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Aliana

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|| Photographer ||

Aliana

For me, or any other visual artist, if you have an idea of what you want and you go looking for it, it’s never going to be the way you want it. You have to personally take the reins and do it yourself. It’s about not losing the passion, but being smart business wise. You can’t have it all, but you can still do as much as you can to keep learning. I’m still young, still learning.

— Aliana

What does a typical day look like for you?

Right now i’m nannying three days a week. I get to hang out with the sweetest little girl. Wednesdays and Thursdays I’m either taking photos, participating in a dance class, yoga class or just walking around the city; work, play, live in Toronto. That’s the best way to do it if you live here.

Creative projects are amazing, but every creative project I’ve ever done has never made me any money and has cost me in time. For example, you have to invest in renting a camera and spend time editing the photos… I’m just taking a break from that now and carving out a way to use my photography skills for profit.

Everyday I want to have my dream day. If I wake up in the morning and enjoy every moment, then that qualifies as a dream day for me.

Is there a place you feel connected to in Toronto?

I’m at Dupont and Ossington; it’s a pretty lively area. The Danforth is amazing in terms of the quality of housing as well as the convenience. It has everything you could ever imagine between Broadview station and Pape.

I work at Yonge and Lawrence, yesterday I did a photoshoot at St. Lawrence market, I go to Kensington all the time just to grab food or kick it. Same with Queen West. If you have the opportunity to explore an area of Toronto, take it. All of the old side streets too. There’s tons of original old school neighbourhoods. The Beaches is another hidden gem. You can take the Queen streetcar all the way across to the east end. I used to work down there around Queen and Kippendavie. It has all these cute little shops.

I like anything that is not around the ACC and CN Tower. It’s crazy busy and filled with obnoxious sports fans. If you’re going to a Jay’s game, you’re either really drunk or miserable.

If you don’t know what to do, you can do anything here. You just have to find something and try it out.

Did you grow up in Toronto?

I went to Sheridan College in Oakville for ECE and graduated in 2013. I was teaching in Oakville for a year and wanted to move. Where else to go but Toronto? Everyone lives in Toronto. All of my friends live here within a couple blocks. We all removed ourselves from Mississauga and got our own places in the city. I’ve been here for over a year now. I met my boyfriend the same month that I moved. If I were to live in Mississauga and he lived in Toronto, it would have been harder, of course; an annoying layer on our relationship that we never had to deal with. I’m grateful for that. Now i’m distracted because I’m thinking about Jesse so I forget what the question was.

I was teaching in Toronto for two years until I decided I wasn’t into working 40 hours a week. I really wanted to expand and do something on my own, entrepreneurial wise, so that’s where photography fit in. I was doing fashion shoots, but it wasn’t something I was going to excel at or be able to support myself with. It didn’t align with what I really wanted, even though I thought so at the time. I ventured into family and children’s photography. It takes a really unique person to do this line of work. Some people are afraid of working with children. It can be difficult to talk to them. My ECE background gave me a lot of experience. I’m comfortable changing diapers, or whatever the case may be, I’ve done it all. I’m good. But fashion inspired me to design, so I’m also doing crochet classes on the side.

For me, or any other visual artist, if you have an idea of what you want and you go looking for it, it’s never going to be the way you want it unless you make it yourself. Even with tattoos. You think it’s going to look a certain way, but it’s never going to look exactly how you envisioned it. You have to personally take the reins and do it yourself, which is my plan right now. In terms of business, i’m cutting any sort of middle man out by designing my own website, business cards etc.

Want more? Check out Aliana’s Website, Facebook & Instagram for the launch of her maternity, newborn & family photography business

Did you always want to start your own practice?

There has to be a balance between enjoyment and money making. A lot of people are super passionate artists, and do what they love, but don’t think about the financial aspect. Some people stumble into a gig, something synchronizes for them, or they have a project that pays them well. I have a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head, like the crochet classes and putting a shop on my website. Do this and do that. It’s best to tackle one thing at a time. First thing, a website. Second, I needed business card and content. I needed to create a portfolio. I didn’t have anything. Right now i’m doing free work for people so I can build up my content and make connections. I have to ask myself, how can I attract attention?

There’s also been points when I’m at a shoot and ask myself, wait a sec, am I actually a good photographer? It comes down to that rawness. All this planning and work to convince myself that yes, I can take pictures, I am talented. Then I question, but am I? Are they going to like these pictures? It’s a lot of pressure.

Something you’re looking forward to? Dreaming about?

Once someone gave me the advice to start living from the end; living as if you would do exactly what you wanted to do that day, but also working within the walls of the reality around you. My ideal day would be to simply work on my projects in peace, not because someone told me to do it or because I have a deadline. I want to make others happy and provide them with a service they’ll remember. It’s about not losing the passion, but being smart business wise. You can’t have it all, but you can still do as much as you can to keep learning. I’m still young, still learning.

Anything else you want to add?

All of my fashion work was shot in 35mm film. I just recently started doing digital photography. That’s a whole other thing I have to learn. My clients paid for my film and the developing. I was doing well, but I had no passion for it. I was over it. The models would ask to see the photo right away. I’m like, “well, you can’t. Be patient.”

Portrait image: post-rain boardwalk in the Toronto Beaches