Our congratulations go out to Shellaine Ulmer who is the first recipient of our diploma in Portrait Photography. To be eligible for the portrait diploma, Shellaine completed seven different classes and then honed her craft until the point where she was comfortable submitting a portfolio of 20+ photographs that she felt would meet our standards.
Shellaine started her training with us in February of 2013 and completed her last class at the beginning of May. Since that time, she’s been refining her skills. At the end of October, she submitted her portfolio in an attempt to qualify for her diploma. We were thrilled with the work that Shellaine is producing and are proud to have her as our first graduate.
Following is a short interview that we conducted with Shellaine:
Question: Tell us about a bit about your background.
Answer: I graduated with an education degree in 2008, married my wonderful husband, taught elementary school for a couple years, and then had my son, which led me to buy my first DSLR camera, which I have not been able to put down since. In addition, because I fell so much in love with photography, I figured what better thing to do then to take my passion to a new level and create a profit at the same time. I have always loved dance, music and art, and am always expressing my creativity through some sort of avenue or another. I like to be crazy busy, but also like to just check out every now and then, especially when I am travelling (but trust me, my camera is still on my hip!)
Question: What got you interested in photography?
Answer: I always liked to snap photos with a point and shoot camera; however, it was not until I had my son that I really became interested in photography. I had purchased my first DSLR camera, and was frustrated that my photos were not looking like the professional ones that I had done in the past. I did some research and found that if I wanted to get the look of a professional photographer, it was less in the camera and more in all of the other components: lighting being a key as well as getting myself off shooting in automatic mode, and onto manual exposure.
Question: What sort of options did you research in terms of a photography education?
Answer: I began my search online, I knew that I wanted something that was all encompassing, and did not want to take a course here and there. Rather, I wanted to make sure that, like my university degree, I was going to finish my training feeling ready and capable of capturing exactly the type of images I wanted.
Question: Why did you choose the BSOP for your photography education?
Answer: Firstly, the small class sizes. I like having the option of some one on one time if needed. Then, I really appreciated that I could do evening and weekend courses to complete a diploma.
Question: Which of the BSOP classes was your favourite?
Answer: I learned valuable information from every course, but at the top of my list would be Available Light as well as Off Camera Flash. Following closely behind would be the Lightroom course.
Question: How did you find the instructors at the BSOP?
Answer: I enjoyed all of my instructors; they each had such valuable information to bring to the courses. I also appreciated how they shared their own work at the beginning of the class; we were able to get a good insight on the type of art that they produce.
Question: What are you doing now that you finished your training at the BSOP?
Answer: Prior to beginning my courses at Burwell, I had envisioned myself doing wedding photography. The thrill of capturing all of the special moments of the big day was what I had intended would drive my photography business. However, during my schooling at the BSOP, I did a few newborn photography sessions for close family and friends. I loved it. I am absolutely hooked by it. So, now I have began my photography journey specializing in maternity, newborn and family photography. I am currently working out of a studio in Sweet Momma Spa in St. Albert with another photographer and absolutely love it.
Question: What do you have to say to any other potential students about choosing the BSOP for their photography education?
Answer: Personally, I highly recommend it, I wasted a lot of money on an online program because I am a hands on learner and need to be in a classroom setting where I can have someone show me exactly what they are teaching, as well as allow me to practice with positive feedback until I get the concept down.
If you’re interested in seeing more of Shellaine’s work or contacting her to contract her services, please visit her web site at photosbyshellaine.com.