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Becoming a Guelph Neighbourhoods’ Photographer

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Here is how my local Guelph neighbourhood magazine assignments became one of many ways for me to contribute and give back to my terrific community.

Since moving to Guelph in 2016, I have been constantly amazed by what this city has to offer and how it has made us feel. Undoubtedly, we have only had good memories so far. Therefore, I wanted to ensure I helped welcome other families lucky enough to relocate to this amazing “royal city” and feel how we felt.

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Heritage Guelph initiative in Guelph
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Family Photos in Guelph
Family photos for Exhibition Park magazine

How I became an exclusive photographer for two Guelph Neighbourhoods magazines

Besides marrying my wife and having two amazing sons, moving to Guelph is certainly one of the best things to happen to me. Because of my gratitude for this city, I was happy to start giving back to the community in any possible way. However, when we first moved in, I didn’t yet know how! 

What experience did I have to contribute? I knew my photography skills could be an asset. However, I needed a way to use them to benefit the community. Most importantly, I wanted to make my fellow Guelphites feel as amazing as I had when they welcomed my family and me. First, I tried to connect with those in my neighbourhood and organically with the community. It was a slow process, and I couldn’t feel the impact I was having immediately. 

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Horses and people photos
Family Photos from Clair and Gordon Neighbourhood
Exhibition park couples photography
Winter photos of a couples in Guelph
Family photos in fall at Clair and Gordon Neighbourhood

The particular phone call

Then, one day I received an unannounced phone call from a US phone number. The caller inquired if I was interested in taking pictures in two local neighbourhood magazines in exchange for an advertisement spot. I was asked to photograph the featured family or a person for the magazine’s front cover and main story. Once done, I would deliver the images to the team for further work in preparation for the magazine publishing.

Nowadays, with the constant scammers and sleazy workers, it was tough to imagine that this offer was genuine.

After confirming this offer was legit, I began to see the opportunity it held! First, of course, the advertisement spot was exciting. However, the most gratifying aspect was that I would be working with local families, business owners, and people in my community. This project became the opportunity I was looking for to give back to my community. Furthermore, the added bonus was that I had a chance to get to know the neighbourhoods that I was assigned to photograph better.

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The Neighbourhood of Clair and Gordon Magazine

This neighbourhood is located in the south end of Guelph. Because I also live in the south end, it was easy to drive to any photo sessions and 2-5min maximum in any weather or traffic condition. This quick commute felt surreal as I have become accustomed to driving hours when meeting clients. 

First, I was introduced to Shilpa, the magazine content coordinator. She wrote the stories and introduced me to the people featured in the magazine who I would photograph.

I was so excited to work in this area, knowing that many families had just relocated from different parts of the GTA just like we had. 

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Exhibition Park Neighbourhood

The second neighbourhood I was assigned to was the Exhibition Park area. This location is part of old Guelph and has such a unique character that you can see in the houses, the people living there, and their businesses. I was so happy to get to work in and get to know this neighbourhood. Unquestionably, It is truly a unique area and, in a way, “the heart of the city,” as the residents say. 

Most of the people featured in this magazine have close connections with the downtown core of Guelph, which is one of my favourite parts of the city. Some own downtown businesses or work in the area. 

Heather was the content creator that worked with me for this magazine, connecting me to the families and people featured monthly. 

Photography in Guelph for Seniors
Doggy in Fall at Exhibition Park
Front Porch Portrait in Guelph
Photos of Heritage places in Guelph
People and Pets Photography
Seniors Winter photography at Exhibition Park
Portrait of artist at Guelph Neighbourhoods
Top Couples Photographer for Guelph Neighbourhoods
Photo of The Little Theatre director in action
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Fall Portrait in Guelph

What I could bring to the magazines

Indeed, this was a new experience for me! With the story being told by the content creators, I felt less in control of the storytelling aspect of photography. I usually photograph my clients in a way that illustrates our photo session experience. Instead, I just needed to take photos for these sessions to enhance the story already being told. So, again, it was a very new experience!

I accepted the offer and waited to see what the first sessions would look like. I was committed to this project and knew I might need to adjust my usual approach to make the featured family or person feel at ease quickly. 

Ultimately, I knew my 25 years of photography experience was there to back me up.

Couples Portrait with Vintage car in Guelph
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Ukrainian Artist with Traditional shirt in Guelph
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Best Family Photos in Guelph with Frosty the snowman
Photos at Exhibition Park in Fall
John Galt Park Family Photography
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Photos at Riverside Park in Guelph

My role in the Guelph Neighbourhoods Magazines

As usual, I pre-planned the session by envisioning how it might unfold and any challenges we may encounter. I wasn’t about to alter the quality of my work or my performance simply because it was not a paid appointment. 

Above all, these sessions really solidified for me the beauty of giving and not expecting anything in return. I was so happy seeing the smiles on people’s faces. I thoroughly enjoyed their surprise when I took photos beyond their expectations in just a 5-10 minute session.

Genuinely, I treat these sessions as my own and put inside 100% of my effort for this to be successful without looking for a monetary return. 

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Aberfoyle Mill Family Photography
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Return of given back 

These magazine assignments have been excellent photo sessions. I have made some great connections and love seeing happy faces every month during sessions for both neighbourhood magazines. 

Each month the printed stories of our residents are shared by mail with their communities and neighbourhoods.

To make this experience even better for the featured residents, I give each family or person featured in the magazine all published images complimentary so they can further enjoy the beauty of their session. 

The following blog posts will feature individual sessions and my experience with the residents and my community of Guelph. It feels great to become a local photographer and give back in the best possible way I know – through my photography.

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Dragi Andovski

My passion and biggest asset is taking the time to make every client comfortable and relaxed before I even pick up the camera. The result? Photos of you that actually look like you at your best! I can prove to you how much you can enjoy having your picture taken. Lifestyle photography is about the experience that happens to be served up along side of some great photos. Specialties: Family Photography for families that like to move around and enjoy their photo time, Wedding Photography for couples looking for a mixture of photojournalistic, contemporary and traditional images and Professional Corporate headshots that are far from cheesy and stiff.