Capturing the essence or emotion of a moment equals ‘pure happiness’ for Medicine Hat College business graduate and award-winning photographer, Schae Philpott. Whether she is witnessing a couple’s happily ever after or a family’s special bond, being asked to share and secure those irreplaceable memories is an honour for the young storyteller.
“What I love most about capturing images is documenting human emotion - joy, laughter, tears, and love. It makes my soul so happy.”
Looking through a lens has been a part of Philpott’s life since she picked up a camera at age 14. After documenting a family holiday, her parents acknowledged her creative gift and bought her first DSLR camera. Over the years, she worked hard to develop her craft, learning everything she could about camera settings, lighting, and composition. She eventually became accredited with the Professional Photographers of Canada in the Wedding Environmental category and is one of few photographers in southern Alberta to have this distinction.
“This means my images have reached a standard of quality, skill, and creativity. This was a huge milestone for me and something I am very proud of,” explains Philpott. This designation allowed her to enter the 2018 National Image Salon where one of her photographs featuring a father and daughter dance won Best in Class for the Wedding Photojournalistic Category.
Her ability to freeze these magical moments in time is a result of her unique shooting and processing style, as well as the relationship she builds with each and every client so when their big day arrives, everyone is comfortable with her and knows what to expect.
“One of the best compliments I have received from someone is when they said ‘When I scroll and look at photos I know which ones are yours.’ To have someone recognize my work is very surreal and humbling.”
Philpott credits part of her success as a small business owner to her experience at Medicine Hat College. As a student in the collaborative Bachelor of Business Administration program offered through Mount Royal University, she developed the skills necessary to be an entrepreneur, including accounting, marketing, and customer service.
“Even though photography is my passion, with my degree I was able to see it through a business lens and understand how to protect my clients and myself. I am thankful I was able to pair something I love with my career and business helped me achieve that.”
Although her formal education is behind her, Philpott’s learning never stops. Participation in online forums and professional workshops continue to inspire her work while her passion pushes her forward.
“My greatest inspiration has always been to do what I love. I never wanted to ‘work’ a day in my life. This has always motivated me to succeed and create a life and job I love.”