Thinking Beyond a Snapshot: 12 Key Components to Consider

By Kahli Hindmarsh

When I first started to take photos, one of my biggest hurdles I faced was figuring out how to take what was in front of my camera and turn it into a compelling image.

That should be the easy part, right? Find an interesting subject, point your camera, press the shutter and boom! Not quite… I was visiting these amazing places, but when I looked at my images, all I saw was “tourist” style snapshots. They lacked meaning and interest. They were cluttered and messy. They didn’t tell a story.

I had everything I needed:
→ Camera
→ Breathtaking view
→ Amazing light

But, still, my photos sucked.

The Role of Discomfort in Photography

I have long been convinced that putting up with momentary discomfort – even misery – can often lead to more compelling images.

Many times, finding a better composition can be achieved by taking the shoes off and shocking the feet for a second, or bushwhacking for a couple of minutes, or walking uphill for 50 metres. The vast majority of photographers can physically accomplish those things, but they shy away from getting out of their comfort zone for a moment. And I believe that going that extra mile is what makes the difference between a good image and a powerful one, and by extension, between a good photographer and a much better one.

Discomfort is very underrated in photography. I bet it’s one of the main limiting factors for a lot of people, whether they’re aware of it or not.

Finding Opportunity in Creative Ruts

By Elizabeth Gadd 

Creative ruts.

We all experience them. (If you don’t… you’re probably not human and I need to know your secret. Seriously.)

Some ruts last only a few days. Some are much longer and more intense. I often experience a 2-3 month hiatus in my work every year, usually during the late winter to early spring months. I suppose it makes sense in a way, when everything’s dark and rainy (in Vancouver, at least) for days on end. It can easily affect one’s mood, which can bleed into the creative process as well. With 90% of my work being self-portraits, it can be a rather draining process to get in front of the camera when I’m especially feeling down and out of sorts (also, changing outfits and modeling in the cold rain and snow gets a little wearisome at times!). This being said, every time I HAVE pushed myself to get out there and create (even if I end up hating the photos), in all honesty I’ve never regretted trying – not once. I have to remind myself of this often.

Celebrating One Year + Wild Places e-Book

Words by Stephen DesRoches
Feature image by Paul Zizka

My introduction to OFFBEAT began in a hotel room in Whitehorse, Yukon, after a workshop in Kluane National Park and Reserve. It was from this hotel room that Dave Brosha and Paul Zizka launched and announced the first version of the OFFBEAT website to the world – the beginnings of a community of photographers geared towards pushing each other further.

Fast forward six months and I’m again in a hotel room with Dave and Paul, this time in Greenland, and furiously typing away to launch and announce a workshop in a remote part of Newfoundland and Labrador.

From Yukon to Greenland and everything in between, I’ve watched OFFBEAT come to life, growing to a membership of 300 and nine regular contributors writing weekly articles. Now is a good time to look back and celebrate our first year anniversary.


Download our free e-Book, Wild Places, to gain access to some lessons and tutorials from our OFFBEAT contributors, and see some of the work produced by our workshop participants in the Yukon, Banff, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

One of my own favourite aspects of OFFBEAT is how participants and instructors continue the friendship and discussions in our private Facebook groups well after a workshop has ended.

These Facebook groups are used to share our favourite images, and this e-Book is a collection of just that: a compilation of images individually selected and submitted by participants from four different OFFBEAT workshops.

This first issue of Wild Places is also a preview of some of our weekly articles authored by each of the nine regular contributors. Thank you to everyone who continues to make OFFBEAT a better place.

Find out more and learn about joining the OFFBEAT Community! We hope to see you there!



Stephen DesRoches is a contributor at OFFBEAT

No Dress Rehearsal

I’m a huge music buff and one of my favourite bands is a band that is no stranger to Canadians: The Tragically Hip. The Tragically Hip have many brilliant songs with many brilliant lyrics, but one of my favourite lyrics from the song “Ahead By A Century” has this little lyrical gem:

“No dress rehearsal, this is our life.”

The sentiment of this line – that you only live once, so make the bloody most of it – is what drives me not only as an artist but as a human being as well.

10 Tips for Taking Photos from Airplanes

In our OFFBEAT Community, we post a variety of content – from educational resources for all genres of photography, to tips, opportunities for critique, and photo challenges for our members. This is just a sample from our content that usually gets posted ‘behind the scenes’ in our private online community. Curious about joining? Check out all the details and benefits here.

I have no doubt that a lot of us will fly this year, and most of the time it’ll be on a plane, going from A to B, rather than on a pricey heli-tour. While a bird’s-eye view provides interesting photographic opportunities, if you have ever tried to take photos from a plane you’ll know that an in-flight photo session can be quite challenging.

Journey Through the Torngat Mountains

OFFBEAT Co-founder, Paul Zizka, recently posted a gallery of images from the Torngat Mountains. We’re thrilled to be taking a crew of enthusiastic photographers to this incredible region of Eastern Canada next year! Bring on the wild landscape and photographic potential.



Paul Zizka Photography

The Torngats.

The name alone evokes a sense of mystery. Tucked into one of the most remote parts of Canada lies one of the last frontiers for landscape photographers and explorers alike: the Torngat Mountains. The area is an incredibly wild mix that fires up the imagination: Norway-like fjords, glacier remnants (and the associated turquoise lakes), a healthy polar bear population, jagged icebergs freshly arrived from Greenland, aurora-filled skies, cultural treasures, archeological gems, rich marine life, and some of the highest, most rugged peaks in all of Eastern Canada.

"Forgotten World" Of all the images I have posted from the Torngat Mountains National Park so far, this aerial view of the Southwest Arm is probably the one that is most representative of what the place is like. Part Norway, part Canadian Rockies, part Nunavut, yet unlike anywhere else I have gone before. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography. “Forgotten World” Of all the images I have posted from the Torngat Mountains National Park, this aerial view of the Southwest Arm is probably the one that is most representative of what the place is like. Part Norway, part Canadian Rockies, part Nunavut, yet unlike anywhere else I have gone before. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Best of all, all that incredible wilderness is…

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