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Inspired to dream

Oh hi there 🙂

As some of you might know, in 2011 I won the Canon EYE Con Awards ( and part of the amazing price package were 3 mentor days with 3 very different photographers. Yesterday I had my final day with the one and only Chris Sisarich, commercial photographer and judge on NZ’s Next Top Model.

The day started off a little rocky (flight got cancelled and wasn’t told about this and neither was Canon), but after 2 hours of waiting I finally boarded the plane to Auckland. Canon had arranged for me to be picked up and dropped off at Chris’ house for a day filled with inspiration. After lunch with Chris and Maddy from Canon (who has been extremely helpful in organizing all my days!!) Chris and I sat down and got stuck into “business”….

First things we talked about were “Goals & Dreams”. Chris showed me his visual diaries filled with images and scribbles about anything that inspires him.  From other photographers work, to his wife and kids. It was like taking a look inside a genius’ brain haha. We created a mindmap about what I want to do and talked about the importance of setting goals and how to achieve them. It’s so important to dream and believe that you can achieve anything. Make sure to set goals that go beyond what you believe is possible. Don’t ever compromise what you want in life just because you can’t yet see how you will get there. Dream BIG!!

It was so great to see how Chris works when it comes to his dreams and goals, as it is almost identical to what I have been doing these past few years. I also have diaries full of images and written pieces and it was really cool to see someone as great as Chris working the same way.

Next we talked about finding photographers who inspire me and getting into contact with them, trying to be part of their shoots, even if it means carrying their bags, cleaning their shoes or staying up all night to make it easier for them. I asked Chris what he looks for in an assistant and which emails he replies to and which he doesn’t. For him initiative and loyalty play a big part. He said that the assistants that go the extra mile are the ones you want to keep.

We went on to talk about the importance of personal projects (2 a year) and about doing what you love. Try different things but always stay true to who you are. Next up, was building portfolios. Chris showed me his books and explained how he created them and the way he uses them. He believes every photographer should have a new portfolio (book,pdf etc) with their best/current work and re do this every 1 to 2 years. Not just so you can show clients, but also for personal reasons, to see the journey you’ve been on. We also talked about how to use instagram and twitter to your best advantage, which was great as I haven’t been using either of them that much. Will have to get stuck into it!

Getting your name out there was another topic we covered. He gave me examples and explained how he made his name, by entering competitions (globally), creating magazine ads, having exhibitions and much much more. For me this was really helpful and definitely something I want to look into further.

We talked for hours and he gave me so much helpful information, my brain was about to explode! I felt so motivated and inspired afterwards and really excited to start doing what he’s taught me.When we finished he dropped me off at the hotel and I decided to go for a walk through the city (to process everything haha). Auckland is such a cool city and managed to take a couple photos too. Here’s some of them 🙂

Flying over Auckland

The wharf

The Holland America Line coming into the harbor.

Canon arranged for me to stay at the SkyCity Hotel.

Breakfast 🙂



Overall I can’t thank Chris Sisarich, Hannah Johnston and Johannes van Kan (and of course Canon!!!) enough for this amazing opportunity. I have learned so much from all three photographers and am truly grateful for every moment of it and am excited to see what the future brings.


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