Photo: NIC professional photography graduate Jess Cavanagh lives and works on West Thurlow Island. You can find her photography online at www.jmcphotography.ca.
A new professional photography program at North Island College will give NIC students the skills, experience and portfolio to kick start their professional careers. NIC is now accepting applications into the 10‐month program, which helps students gain technical and business skills to work professionally in less than a year.
“The professional photography world has changed significantly in the last decade,” said Sara Vipond, NIC fine art and design chair. “This program has evolved with the industry. It blends photography fundamentals with studio, location, and lighting techniques, as well as business skills to market yourself as a photographer.”
Karley Bracey came into the program as a beginner and graduated with the confidence and skills to start her own business. She now operates Bracey Photography full time, specializing in weddings and portraits in Tofino and the Comox Valley. “I don’t think I would be doing any of this if it weren’t for the professional photography program at NIC,” she said. “I love what I do and I feel so grateful to be doing it as a career every single day.”
Students will be encouraged to explore different genres by taking courses in editorial and photojournalism, portraiture, advertising and commercial photography as well as landscape and nature photography. Lisa Graham runs Seadance Photography in the Comox Valley, specializing in portraits and underwater photography. She says one of the program’s most useful takeaways was the ability to give and receive useful critiques from instructors and classmates, which developed her critical thinking skills and improved her work. “There are a gazillion different ways you can learn photography online,” she said. “But you won’t get the feedback like you would in class. It really makes a difference.”
Taught by industry experts, students will also learn how to create a portfolio, how to work directly with a client and how to set up and promote a photography business, including video and multi‐media, digital asset management and more. “We know students have come from all over Canada to develop their photography skills with NIC on the West Coast,” said Diane Naugler, NIC’s dean of business and applied studies. “Many of them are still here, living and working in the industry on Vancouver Island. I expect this program will continue to draw creative professionals to Vancouver Island.”