a solid understanding of how to teach so students really get it!
Founded in 2009, GTA Photography Classes has quickly grown to become one of the largest Photography Schools in Canada. In 2016, due to popular demand, GTA Photography expanded the summer camp programs to Chicago & Ottawa. The school was built with a strong passion for photography. Every day the instructors work hard to spark the creativity in each and every student. GTA Photography has taught over 12,000 students from the ages of 8 to 65!
Program & Staff Development Manager & Instructor | Adults
Lauren is a talented food and product photographer. Most recently she was the in-house photographer for the global housewares design company Umbra Ltd., where she was responsible for shooting their innovative products for all packaging, advertising, web and catalogue use. Prior to Umbra, Lauren worked for a leading food photography studio in Toronto. Lauren joined GTA Photography Classes in 2010 and has taught thousands of students over that time. She regularly receives the highest reviews from students and even went a full year without scoring anything less than a 5 out of 5!
Lauren has a BFA from York University and a Diploma in Applied Photography from Humber.
Shayne Gray is a creative commercial photographer/videographer who has been widely published among top media including British Vogue, Italian Vogue, Vogue China, GQ Brazil and has been featured as an established resource on CreativeLive, SLR Lounge and Retouching Academy. His work has featured Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau and he has done campaigns for Police ex-drummer, Stewart Copeland, Cavalia, IKEA, YTV and many others. Among other awards, Shayne Gray was a winner at the 2015 SNAP! Awards and currently sits on the board of directors to Gallery 44.
Alexandra Votsis is an internationally exhibited and published fashion, editorial and portrait photographer. In 2015, she graduated from OCAD University’s Photography Program and is currently based in Toronto. Alexandra has an insatiable passion for travel and her work has taken her to numerous cities across Europe. She has been published in FASHION Magazine, HELLO! Magazine Greece, PhotoVogue Italia and more.
Ana fell in love with photography as a young teen at 14. She is a Chartered Accountant by trade and started her career at one of the top accounting firms in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers. At 26 years old, she became a Controller of a medium sized flooring company, where she learned how to run a business. Soon after, she left her finance career to pursue her true passion. She successfully founded three businesses; a portrait and wedding photography business, Ana Belic Photography, GTA Photography Classes & Summer Camps. The school quickly grew to become one of the largest hobbyist photography schools in the country.
3 kids & a dog keep her busy in her spare time (if you can call it that)!
Neil is a commercial photographer/videographer and founder of Fly Home Freedom, a Toronto-based studio that specializes in Digital Media. His company handles national brand clients like Longo’s, Bell Media and Grocery Gateway by providing pristine product photography as well as cutting edge video production. Neil was born in Dublin, Ireland and has been raised in Canada. He enjoys physiotherapy, traveling, road cycling, and Irish whiskey.
Donovan is a successful and published wedding photographer from South Africa. He is the founder and head photographer of Burghouse Photography, a widely successful wedding & lifestyle studio that was based in Johannesburg and now relocated to Toronto. His weddings have been published in ‘Essentials’ Magazine and ‘The Wedding Album’ magazine, South Africa. Shutterstock Toronto rated him in the top 5 South African photographers to follow of 2018. He graduated from the photography program at Tshwane University of Technology. He really enjoys traveling and sketching and enjoys all things creative.
Joanna is a Toronto based photographer specializing in food and product photography. Her incurable passion about all topics on food, health and nutrition plays a big role in creating images which capture the essence of the subject in front of the lens.
Some of her clients include General Motors, Carole Tanenbaum Vintage, Sheridan College, Pi-Co, Royal Canadian Yacht Club, United Way & many more.
A recent published project is a book on Schreiner which she has worked on in collaboration with jewelry collector, Carole Tanenbaum.
A Toronto based visual storyteller, David Coulson uses images, video and words to share stories that connect people to nature and that help translate complex science and conservation issues in an emotional and relatable way. He has covered endangered turtles in Ontario, followed the migration of porcupine caribou in Alaska, and journeyed to the jungles of Indonesia to photograph Sumatran orangutans dramatically in decline. Along with a BA in Philosophy and Environmental Studies, David holds a post graduate certificate in Environmental Visual Communication. His work has appeared in outlets such a Canadian Geographic, Canadian Wildlife, the National Post, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Royal Ontario Museum.
A world traveller, a professional photographer and a dog lover. Jay started off his life in Canada when he moved to Vancouver, B.C to attend a high school in the area. Soon after relocating to the University of Windsor campus to take a double major in Visual arts and Communication Studies. This cross Canada traveller moved to Toronto and found his love for the city. Jay comes to us with more than 10 years of experience in office management with extensive knowledge in coordinating office tasks and project management to ensure the highest standard of productivity. He brings his camera everywhere he goes, and always on the move to capture something beautiful.
