Skills Canada 2016 by Jason haywood

Where do I begin?!

This has been a pretty amazing experience for me! To be able to say that I am officially the best student photographer in Canada is truly an honour. I certainly did not expect it, as there were some amazing competitors in my competition who I only have the utmost respect and admiration for.

That being said, I would never have achieved this on my own. A huge thank you goes out to my mentors; Mr. Keyvani, Mr. Stone, Pete May, Rick and Lindsay O'Neil, Chris McCooey, and more for their invaluable advice and lessons; my parents for their support and love; and to my friends, family, and supporters for their encouragement and kind words. I am truly grateful.

Since returning home last Wednesday, I have been asked many times about what the experience was like, and what I had to do for the competition. Well, what better way to share this than by doing it visually, with plenty of photos and just enough information to tie it all together!

So, in closing, thank you. It has been a busy and stressful journey, but also a rewarding one! Here is a little bit of a behind-the-scenes look, from my point of view, of Skills Canada 2016.


Before the Skills competition itself, the majority of Team Ontario flew out on Friday 3rd June to the beautiful city of Moncton, NB. Over the next few days, we all had a chance to calm down, get prepared, practice, relax, take in the new city, and overall have a good time!

Orientation, Registration, and Opening Ceremonies

After (and during) the couple of days of downtime, we had a few tasks to do prior to the actual Skills competitions themselves. Here are some more photos!

Skills Canada Photography Competition 2016 (2 Days)

And then the competition itself! This was the hardest point in the trip. The ten competitors in the photography contest, myself included, had two days to complete five tasks - 7 hours on day one, and four on day two. I'll get into the specifics in a moment - for now, a glimpse into those two days!

Now as for the photos, we had to do eleven photos in total. Here is a brief breakdown, along with my final images which were judged:

Task 1: Photograph two mystery objects, in two seperate photos, with no preparation (safety goggles and modelling clay). Post process, resize, keyword, rename, export and submit by the end of day one.
Task 2: Shoot three RAW images (straight out of camera) of three competitors, from three different competitions. Shoot as close to perfection as possible. No in-camera effects or cropping allowed. Submit the RAW files by the end of day one.
Task 3: Shoot three images, of the same orientation and pixel dimensions, to the theme of your choice (I chose testosterone). Must be photographed within the building. Judged as a series, in the order specified. Post process, resize, keyword, rename, export and submit by the end of day two. (A little extra info - all of these were shot inside the arena itself, not in a studio. Placing the flash close enough allowed me to underexpose the background the complete black, giving the 'emerging out of the shadows' look to the images!)
Task 4: Professionally edit, post process, and retouch two photos - a portrait and a landscape - both from RAW files. Both photos were flat and had various issues which needed correcting such as exposure, colour, white balance, blemishes, contrast, lens distortion, and so on. Post process, resize, keyword, rename, export and submit by the end of day two.
Task 5: Produce a professional, client-ready image of a liquid in provided glassware in two hours - one hour shooting in a studio environment, one hour editing in Photoshop. Supply your own liquid (mine was a mix of club soda and food colouring). Post process, resize, keyword, rename, export and submit by the end of the two hour period.

So that was the competition! Obviously, I was exhausted by the end of those two days, but it was great fun, and worth it! Now it was time to get back to the University of Moncton Residence, go for dinner, and get a good night's sleep before the Closing Ceremonies the next day!

Closing Ceremonies

This is the time we were all waiting for! Words fail me at this point. The ceremony was bustling with energy and anticipation, as we all awaited the results of our dedication and hard work. So here it is: the medal placings for the photography competition, taken by my (rather excited) teacher and mentor, Mr. Stone.

This was awesome! Such an honour to have placed gold. The competitors were all very skilled, and it was humbling to see the amazing work that they produced over the two days. I am also glad to say that I made a number of new friends over the time I spent there!

So that's it!

Again, thank you. It was an amazing experience, and thank you for enjoying the journey with me! - Jason :)

Created By
Jason Haywood
Photo credits: Chuck Stone, Jason Haywood

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