Q & A with Photographer Kyrani Kanavaros

Today we're excited to share a Q&A with Vancouver photographer Kyrani Kanavaros.  We've admired Kyrani's work for the past few years, and finally got to work with her when she photographed our studio visit with Bobbie Burgers earlier this spring. Her portraits are stunning (a few samples below) as is her photography around town that she shares on her instagram feed.  And pssssst! If you're in the Vancouver area this Saturday (April 30th/16), you can get your portrait taken by her at the Market That Gives Back in support of Autism Month for Canucks Autism Network. More details at the end of this post.

How did you get started in photography?

Originally, I got started back in high school, but I didn’t pursue it past graduation. My post secondary pursuits at that time were focused on English literature.  Sometime in the early 2000s, I stumbled across an old, fully manual Minolta SLR, and I haven’t looked back since.

Did you take any photography courses?

I am largely self-taught. But, when I had my twins I didn't have the time to learn on my own or challenge myself as I did before.  Since then I have taken several courses at Langara College from time to time, both to help me improve and force me to set aside the time to learn and challenge myself. 

Tell us a bit about your focus.  (Who are your clients)?

I shoot people; people of any age, really. When I was starting out ten years ago I specialized in families and kids, but now I love capturing anything involving human beings. Lately,  the majority of my work has been corporate, publicity and editorial photography.   Regardless of whether I’m photographing a child, businessman, musician, artist, or whoever, my goal is create an editorial-style image that tells a story.  

What do you love taking photos of?

If the light is right I’m inspired to photograph pretty much anything, from a gorgeous model to my boys to a hose on board a ferry. I love the way light plays with our perceptions and makes the seemingly mundane, extraordinary and new.  I am especially a sucker for backlighting.

I also really enjoy having that little camera in my pocket at all times - I am constantly taking pictures of everything that catches my eye, and this enables me to continuously live in the moment and experience my surroundings.  Having said this, with visual platforms like Instagram for sharing one’s work, I am finding myself shooting and sharing photos from my DSLR regularly too.  Just the other day, I was archiving my personal photos and found I had been shooting more personal work than I had in previous years.  It may not be as “insta” as it is shooting from my iphone but it has given me more confidence to put myself out there.  Plus the technology to transfer from camera to computer to phone makes it so much easier to do this.

Who are some photographers you admire?

Of course, the great Annie Leibovitz.

But, my all time favourite will always be Vancouver photographer, Gaetano Fasciana. He is my biggest inspiration as a person and photographer.  He passed away about 5 years ago and I miss him terribly. Every time I shoot I try to see as I think he would see - and then I’ll try to loosen up, and make room for my own vision.

Other photographers whose work I admire are Mario Testino and Mark Seliger ; locally, I have always been inspired by the works of Candace Meyer, Jennie Marigomen, and Martin Tessler.

Tell us a bit about your equipment

I shoot mostly with Canon bodies and lenses. When I need to create my own light I use my Canon flashes (off camera) or Profoto lights if I need more power. My tripods and light stands of choice are made by Manfrotto.

Do you have any advice for novice photographers?

Just go shoot! Make mistakes. Learn and experiment. I’m not a technically-minded person, so for me, hands-on learning by doing (and often, doing things “wrong”).  Having said that, once you learn the rules you can go ahead and break them too - that’s where the fun really begins!

Also - and this is probably the most important - don't underestimate your worth. If you're doing unpaid work for your portfolio, do it because you want to and because you'll get something out of it (creatively at the very least), not because someone says they can't afford to pay for it, or it's “good exposure”.  

Oh and shoot lots of creatives too!  It’s easy to accept jobs because you need to pay the bills but sometimes it can be discouraging.  Creatives will not only help you improve your photography but remind you why you love photography and will get you out of your comfort zone.  The best part is when you meet clients that will appreciate that as well.

We hear you will be taking photos for the "Market That Gives Back" benefiting Canucks Autism on April 30th here in Vancouver.  What a great way to give back, can you tell us more?

Whether we know it or not, we all have a personal connection to autism.  With 1 in 68 kids being diagnosed with autism, I think it’s important to support organizations like Canucks Autism Network. What these guys do to support people and families with autism is nothing short of amazing.  The Market That Gives Back is a pop up shop at the Aviary (Fraser and Kingsway).  There will be about 10 local small businesses showcasing their wares, so be prepared to come shop for beautiful items for a great cause.  Partial proceeds from the event will be donated to CAN to support their social and recreational programs.

I will also be on sthe Canucks Autism Network. I’m really looking forward to spending the day capturing all kinds of portraits - headshots, family photos, kiddos, etc. - not only because it’s what I love doing, but because I’ll be both providing people with beautiful images, AND giving back to this wonderful organization. It’s a win-win. 

For more info on the Market That Gives Back click HERE or HERE.

Thank you Kyrani!

Find Kyrani online at:

Jan Halvarson

No comments: