Based in the city of Moncton, located in New Brunswick, Canadian photographer and educator André Audet’s portfolio includes a diverse array of genres. They include natural landscapes, wildlife, family portraiture, architecture, weddings, corporate events, and real estate. With a combination of great skill and a unique perspective, André has the ability to create visually stunning pieces that are successful at storytelling and convey emotional elements to his viewers. André’s body of work is quite diverse and his passion for photography speaks for itself.
Thank you, André, for all of your thoughtful answers and for giving the readers a glimpse into the mind of a person who truly enjoys what they do. It was a pleasure getting to know you and about your work. You are a remarkable photographer and someone who is definitely worth following.
Can you please tell the readers a bit about yourself?
I am a part-time photographer and photography instructor. My full-time job is with Parks Canada where I do web and social media work. Aside from photography, I have two amazing boys that keep me busy and entertained at home, and in my spare time (when I find some), I like to play a bit of music.
Where is home?
I live in the city of Moncton in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, just east of New England. Moncton is conveniently located at the center of the Maritime provinces, close to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The Bay of Fundy separates New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and is home to the highest tides in the world.
Are you formally taught or self-taught? And what has been the best source of information along this journey (workshop, online forums, classroom, mentor, etc)?
I have no formal training in photography. I learned a lot by watching an excessive amount of youtube videos and reading blog articles and tutorials. I also have many books or magazines on photography, which all helped to educate and inspire me.
Photography podcasts also play a big part in my development. They’re great to listen to as a source of inspiration and to learn about other great photographers.
From looking through your portfolio on your site, I can see that you are interested in a variety of styles. Of the styles you have explored, which has been your favorite and why?
For me, it’s a tie between landscape and wildlife photography.
Landscape photography is very relaxing and is how I like to decompress. It doesn’t even matter whether I have a good photo when I get home or not. It’s just a great way to relax and to pause to appreciate nature.
As for wildlife photography, I just love the thrill of having an encounter with a wild animal. I like the challenge of it all. Finding wild animals isn’t always easy, and once you find them, the real challenge is not only to capture photos of these subjects but to actually create artful images that tell a story or evoke emotions.
Marketing is a crucial component for any photographer. How do you go about marketing yourself?
From the get-go, I understood the need of having a website that looks good and professional. If you’re looking for photography classes in town, it doesn’t matter how good the photographer is, if their website looks like it was made in 1997, or if there are grammatical errors and typos all over, chances are you’ll pass and keep looking for other options.
Something I’ve been experimenting with as of late is newsletters… I know it’s not a new concept, but it’s new for me. It’s a good way to reach your audience without having to rely on social media algorithms.
Speaking of social media, obviously, that’s a must for photographers (or anyone else for that matter) these days. My biggest audience is on Facebook, and this is where I’ve had more interactions like comments and direct messages. I’ve always struggled with Instagram, and I’ve disliked that platform since day one. I’m only using it because people expect photographers to have Instagram, and I think I would get funny looks if I told people I didn’t have an account.
I’ve had success and meaningful interactions on Twitter and LinkedIn, which are not necessarily the first platforms you would think of when thinking about social media for photographers. So you just gotta get out there and see what works for you.
If there was one thing you would want prospective clients to know about you, what would it be?
I set high standards for myself. My priority is always to have the client feel like they got more than their money’s worth. I know what I’m good at, and I know where my limits are. I won’t accept a job if I don’t think I can reach a level of satisfaction that meets or exceeds my standards.
Who or what inspires you in your personal life and work?
I’m inspired by anyone that has the drive to succeed and who just plow through life doing great things. I feed off that energy and it makes me want to do the same. I know this sounds vague but that’s really the best inspiration for me.
How did you develop your style?
Good question… I’d like to know the answer! It sort of came on its own. I’ve just always pretty much photographed what spoke to me, and then processed the images in Lightroom to get them to where I really like them.
It’s only after a few years of doing this that I looked at my body of work and realized that most of my photos shared a certain style and had consistent elements. It definitely wasn’t deliberate.
