For many teenagers, summer vacation usually means sleeping in till noon, hanging out at the beach with friends and, sometimes, getting into a little trouble.
But for South Surrey’s Noah Snell, this summer has been the perfect opportunity to hone his favourite hobby and get his own business off the ground.
An avid photographer for “as long as I can remember,” Snell – who turns 15 this month – has been spending his spare time adding to his growing portfolio, shooting events such as the Tour de Gastown and, more recently, the Tour de White Rock.
After creating his own website, obtaining a vendor’s licence and ordering a variety of prints, Snell has now set up shop at White Rock beach selling aluminum and canvas prints, as well as smaller card-sized photos. The young photog will also be on-hand at East Beach with his work at this weekend’s Spirit of the Sea Festival.
Snell’s mother, Lisa – a professional portrait photographer – said her son first started following in her footsteps at around eight years old.
After a few years of mostly wildlife photography taken with a small ‘point-and-shoot’ camera, Snell saved up for a digital SLR, and from there, his hobby “skyrocketed.”
With no formal training, the Semiahmoo Secondary student said he’s mostly self-taught, and has spent many hours scouring the Internet learning about both the technical and artistic side of photography.
“I’ve learned by looking at other people’s pictures and thinking, ‘what’s right with this, what’s wrong with it and what could I do to improve on it?” Snell said.
In recent years, he’s branched out to start shooting cityscapes, sports and nature.
“I haven’t really narrowed it down to one thing,” he said. “I enjoy all of them.”
The hobby has also been a good opportunity for him to bond with his mother, who said she “loves” sharing a passion for photography with her son.
“We get to enjoy time together, doing something that we both love,” she said. “I’m so proud of him. And he’s been teaching me a lot too, on the technical side of it.”
While Snell has no solid plans for pursuing photography once he’s done high school, he has been delving into the business end of things and learning about marketing his work.
In addition to selling his prints at the beach, he has also set up his website to allow online purchasing, and is booked to shoot at several events around the Lower Mainland.
For now, he plans to spend as much time as possible on his hobby and see where it takes him.
“I’m just gonna keep shooting,” he said. “The more experience, the better.”