Develop your photography skills in residence

Janessa Morin - 03 May 2021

Picture yourself connecting with tons of people, creating cool artwork and picking up a new hobby—all in a flash. That’s what photography is about to me (and bad puns, but I promise I’m done with those now)! As a little kid I loved playing with disposable cameras, and it’s an interest I maintained all throughout growing up.

I did hit a bit of a roadblock in keeping up the practice when I entered university, though. Luckily I was able to see my hobby through a new lens (okay, now I’m done with the puns) and found a way to regularly practice photography while still working and taking classes.

During my first few weeks living in Kelsey Hall in my first year of school, I found that my camera spent a lot more time on my shelf than actually being put to use. I think part of it was that I was in a completely new city and didn’t have any of my favourite photo spots or subjects around anymore, and partly because I was so busy with BaseCamp, orientation, starting class and whatever else a new university student is thinking about. I think it’s pretty common for people to struggle finding time for hobbies when starting undergrad, so if this happened to you too, you’re definitely not alone.

Once I started bringing my photography interest to my university life though, I found that opportunities really weren’t that hard to find at all! Some may have been elsewhere on campus rather than directly in residence, but nonetheless the opportunities were pretty accessible as a resident. Here’s just a few ways I’ve gotten involved in the photography community in campus and some tips for these different opportunities.


Lister Dodgeball League

The LDL has a team of photographers every year that work hard to immortalize the energy, enthusiasm and love of the game Lister residents put into dodgeball every year. This was my first photography experience in residence and proved to be one of my favourites!


Lister Hall Students’ Association

Starting in 2019, the LHSA hired a Photographer of the Association to capture LHSA events and it’s an absolute blast getting to connect with people during some really neat events. Whether they formally hire someone for the position or not, it’s worth it to check in with your FC or a VP to see if they’re looking for someone to capture events.


UASUevents Media Team

UASUevents is the Student’s Union unit that plans all the big signature campus events (like Campus Cup, AntiFreeze and Week of Welcome) in addition to smaller weekly events. The media team gets the chance to be at the front of the action taking photos and videos at those events!


Conferences and events

Lots of student-run events look for volunteer photographers for their events! If you see an advertisement for volunteers for an event, odds are they’re looking for photographers as well, so it never hurts to read about the opportunity or email the organizers.


Residence Storytellers

This opportunity is for student staff with Residence Services (I’m looking at you, future RAs and Cohort Leaders): The Storyteller team works on creative content in residence, which for me this year included the opportunity for some photo-related projects.


Casual shoots

This one might go without saying, but if you’re itching to get some photos, try asking your friends to do a casual photo shoot with you! The river valley and campus are both great places to go exploring with your camera and can create some beautiful shots for your friends.


Day trips

Okay so maybe this one is a bit of a stretch in terms of the campus community, but I can’t write a blog about photography without mentioning the mountains. If you ever have a chance to drive a few hours to Banff, Jasper or nearby areas, be sure to bring your camera because they provide absolutely stunning backdrops and are essentially every photographer's dream.


At the end of the day, my biggest photography tip is just to do what you like and what you think is interesting! Don’t let what other people think affect you and try lots of different shots. Whether you’re using your iPhone or a DSLR, photos of your time in university will be something you can look back on for years to come, and provide a great hobby to let you channel your inner artist!