Archive for 'Calgary Photographer – Personal'


I was recently invited to be apart of a small group of photographers committed to shooting one concept a month over the course of four months.  We have to post our concepts at the beginning of the month, progress throughout the month and by mid month we have to have an image ready for critique by the group.  If any of you have ever shot a concept, it’s a pretty intense schedule and I have all my planned out as I have found getting the props and locations and models to be half the battle.

This is the second one I have done; I will post the first one at a later date, but I wanted to share this one first. I have titled this one “Master and Commander”, as I drew my visual inspiration from this movie, in terms of setting the time period.  More than anything, I wanted to protray how children effortlessly turn their reality into fantasy through a use of their vivid imaginations.  The tub grounds the picture firmly into reality, but as the child gets deeper into their game, reality fades into imagination.

I would love this picture to serve as personal inspiration never to let go of that child-like wonder and ability to draw from my imagination to make my own reality come true :).

master and commander


I hope you enjoy this new series as much as I have making it:). I would love to be able to offer these types of concept shoots as commissioned portraits, so let me know if you have an interest in them!

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I  am absolutely thrilled to share some news with you this morning!  A few weeks ago, I found out that I placed in the National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) International Image Competition. Yesterday morning I received a lovely press release outlining the Image Competition complete with my images that placed.  I am so thankful to the NAPCP as I have really grown and developed as a photographer because of this association and the friendships I have developed with other photographers. If you are looking for a photography association to join, I would recommend this one – it truly is a special community full of great resources, helpful professionals and awesome staff. My thanks to the judges too for all of their hard work. We only get better as a community when we push ourselves and get constructive feedback from other professionals. Thank you for your time and dedication to the craft. You can read more about the panel here.

And finally thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart to my clients and my family. None of this would be possible with you.

I am humbled and indebted.

press release jkapala-3 copy-1

press release jkapala-3 copy-2

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With gratitude,

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I am over the hundred picture marker in my second 365 project, and have really, really been so excited this time around. Last time, having no idea what to expect, I found it much harder and was “running out of ideas” by this time. Of course I didn’t run out of ideas; they aren’t finite. What I did learn is that with any project, there is a ebb and a tide. As a creative, you have to learn to ride that wave and have faith you will make it through. Even if you “fail”, you have to believe enough in your vision and your path to pick yourself up and get back out there. If you are taking any risks or chances with your work, you are going to fail are – I guarantee it. But you are also going to experience some pretty amazing stuff by getting out there and doing the work. For me, the three most important lessons I’ve learned through all my personal projects are….

3) You’ll Get Bored

Really, really bored. Bored of the same angles. Same set ups. Same light. Same. Same. Same. And thats a really good thing, because then you will want to try different. You’ll push yourself. Different angles, lighting, techniques…anything to start to fight the sameness. I couldn’t see that in my first 365 project.  It was really, really hard work. This time, I know it means I have to push myself more. To get out there, and try new things, even if its hard or risky. Even if I might fail. It doesn’t matter what the project, chances are at some point you’ll feel stagnate and want to try something new.

My subjects for my 365  are of my family and my daily life. I made a decision that subject worked the best for me and set me up the best for success in completing my 365.  It’s “why” I chose to do another, for the memories for my children after they enjoyed the book I made for them after the last one. The challenge is:  how do you shoot the same subjects differently? For me some of the advantages of getting bored are…

You’ll get better at different techniques (freelensing is one of my favourites):

he waited all winter for this


wrinkled sheets (1 of 1)


Be challenged to take on different perspectives:



lake ice (1 of 1)

Maybe you even get in front of the camera:


Why would you want to do any of that? Well, regardless of your niche as a creative, you can bring back what you’ve learned and apply it to anything else. I believe those sorts of lessons are transferrable and for you to take with you on your journey. Pack wisely.

2) Know Your Gear

A really great by product of getting bored on a budget and being committed to personal projects for growth, is that you will get familiar with all of your gear, including stuff you don’t always work with.  Using the same gear in different situations means you will know the imitations, the workarounds and what choice to make in terms of lenses, settings, etc to get what you want. Less time focusing on gear, but on “why” you are taking the picture will help you to get clearer on what you are trying to say. Committing to a personal project allows you to know your gear so well that you are freed from it and its “limitations”, because you realize it’s not about the gear after all….

For me, I have learned to work with the same lens in low light:

still his favourite stuffy (1 of 1)

or with lots of light:

paralell sons_

I dusted it off and worked, and worked and worked with gear I don’t use all the time, but tried to use it differently.

From using my lights differently:


To committing to a personal project using my underwater housing to try to see my subjects differently:


To participating in a group focused on concept shoots and learning to use my editing tools differently to really be able to convey a personal message about bullying:


1) Flow

If there is one thing to take away, this would be it. Working on your craft as an artist means you have ebbs and flows to that creativity and when it flows, it’s magic. It’s hard to explain, but I have found it happens when you push yourself, when you take risks, when you’ve done the hard work of silencing your inner critic and gear is no longer a distracton. When I named one of my personal projects In The Flow, I was trying to capture that “oneness” feeling I get when I am in the water shooting. Its when your vision and your voice is there. I had no idea that this video existed until today, but it really resonated with me. I hope it does the same for you – “How Flow Drives Creative Genius – The Rise of Superman”

Those are my observations about working on personal projects and making the commitment to them and being determined to see them to completion, through all the ebbs and flows.

What projects are you working on and what are your biggest learnings?  I would love to hear from you :)

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It was a very busy end of January for us here!  I went to Whistler for the fabulous National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP)retreat, which I highly recommend if you are looking to invest in your photography. I met up with my sweet friend Barb, who attended all the way from Maui, from Endless Summer Photography (you can see the article she did for NAPCP on vacation photos here – and yes thats my family!), and while I learned a lot, and made new friends (check out the fabulous Mandy from Flow for Photographers and her incredible skills), I was glad to be home and start to prep for the Exposure Photography Festival show I participated in.  More to come in the next blog post on that!

A shout out to Framed on Fifth for their incredible job in framing my prints for the festival – they turned out amazing and I couldn’t be happier!

Here is what my favs from Week 5 looked like…

Week 5




And Week 6…

Fianl Week 6


Looking forward to getting caught up soon!

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It’s been a busy busy February here as I participated in the Exposure Photography Festival, which I will be blogging about soon,  and I haven’t been active much on the blog!  I decided to try to get caught up a little on my 365 project (which I am still doing!!) and post week 3 and 4 (finally!).  Here is a little of what our January looked like…

Week 3

Week 3


Week 4




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