Inspiration For A New Year

Without a doubt 2020 took us all by surprise and on a ride we never anticipated. We’ve learned a lot, especially about our own resiliency as creatives, artists and business owners in an ever-changing world. As we turn the calendar to a new year, we wanted to explore the possibilities that lie on the horizon ahead. So, we asked our OFFBEAT Contributors the same question:

What is inspiring you as you step into 2021?

We also asked each one for a photo that might symbolize that inspiration. Let’s kick it off!


Banff, AB

After a full year of honing my skills locally, I’m inspired to explore the world again, chase remoteness, and document new wild places. I’m also extremely excited to introduce fellow photographers to special parts of the world I’ve fallen in love with.

Paul Zizka
Photo by Paul Zizka.


Long Creek, PEI

What’s inspired me a lot this year is just slowing down and appreciating all that’s around me….even if that means, quite literally, my own backyard. Creativity doesn’t require a plane ticket, or somewhere “epic”. It just requires appreciation for the beauty around you…which can take so many different forms. 

That was a real lesson for me in 2020, in that regard, and I – for one – will carry that into 2021. To slow down. To realize art is “not a race”. And to just keep looking for all that is great and inspiring around me. 

I look forward to the hope and challenges of a New Year.

Photo by Dave Brosha.



Reflecting on this last year and all that came with it inspires me as we move into 2021.  Amongst a year of challenges, limitations, and change gave me a new appreciation for my own ability to adapt and grow, a different way of seeing the world, of experiencing it and photographing it. A better appreciation for what the camera allows me to capture and reassurance in the importance of observing and being present in the moment. Being able to capture a connection with my subject, whether that’s my kids, grandparents, or a landscape, requires fostering that connection, and 2020 taught me there are countless and unexpected ways to do that. My inspiration moving into 2021 is fostering those connections and letting them guide me as I create.

Ashley Soeder
Photo by Ashley Soeder.


Newfoundland & Labrador / Nunavut

As we step into 2021, I am feeling unabashedly optimistic. The past year has been a handful. Much could be said about the trials and pitfalls we’ve faced collectively, and as individuals. But I’ve also seen kindness, determination, gratitude and a real willingness to look within. To take a pause, like it or not, and examine our hopes as well our follies. As we stand in line for another trip around the sun, I am inspired by friends and family, the gift of our outdoor spaces, and our potential to embrace the next set of adventures with laughter and a stronger sense of what is important.

Curtis Jones
Photo by Curtis Jones.


Calgary, AB

The natural world and our connection to it is inspiring me as I step into 2021. This past year has been extremely challenging but what I found so heartening is the joy people were able to find outdoors. It was wonderful to see so many people exploring natural areas close to home, even in their own backyards, and experiencing the enormous benefits, both physically and mentally, to connecting with nature and wildlife. Exploring outdoors can help alleviate stress, can improve mood, and can help remove life’s distractions. As the New Year approaches, I’m inspired to continue to explore wild places and to appreciate the silence and reflection that time in nature provides.

Colleen Gara
Photo by Colleen Gara.


Fredericton, NB

In looking forward to 2021, what is inspiring me is hope and passion. As we all know, 2020 was a different year, filled with restrictions and changes to our everyday lives, as well as to our photography. While I was still creating client work in 2020, I allowed myself the space and break from the pressure of creating outside of that work. I allowed myself the chance to rest a bit and not feel guilty about the lack of personal work I had created. Heading into 2021 after taking a rest, I am feeling hopeful that I will be able to create work that feels meaningful on a personal level again, work that feels fun to create and work that teaches me things about myself and about photography. Work that is inspired solely in creating for the sake of creating. 

Maggie Hood
Photo by Maggie Hood.


Canmore, Alberta

As I move into 2021 I’m inspired by the idea that there is more to the ordinary waiting to be discovered. Prior to this year I might have only got out of bed early for a guaranteed fiery sunrise or thought I had to travel to epic locations to capture the images I wanted. This year has taught me however that there’s so much possibility hiding in the everyday. By appreciating what I have right in front of me, I’ve realised there’s a myriad of potential on my doorstep that doesn’t require a plane ticket or a shiny new camera to appreciate. Finding magic in everyday is what I’ll embrace as I move into 2021. I’ve worked hard to build a lifestyle I love and that will continue to reward me when the world returns to normal but until then, I’ll strive to appreciate everything I do have, including those bad light days. 🙂

Kahli Hindmarsh
Photo by Kahli Hindmarsh.


