Editor’s note: This is the ninth of 40 profiles for the Kelowna Top Forty Under 40 program presented by BDO Accountants and Consultants, Junior Chamber International (Okanagan branch), Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and The Daily Courier.
Every week in this space, we’ll feature someone under the age of 40 who is making an impact through business, community involvement and innovation.
Photographer Shawn Talbot, 33, still remembers the moment a decade ago when Kelowna-based boat maker Campion decided to take a chance on him.
“I was still living in Vancouver and the marketing manager at Campion at the time was a risk taker, so he said yes to me,” said Talbot.
“I ended up moving to Kelowna and I still do work for Campion. But I also have a big client list that includes other well-known companies such as FortisBC, BCAA, B.C. Hydro, Tourism Kelowna, oil and gas companies and many architects.”
Talbot is a risk taker himself.
Usually photographers have to shoot a lot of weddings to make a living.
Talbot decided early on in his career to carve a niche in advertising photography.
“One hundred per cent of my business now is referrals, meaning my clients are happy and trust me and recommend me to other companies for jobs.”
Talbot started 15 years ago in the Vancouver film industry shooting music videos and TV commercials.
He still occassionally sees a spot he shot in the late 1990s promoting carpooling on TV.
The video work led to some photography, most notably the location shots that helped lure the movie The Pledge to film in the B.C. Interior.
That introduced Talbot to the Okanagan and piqued his interest to move here.
He landed a job at Kelowna’s Think Marketing as a part-time production manager, which also led to photography and the recommendation for the Campion shoot.
“I’m very honoured to be recognized by Kelowna Top 40,” said Talbot.
“Maybe it’s also recognition of a lot of hard work in my younger years when perhaps other people the same age hadn’t figured out what they wanted to do and were out partying.”
It was friends and clients Jay Dowhaniuk of Raymond James Investments and Loyal Woolridge of Loyal Hair Therapy who nominated Talbot for Top 40.
Talbot didn’t follow the traditional education track of going to one university or college to learn his trade.
“I went to five different universities part-time over various years,” he said.
“I didn’t want to learn just one technique from just one school or just one instructor.”
As an advertising photographer, most of Talbot’s shoots are finely set up with locations, outdoors or in a studio, carefully chosen, models and lighting.
“But I can do candid,” he said.
“Tourism Kelowna wanted a campaign of shots of visitors enjoying themselves and it worked out well.”
To give back, Talbot does charity work, naturally through photography.
He shot all the images for Kelowna General Hospital Foundation’s Survivor Stories campaign and he did the fun calendar of cheesecake photos of older women for Hospice House.
Talbot is also featured in a web series of nine 10-minute episodes following him behind the scenes.
The series, which is also being pitched for TV, is by producer and director, David Nault, who Talbot met years ago at Think.
Check out the series at 1StopCloser.com.