March 27, 2023


Technology is amazing. The average person has the ability to walk around in their everyday life with a miniature computer in their pocket. These computers, aka cellphones, are packed with great functionalities, such as the camera. Because the camera is so accessible, pictures people have taken of themselves are all the more common. But where is the finesse? Where is the artistic skill? At the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, an event was held to bring back the art of photography.

Called From Selfies to Portraiture, it took place on Jan. 28 and sought to teach the basics of captivating photography. Everything from the rule of thirds and composition, to lighting and model positioning was covered in the two-hour workshop, with the aim to send participants home feeling more comfortable with a camera in their hands.

Tanya Saraiva, professional photographer, kindergarten teacher, mother and Conestoga College graduate, led the workshop. Her hope was to change the way people approach photography.

“Personally, I’d just love to get more people involved, to experience more about photography,” said Saraiva. “That it’s not just a ‘point ’n shoot’ type of medium. You really have to think about what you’re doing, and you can create some really nice artwork and it’s not just a snapshot kind of idea.”

After showing a wide range of different photography, lighting, posing and framing techniques, with examples of her own, Saraiva gave the workshop attendees time to practise.

“I’m fascinated by photography, and I’m fascinated when I see other people do it,” said Janice Maarhvis, one of the attendees. “I’d love to learn more about it because I use it all the time in my work.”

Linda Andaloro was another attendee of the workshop who found the hands-on aspect of the event the most enriching.

“It was good, very informative. I was intimidated, but she was very casual and laid-back, willing to give all sorts of information,” she said.

Saraiva, as someone who is passionate about her profession, had advice for aspiring shutterbugs who weren’t able to make the event.

“Always shoot. Always have your camera with you,” she said. “I had friends who would be out somewhere and say, ‘That’d be a cool picture!’ Then take it. They say ‘No, people are going to look at me.’ Don’t worry about that. Just go. The more you do it, the more your eyes are going to start seeing things in the form of a picture. And don’t be afraid to try something new. If you don’t try new things and you don’t push yourself, then you’re not going to go anywhere.”

Saraiva hopes to potentially hold another workshop along the same vein as From Selfies to Portraiture in the near future.

Future workshops and events for art buffs can be found at Tanya Saraiva’s photography work and services can be found at her website,

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