A look at the future of photography with Ryan Marshall

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“I want to work with people who just want to have pictures of themselves that they can be proud of and enjoy”

“Jobs of the Future” is a series focusing on career paths, local employment opportunities, programs and success stories that highlight North Bay’s diverse job market.

Social media has changed and influenced many aspects of our daily lives, including the number of people who do their jobs. North Bay photographer Ryan Marshall said one of the most dramatic changes caused by social media is in the photography industry.

“Social media actually created a generation of clients who want to look so important that they had to bring in a photographer and capture what they were doing,” he says.

Marshall sees it as an evolution of the genre through the generations.

“People who are from an older generation, when they put themselves in front of the camera, they always smile and look directly at the camera because that’s what they’ve been taught. The younger ones don’t even look at the camera. camera, they just want you to take a picture while they ‘do their thing’, ”says Marshall.

“Sometimes it looks awesome and social media has brought that trend to where you’re trying to make it look like you were right there in the moment.”

And he says this trend can be a very profitable market for photographers to capitalize on. He says, “Social media created this idea where people have to look awesome all the time, and that in turn gave photographs a bounty for making that happen for people.”

But he says the trend is really not his niche

“I want to work with people who just want to have pictures of themselves that they can be proud of and appreciate,” he says.

“I’ve been doing this for about a decade and last year I took a big step forward by photographing my 100th wedding. Whenever you can reach such a number, you can feel quite accomplished.

Marshall says he loves the thrill and excitement that comes with photography on wedding day.

“Not everyone can do them,” he says.

“I really like the challenge of going through a wedding day because you really have a chance at everything. I just have to take the course of whatever is going on. If the dad of the bride takes her down the aisle, I can’t shout “okay everyone, can we stop for a second, I need to take this pic here!” I just have to do my best to get this shot. First kiss, first dance, there are so many times in this day that you need to be aware of and now how you are going to tackle this.

Marshall says you get a list of the photos clients want, but outside of that there are so many times during this day that aren’t planned and that capture people in candid situations, “turn out to be one of the best things “.

“I really love the human experience and that’s what’s really cool about weddings too, you hear all of these stories and you get a real window into the lives of these people, that authentic glimpse into what the people, ”says Marshall. , who adds that this is one of the reasons he was drawn to photography in the first place.

“I have always had a fascination with art and human nature and photography has given me this link where you can capture the human experience. I just thought if I can be good at it it could be a profitable business venture that just felt natural. I didn’t go to photography school, I did a mentorship program with Shawn Moreton that allowed me to help him do weddings where I was in charge of lighting and that sort of thing. implementation.

And from there, he’s now photographed 100 weddings on his own, some at destination.

“One in Mexico, one in the Florida Keys, and there was an opportunity for me to have a wedding in Australia for a high school friend who lives there,” he says.

“One of the really cool things about being a photographer is that there can be travel and you can go to places and see places you never thought you would reach.”

Marshall says no matter how much you’ve done, you should always be prepared for any situation that could throw all that planning out the window.

“I had a wedding last June and the wedding party said they wanted their photos on display at Nipissing University Monastery. Well the black flies up there are a real thing and immediately when we went there the ladies dresses just got covered and they got bitten and it was so bad we had to move ”, explains Marshall.

“All of a sudden it was like ‘Okay Ryan, where are we going?’ and this is where you just need to have something in your back pocket and have a general idea of ​​the best places to take pictures in the area you are working in.

Marshall says that aside from weddings, family portraits and other shots, his biggest achievement is getting the photographer’s job for the upcoming North Bay Firefighters Calendar 2022, in support of community integration.

“What a great thing to be a part of,” says Marshall.

“Anytime you can partner with a charity and do something like that, it’s really worth it. It’s really a win-win for me because they are going to print 3,000 copies of this calendar that will carry my name, but they are fundraising for such an amazing cause.

And it’s a cause that is close to Marshall’s heart.

“Because of my full-time role as an educator, I work a lot with struggling students coming out of high school and relying on community living for their next steps in life,” he says.

“So, in addition to showing my portfolio, I think what separated me from the others is knowing community integration and what their organization does and the fact that I am very invested in seeing these young people succeed. when they left high school. and knowing how much this timeline is going to help fundraising, it all felt really natural. “

Marshall says he had to compete with seven other photographers in an interview process and initially missed the interview deadline.

“Somehow the email was missed,” he says.

“I finally saw it and responded right after the deadline saying I was interested if they hadn’t made a decision yet. They had a last minute spot for an interview and they said they had already picked the person but were interested in what I should bring to the table. So I walked in, and I guess I was having a great day and I was swinging at everything and it was connected and they said you really impressed us during the interview and we decided to change and I got the job.

Marshall says it was a process that couldn’t have happened without North Bay firefighter Brian Samson.

“I called him the ‘creative director of the photographer’ because he set up all the sets and took us around all the places and set all the schedules for the models,” says Marshall.

“He was so organized and every shoot was so well organized. We did one at Gateway City Brewing, we went to Canadore Aviation Campus, we did Chippewa Creek. It was quite laborious for everyone. Just the journey these guys take just to be in the shape they’re in and the demands on themselves is awesome, I mean they look like superheroes.

Marshall says he has hired interns in the past, but the main advice he gives to people who want to become photographers in the future is to market themselves on social media.

“It’s a very competitive market because your office space is more or less free and anyone can become a ‘photographer’ because you don’t have to go to school or get a degree to do that. . It’s just about getting your reps and making it work for yourself, but my advice is you really have to be so ubiquitous on social media.

If you have a story idea for the Jobs of the Future series, email Matt at [email protected]

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