Made by Ten is a portrait and fashion photographer that brings out every woman’s beauty, elegance, sensuality, and confidence. Photography services are also available for commercial work such as fashion brands and blogs. Made by Ten delivers a relaxed, personal experience and is based in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in Ontario, Canada.
1. Tell me about your journey from engineering to photography.
I was on the road to becoming a professional engineer which takes 48 months of experience. After reading Entrepreneur Revolution by, Daniel Priestly, I came to the realization that I could do something different with the rest of my life. I knew I wanted to make a difference in my life and the life of others. I couldn't see that with my work in engineering. I decided to make photography my profession because it was the thing I liked most at the time and the barriers to entry are relatively low. In a way it was a very logical decision and even though the only people I had taken photos of were family before the decision, I took the determined leap.
2. What's the meaning behind your business name?
Made by Ten came to mind while brainstorming for another business. From the moment I came up with it, I knew I would use it for some other purpose. So the name actually came even before the thought of a photography business. The name is derived from having ten fingers. In a sense, I'm saying “made by hand”. That's what I feel like this is to me. Every image is created by me and the feeling of putting my heart and soul into the work that I do.
3. Do you find that your engineering background helps with your artistic work?
Having an engineering background means I think and see in different ways and it helps me problem solve. However, I don't think I can separate the person I am between being analytic and artistic. They are intertwined in who I am and my point of view.
4. What is a typical day like for you?
I'm not sure I can outline a typical day since my work is diverse and based on the specific needs of each of my clients, but I can give a glimpse into my general workflow. Whether for a creative portrait, commercial fashion campaign, engagement, wedding, or small business website content I start off by learning about my client. Most of the time I get the opportunity to really talk to them about the purpose of hiring me and what it is I can do for them. This is usually done through email, phone, and in-person meetings. We figure out the end results we're going to pursue and then I come in to take the shots. Sessions can be anywhere from half an hour to an entire day. Then comes the editing phase which can take anywhere from the same length of time as the actual photography to double or triple that. Once edits are done I typically deliver them through an online download. Otherwise, my days are spent looking for clients, sketching ideas, updating the website blog, and working on other business tasks.
5. Who or what inspires you?
I know the cliché thing would be to say that everything and everyone inspires me. Luckily that isn't how I feel. There are definitely people and their works that I admire and subliminally they probably influence my work. In fashion photography, a mood board which pulls example images and descriptions is used to outline the direction of a shoot. As I have become more and more comfortable with my work, I've found that I don't like making them. I feel like they confine me and I don't like seeing things that can influence my results because I want what I create to be a sincere representation of me. I guess I skirted around the question, but there isn't really anything visual that I particularly look to inspire me. On the other hand, reading books and watching presentations inspire me to continue working at my craft. From Sue Bryce to Youngme Moon.
Otherwise, I just like to use what I have available, experiment and take chances, and be open to making mistakes. As an example, I found a large crystal at Indigo/Chapters one day while shopping with my wife. She asked what I was going to do with it and I told her I didn't really know, but it just looked so cool there was no way I wouldn't be able to use it for something. My mother in law had given us a pile of Style at Home magazines not long before and I eventually sketched up the idea of using them together. During the shoot, I was lucky to have a model who was open to whatever crazy idea I had using the crystal. Being able to surprise myself and always striving to grow inspires me.
6. Do you think that anyone can be a model?
Only in the sense that anyone can be a photographer. Anyone can be anything they want to be, but it doesn't necessarily mean they'll be successful. Anyone can take a photo just like anyone can stand in front of a camera and anyone can decide to make their living as a photographer just like anyone can decide to do the same as a model.
If the question is if anyone can be a commercial model, then that's something that markets dictate and so my answer is no. Like any profession, modelling is most suitable for those with specific characteristics; not withstanding being attractive. As an example, Jewelz (pictured below) isn't your typical model, but she works hard to be one and so she is.
If you'd asked if I think anyone can look or feel like a model then my answer is, without hesitation, yes!
7. What's your dream art/photography project?
My dream project would be to travel the world with a group of artists (models, hair and makeup, stylists, etc.) and make beautiful, out-of-the-box images in locations never before shot in. I'm talking about the locations that you have to get off the trail to find; ones where you have to slide down a hill, wade hip-deep in mud, or slip through a dark crevice just to reach. I'd want each shoot to be relatively unplanned, with each of us providing our own individuality to make something as naturally as possible.
8. What's the biggest creative risk you've taken so far?
That's a very good question. In general, I don't really see creative risks because I don't see a negative impact in doing something wrong. Especially in photography where it costs nothing to take more photos and they can also be easily corrected. I will say that a creative risk that I thankfully didn't take was to follow the same style as photographers I admire. It's easy to see someone else's success and think that mimicking them will lead to the same path. However, in those very words, you recognize that you're actually following in someone else's path and not your own. That's the biggest risk I thankfully didn't take.
9. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists/creative?
The world is full of us. Even if you're similar, you're just a little bit different than everyone else. Focus on what makes you different and don't worry about the rest. If you want to turn your creativity into a business, then you'll have to spend time and effort into that. Great work doesn't guarantee great financial success.
10. What's next for you?
Honestly, surviving and getting more known. Profit can be a dirty word, but without it, I can't continue to do what I love most which is helping women look and feel their best. Whether they have issues with confidence, don't like their appearance, or have something they need help expressing I know how to do that with my photography. It's endearing that they trust my creativity. Making a positive difference in their lives makes my life better and I'll strive to help as many of them as I can.