art direction and being comfortable telling a model exactly what to do and how to look. I’m still working on this, but with every shoot I find myself getting more and more comfortable behind the camera.

Tips for aspiring photographers: experiment as much as you can and never be afraid to be creative šŸ™‚

Alex Sawatzky

Graphic Designer, Photographer & Illustrator based outside of Toronto.