Charlottetown, PEI

I’m inspired by believing that constantly moving forward is a positive thing. I feel positive about how the world will adjust from what has happened in 2020 and I am motivated with endless ideas that are only limited by time. If there was ever a year to do a reboot and start new, it is 2021.

Stephen DesRoches
Photo by Stephen DesRoches.

In Defence of the Generalists

Words and Images by Dave Brosha

As far as photography terms goes, the word generalist is about as unsexy as it comes. Professional Adventure Photographer: now that’s a label with some real-life “ooh” and “aah” factor. Boudoir Photographer: instant visions of scantily-clad people very comfortable in their skin. Even Industrial Photographer brings visions of football-field size shiny processing plants, being able to wear a safety harness while shooting off some elevated platform or heading into the deeps of the Earth, photographing underground mining with a hard hat and a cap-lamp. That’s some cool photography, right there. Right?

OFFBEAT Contributor Feature: CURTIS JONES

All images by Curtis.

“My favourite images are often created on the edge of discomfort.”

OFFBEAT recently had a chance to catch up with OFFBEAT Contributor, Curtis Jones. Always entertaining and inspiring, Curtis fills us in on his relationship with photography, his tips for beginners, overcoming challenges, how to get out of creative ruts, and more!

The Continual Location Hunt

By Maggie Hood

Choosing a location for a portrait shoot can set the tone and dictate the whole outcome of a shoot. The right location will fit the desired mood, have great light, and create an environment where clients can relax. Few things are more frustrating than shooting in terrible light in a busy spot where subjects are distracted or feeling like they are being watched by bystanders. Discovering locations in your area that fit your style, have great light, and provide a relaxed environment is important for portrait photographers. In my experience, clients generally are open to the photographer’s suggestions on where to shoot and sometimes only give a location style preference (i.e rustic vs modern). Having a small bank of location ideas to share with clients makes it easier and allows you to produce solid, consistent results for your clients.

Look for Clean and Simple

By Dave Brosha

The longer you’re in photography, the more you train your eye to look for clean compositions and the more you think about what NOT to include in your images, rather than what to include. Most of us tend to include way too much in our images when we start photography, with no clear, concise point of interest of the subject.

A challenge you can give yourself in any situation – no matter what genre of photography you love shooting – is to ask, before pressing the shutter: What do I want to express with this image? Is it the emotion? The story? The contrast? Something specifically beautiful or powerful within the scene?

northern lights shimmer through cloudy skies and over a mountain range bordering a frozen lake

OFFBEAT Contributor Feature: Kahli Hindmarsh

We recently had a chance to catch up with OFFBEAT contributor and night, landscape, and adventure photographer, Kahli Hindmarsh, to find out more about her photography business, creative inspiration, and wisdom she’d like to share with new photographers. Originally from Australia, Kahli now resides in Canmore, Alberta, and, naturally, she can usually be found outdoors, exploring and searching for intriguing scenes in interesting light.

two old Volkswagon vans sit abandoned in a forest with the surrounding greenery seemingly swallowing them.

The Ongoing Guide to Getting Unstuck

By Kyle McDougall

For this article today, I figured I’d switch things up a little bit and write about a topic that I’ve become very familiar with throughout my career, and also one that I’m constantly trying to find new solutions for.

That is—how to get unstuck when you’re feeling burnout, lacking creativity, or even just getting bored.

sunset on stretch of beach in Prince Edward Island featuring a lone lighthouse on the point

OFFBEAT Contributor Feature: Stephen DesRoches

OFFBEAT recently had a chance to sit down with OFFBEAT contributor and Prince Edward Islander Stephen DesRoches to pick his brilliant photographer and web designer brain and learn more about his photo journey. Turns out, he is a fountain of knowledge and as down-to-earth as they come…

What are some tips that you would give to a beginner photographer?

Study but don’t compare. Ask questions but don’t copy. Think about why instead of how. Many will learn so much more simply by doing and practicing and we could all spend a little less time wishing we would have created the image we saw on social media. Find a good resource that teaches the basic principles of how the aperture relates to the shutter speed and then go out and create, and then create some more. Ignore the marketing and advertising promising new equipment will make you better and understand that all you really need is the motivation to actually create. Buy only to solve problems that you have self-identified.