Age 15 – Got my hands on my mom’s SLR camera…took a gr. 11 photography course. After learning how to develop film, I picked it up so quick and loved it, my teacher had me teach the rest of the class.
Age 17 – Started assisting at weddings for a local pro. Worked in the Wal-mart Photo Lab. Got a gr. 12 credit for taking all the yearbook photos. My grandpa gave me some old photography books and my first volunteer photo gig.
Age 19 – Studied photography at Fanshawe college. I was inspired by the posters on the wall at my part-time job at Hiker’s Haven. Decided to be an adventure photographer. Get paid to play in the mountains!?! What a dream!
Worked at various camera stores, pro labs (oh bat caves & dip n’dunks) and kept assisting while in school and getting started.
My mom’s minolta camera I was using at school got stolen out of a friends car. My parents bought me a canon rebel to replace it. That’s how I ended up shooting canon. Continued to build my kit while working at camera shops.
Age 21 – First real full-time job as a pro – Columbia Images in Invermere, BC. Thought I was living the dream. Photographed Whitewater Rafting and Golf. Had to use their Nikon gear because my kit wasn’t complete. (Secret…I liked the Nikon better) Got bored by the end of the summer. Thought I could make more money if I worked for myself.
Back to Ontario. Worked at Camera Craft in Sault Ste. Marie, selling cameras and teaching beginner photography classes.
Wrote a business plan in 2004 while working full time at Henry’s Camera Store in London, Ontario.
Started Melissa Welsh Photography full-time in 2005 in Langley, BC with the help of the self-employment program.
2006 – Big Break! Moved to Nelson, BC and asked to participate in the local “Backyard Booty” slideshow showcasing local film-makers and photographers.
Local editor saw my work, called me a few weeks later to see if he should put my name forward to shoot Hockey Day in Canada for the CBC. I said yes. Got the call. Quoted the job…and got it!
After the event, I organized a local gallery show of all the photos taken, including my own. One day the former CEO of Penguin Canada walked in and mentioned he wanted to do a book about Hockey Day in Canada. I told him he couldn’t do a book without me – I photographed the entire event…and he was going to need a photo editor!
Worked as the photo editor of the Hockey Day in Nelson book. A copy ended up in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Successfully negotiated a salary as photo editor and licensing fees for all my photos in the book.
Started a small publishing company. Published and worked as the photo editor for Kootenay Bride Magazine and the West Kootenay Rock Guide.
Opened Elephant Mountain Gallery and sold my fine-art work along side other photographers in the region.
Decided to join the PPOC and kill two birds with one stone. I wanted to start volunteering in my industry because I felt I was ready to give back…and I was looking to further my own knowledge and craft, so I began working towards my Master’s of Photographic Arts Designation.
2011 – Competed in first Image Competition since college – was a finalist for BC Photographer of the Year (Got all 4 images accepted!)
2012 – Served as the PPOC-BC President. Began working on the “Pixel Cents formula” in my spare time. Thought about maybe writing a book.
Began speaking and teaching other photographers more regularly in British Columbia.
2013 – Received my first excellence score on “Wishing for Wind” and won Best Wedding Album in BC.
Wishing for Wind went on to score Excellence at the National Competition and win – Best Pictorial Photograph in Canada, was accepted into the PPOC 2013 Loan Collection and then was one of 18 images that went on to represent Canada at the World Photographic Cup.
– Wrote the e-book Pixel Cents – The Solution to Selling Digital Files for Photographers Around the World
– Made the switch from Canon to Nikon – Yipee!
2014 – Moved from Nelson, BC to Victoria, BC to take over a 1600 sq/ft commercial studio that had been in downtown Victoria for 40 years. Thought it was a good opportunity to up my game and push myself.
Took a judging clinic to learn to judge professional image competitions.
2015 – Spray it, Don’t Say it won Best Industrial Photograph in BC & Canada
Released an app into the iOS store – Pixel Cents Photo Calculator
Qualified for my Craftsman of Photographic Arts Designation (CPA)
Printed next version of the Pixel Cents Book.
2017 – My Playground scored an Excellence in the BC image competition and went on to win the Best Child Portrait in BC
Sold commercial client list and decided not to renew the studio lease. Wanted to continue to help those struggling in the industry and needed to create the space to do so. Incorporated Pixel Cents Software Inc. and launched the first version of the Pixel Cents Software.
Traveled to Winnipeg to speak at the Provincial conference for the PPOC. Judged the image competition.
2018 – Qualified for my Masters of Photographic Arts Designation (MPA)