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Railene Hooper, a graduate of Spruce Grove Composite Excessive Faculty was lately named the primary Alberta Wedding Pictures of the 12 months by the Skilled Photographers of Canada (PPOC). Pictured is her {photograph}, “Leaping Into Love,” one in every of a set of 4 which gained her the title.

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When Railene Hooper enrolled within the Communications Expertise course at Spruce Grove Composite Excessive Faculty (SGCHS), she by no means imagined she would in the future be named Alberta’s Wedding Photographer of the 12 months by the Skilled Photographers of Canada (PPOC).

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Years later, she is now the primary photographer within the province’s historical past to win the title together with two extra Finest In Class awards on the PPOC’s 2022 Alberta Picture Salon.

“I’m honored over the moon to be the primary recipient of this award. This has made me wish to be much more inventive and get an excellent higher shot subsequent yr,” mentioned Hooper.

Rising up in Stony Plain, Hooper was all the time extra all in favour of sports activities, notably basketball, than she was in pictures. In actual fact, it was not till attending SGCHS she started to take photos in any capability. Nonetheless uncertain of what she needed to do upon commencement, she determined to review sociology at Concordia College of Edmonton whereas taking part in basketball on scholarship.

After receiving her diploma, she transferred to the Northern Alberta Institute of Expertise (NAIT) to play two extra years of basketball. It was at this level, she determined to pursue a photographic expertise diploma. Throughout these two years is when her ardour for the artwork kind actually started to flourish. She discovered her area of interest in portraiture and caught with it.

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“It was a fairly intense course that I wasn’t anticipating but it surely grew into a robust love for pictures. I found I favored with the ability to join with folks and seize moments of real emotion,” mentioned Hooper.

After her convocation, she discovered her first job with a high-volume faculty and sports activities pictures enterprise. Whereas the expertise was nice for her portfolio, Hooper mentioned she knew early on this specific type of pictures was not for her. She desired a extra intimate setting the place she might actually get to know her shoppers.

Finally, in 2016, a possibility opened as much as work with one in every of her former professors from NAIT, Robert Bray. He was on the lookout for a photographer to return onboard his private enterprise, Robert Bray Portrait Design. Already conscious of Hooper and her skillset, he selected to convey her underneath his wing.

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A 40-year veteran of the trade, Bray is a three-time recipient of the PPOC Canadian Portrait Photographer of the 12 months award and a six-time recipient of the PPOC Alberta Portrait Photographer of the 12 months award. In 2005, Bray was commissioned by the Authorities of Canada to {photograph} Queen Elizabeth II for Canada’s official Royal Portrait.

“It has been wonderful working for Robert. I used to be capable of fine-tune my expertise and I owe lots of what I do know and do to him,” mentioned Hooper.

Within the early days of their skilled relationship, Bray would convey Hooper alongside to the weddings he was taking pictures to have her shadow his course of and strategies. Six years later, she is the enterprise’ go-to wedding photographer with Bray focusing extra on his ardour for household portraiture.

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Maybe crucial lesson Hooper has realized from Bray is the best way to spot good lighting — crucial side of pictures. Additional, she has blended the perfect points of his typically conventional work together with her personal creativity to kind a novel type of portraiture she describes as trendy and enjoyable. The place Bray’s portraits have the topic staring into the digital camera, Hooper’s portraits are extra candid in an effort to seize the uncooked feelings of the second being captured.

“I’ve tried my greatest to take the timelessness of Robert’s work and add a bit of extra emotion and interplay between the themes,” mentioned Hooper.

Prior to now, Hooper has been nominated for the PPOC’s Canadian Wedding Pictures of the 12 months award however by no means gained. This yr, nevertheless, the PPOC launched the Alberta Wedding Photographer of the 12 months award after years of requests to take action. Taking house the excellence was Hooper’s assortment of 4 separate photos shot titled, “The Most Lovely View is Shared With You,” “Our Love is a Fortress,” “Leaping Into Love,” and “Strolling With Pleasure.” Moreover, the latter two respectively gained the Finest In Class Photojournalistic Wedding and Finest In Class Wedding Group awards.

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Having by no means dreamed she might attain such heights when she first picked up a digital camera in highschool, Hooper mentioned her recommendation for younger photographers is to easily create work they love. If somebody places their entire coronary heart into their work, she mentioned others, together with shoppers, are certain to see its worth.

“I really feel actually fortunate to do pictures and create portraits for folks. Typically I really feel like we are able to overlook how a lot influence a portrait can have on folks’s lives. You do not understand the influence that you’ve within the moments you seize till they are a reminiscence,” mentioned Hooper.

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    Spruce Grove Composite High School graduate named Alberta Wedding Photography of the Year

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