I try not to think about style too much. I don’t think it does any good to purposely “stick” to a style. Do what speaks to you, and if your style evolves over time, well that’s just fine. It’s the same for all art forms — like in music, for example. If you’re a recording artist, it is very likely that your 10th album won’t sound or feel exactly like your first record. And if it does sound the same, that’s fine too, as long as the work speaks to you.
What drives you to create; does it satisfy a need or passion?
I am my toughest critic… Every once in a while, I’ll create something that I actually like or am proud of, and I get a total kick out of that. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s a great feeling. So my drive to create is basically me chasing that feeling.
Which is your favorite image? Could you explain the background story behind it?
I don’t have a favourite image. I feel the same way about songs — I couldn’t tell you what my favourite song is, because that can change multiple times per day, depending on what mood I’m in.
There are however photographs that are more meaningful to me than others, and I would say most of those are photos of my kids. Some are reminders of key moments in their lives, and some others are simply fun or cute candid moments that make me smile when I revisit these photos.
What do you hope viewers take away from your images?
If the photo can tell a story or evoke an emotion, then I’ve done my job. Perhaps the look on a wild animal’s face will make you wonder what the animal is thinking, or perhaps a seascape image will remind you of that ocean smell. Or maybe, you’ll just look at a scene that looks warm and inviting and you’ll just wish you could be there. Ultimately, I just want viewers to feel something when they look at my work. That’s what I’m aiming for anyway.
Do you have any tips for aspiring photographers?
Try shooting from different perspectives. Help your viewers see the world in a way they haven’t seen before. Even when shooting a very mundane subject, you can make it look interesting by being creative with the angle you shoot it from.
What type of camera(s) do you shoot with? What is your favorite lens?
My primary camera is the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (I have an EOS 6D as a backup). I like to have as big a range as I can in terms of focal lengths, so I like to have my Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens nearby at all times because it covers such a big range. That lens is not only great for covering such a wide range, but it has got great image stabilizing functionality and it is very sharp.
What is in your camera bag?
If that big Sigma 60-600 is in my bag, then there’s likely not much room for many other things! But other lenses that I like to have with me are my Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Lens and my Sigma 35 mm f/1.4 DG HSM lens. Depending on the job, I sometimes will bring my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II. In terms of accessories, I always bring a bunch of batteries and sometimes I think to bring memory cards — sad to say, but I’ve forgotten those at home more than once!
What is your favorite photography accessory?
My BlackRapid Sport camera strap is my favourite accessory. These things are so underrated! It makes a heavy lens and camera super comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. I love them for hikes or even to shoot weddings and that kind of thing. Absolutely recommend it to everyone!
What piece of equipment would you most like to get but don’t have yet?
Eventually, I want to switch to mirrorless but right now I’m good with what I have.
How important is Photoshop or other image editing software in your final images?
To me, post-processing is equally important as shooting. It’s part of the creative process. If you’re going to bother spending time planning a shoot, buying the equipment, travelling to locations, and working the scene in order to compose the best shot possible, why on earth would you just let your camera automatically do the editing portion spit out a JPEG?
Do you have any projects that make you look back and shake your head? What made the experience so unpleasant?
I’ve shot images for a client whose business I didn’t really believe in… I felt uninspired and I think it showed in the photos. Lesson learned: If I’m not going to be proud of the work that I create, then I shouldn’t take that job.
Was there a point in your journey when you started to feel really good about your work? If so, what did it feel like to get past that “tipping point?”
When I decided I would create material to build a photography course. And then by the time the course was built, I felt even better about my work because the research I put in when building the material had elevated my photography to a whole other level.
Do you have any new projects coming up or plans to expand your portfolio?
Nothing specific at the moment. There are several areas I haven’t explored and photographed yet, so the plan is to keep hitting spots I’ve never been to before, and also to revisit places I’ve seen before to see if I can come up with something new and different.
What do you think the future holds for you? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
In the short term, I hope to see myself teaching classes and workshops in person again, and I hope to resume travel and exploring new areas. The virtual thing is fun too, but it’s not the same as being there in person with a group of photographers. I miss that!