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50 Essential Portrait Photographers: Alex Firmani of Shot in Vancouver Photography

50 Essential Portrait Photographers: Alex Firmani of Shot in Vancouver Photography

Alex Firmani is a documentary photographer. “I enjoy the warm people, changing weather and beautiful light in Vancouver.” Alex studied photography at the University of Florida School of Journalism, where he also worked for newspapers and wire services before finding his current niche. A husband to a labour and delivery nurse (who incidentally pointed him to and dad to a one-year-old boy, Alex also enjoys walking the Vancouver streets looking for interesting characters and slices of life.


Why did you get into photography?

I can’t draw and I’m not coordinated enough with both hands to play an instrument. Photography lets me create something original and lasting.

When I was growing up, my dad would often buy the latest camera and pass his older camera on to one of the kids. I was using a Polaroid at four, shooting film at eight, developing it at twelve, and I was lucky to find a teacher in high school that encouraged my interests in photography and digital media. Being younger than everyone else in school made it tougher to fit in, but I quickly figured out that taking pictures was also a great way to talk to people. I’m never shy when I’m holding a camera.

Tell us a bit about your company.

My company is Shot In Vancouver Photography; it is me, a few cameras, and a few computers. For complex sessions or events, I have a friend and talented photographer, Geno, that helps me out. And I wouldn’t be where I am without my wife, Andrea; she is my biggest fan, my most honest critic, and my compass of good style.

How would you characterize your style of photography?

I’m a traditionally trained photojournalist so my first love is a documentary style — finding the fleeting beauty of life. I am, however, learning to love my formal portraiture as well. Setting up lights and backgrounds and arranging poses isn’t new to me, but it is always a challenge that makes me slow down and think about every frame. Either way, I try to bring a light and humorous slant to my images while keeping a natural, classic look with the processing.

Who are your clients?

New moms, new dads, growing families, and engaged couples that want to remember this time in their lives. I photograph life as one special event after another; from the most important moments like births and weddings to the small things that can make every day meaningful, like a family trip to the beach.

I’m also excited that in the next few months I will be working with St. Paul’s Hospital in their drive to encourage every new mother breastfeed. I’ll be producing a series of black-and-white images for the hospital by photographing a few volunteer moms and newborns in the delivery room as they share those first amazing moments together.

What should your mom clients expect when working with you?

I’m easy-going and never rushed; I look for the natural smiles and emotions that come through when you settle in and forget that I’m there with a camera. I have my favourite spots around the city, but one of the first questions I’ll ask is about locations that are special to you — a beach, a park, or maybe it is simply your home. I want to be somewhere that you feel connected and comfortable. And I’m a goofball when it comes to kids; I have a toddler of my own and a dozen nieces and nephews so I’m full of laughs, songs, and funny sounds to get their giggles and attention.

Shot in Vancouver Photography | Twitter: @shotinvancouver | Facebook

All photos © Alex Firmani.

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