Camp Director | Toronto
Chanel Alonzi is an Ontario Certified Teacher who is passionate about connecting youth to experiential moments beyond the classroom! As an outdoor educator, Chanel has taught hundreds of youth and adults in the GTA, previously having worked for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and the High Park Nature Centre. Chanel has a Bachelor of Education and Honours Bachelors of Science from Queen’s University. Chanel is a hobbyist photographer, who loves to shoot in film and never leaves home without a vintage camera hanging by her side!
Missy has a career as a Forensic Psychometrist, but as much as she loves it she could not ignore her passion for photography. She has won multiple photography awards from The Toronto Star, and one of her photos was chosen as the cover for the Oshawa Durham Area Walkers Group Calendar. Combined with her love for animals and her experience teaching dog obedience classes, Missy runs a successful pet photography business specializing in dogs. Her inspiration comes mostly from her own canine rescues, Moxy and Mowgli.
Instructor | Adults
Chloe enjoys photographing people and objects slightly outside of their normal situations resulting in intriguing and sometimes humorous images. Aside from her passion for artistic staged photography, she also completes freelance projects and collaborates with fellow artists in an artist collective that she founded in 2011, called Thing. Chloe completed her BFA from York University and has since been showing her photography in Toronto galleries and has been granted awards for her work, including the Jonh B. Aird Award and the Nalini & Tim Stewart Photography
Award. As with most creative thinkers, Chloe is a hands-on learner and teacher and she appreciates visual and physical examples when learning new things.
Rachel’s first photography course at the age of 15 solidified her future. Her life immediately became only about photography, prompting her to get her B.F.A. from University of Miami in Photography and BA in Lighting Design. During her undergraduate years, Rachel discovered her love of education and teaching. Wanting to merge these two passions, she received her MAT from Tufts University in Art Education. During the year, she teaches middle school students to find their passion in their art.
Aliya has been working with kids her whole life and knows exactly what it takes to inspire today’s youth. Years of extensive camp experience and a constantly growing photography portfolio make her the ultimate fit for our Teen Camp 1 program. Aliya specializes in event, wedding and portrait photography and also loves taking pictures of landscapes. She also has experience with the performing arts in Musical Theatre, which explains her warmth, enthusiasm and outgoing personality, as well as occasionally breaking out into song.
Jake is a documentary cinematographer and photographer who has travelled extensively throughout Asia. While working on set in Nepal he spent his spare time teaching kids photography/cinematography, skateboarding and capturing images of the Nepali people and street life. In Toronto, he is an active volunteer and mentor with Skatelife Canada, an organization that provides indoor space and summer camp for skateboarding youth. A graduate of Centennial College – Broadcasting and Film, Jake is excited to share his love of photography with this year’s campers.
Sarah Ballentine is a photographer from Montreal, Canada and working towards her BFA in Photography at Concordia.
In 2014 and 2015 she was the recipient of 22 Scholastic Awards (6 Gold Keys, 16 Silver Keys), and 24 Scholastic Honourable Mentions for her photography. She has also had the opportunity to be involved with The Sound Research Inc.’s Insight is Art photography exhibition in Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, NYC, London and Mumbai.
She has worked and attended camps most of her life and is really excited to be teaching her passion at a summer camp.
Stephen’s passion for photography started with a fascination with light, and its power to change a mood, shape faces, and be used to tell a story. This brought him to enrol in Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Photography program in 2014, where he would become enamoured with fashion photography, and eventually win the Best Portrait award in 2017. He loves to teach, and hopes to bring his enthusiasm and passion for fashion photography to the next generation of creatives.
Camp Instructor| Chicago
Danielle is an artist and writer whose work has been published internationally. She was the recipient of the Weisman Award for Visual Arts. She has worked as a professional photo retoucher. She is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a MFA in Photography. Her passion is in education, and when she isn’t teaching photography, she is a substitute teacher for CPS. She loves to travel (her favourite place so far has been the Philippines,) and make fun narratives with her lens.
Kaytee specializes in weddings, families, & event photography. She’s been working within her First Nations community for a number of years, including acting as their official photographer while New Credit First Nation helped to host Toronto’s 2015 Pan Am Games. . She has been featured at the Living Arts Centre’s “Now & Then” exhibition for her Creative Pow Wow Photography.Kaytee is a Mohawk College graduate, earning her diploma in Creative Photography. Kaytee is attending OCAD University working towards her BFA.
Emiko started her own photography business when she was 14 and have worked on that all through high school and college. She is attending Columbia College Chicago, achieving a major in photography and graphic design with a minor in marketing. On top of her love for photography she is an active runner, yogi, traveler, and coffee drinker. She has had the privilege to travel several times across the country and across the pond where she has been challenged in ways that helped her grow into the photographer she is today.
Since picking up a camera for the first time when he was on a trip to Banff, Alberta 12 years ago, photography has been Cameron’s passion. For the past 5 years he has been shooting professionally for a variety clients; such a Tokyo Police Club & KYLE, all the way to NHL veterans like Scott Mellanby. He has had his work featured on multiple Jones Soda Co. labels. He continues to hone his skills studying Film & Television at Humber College.
Kayleigh is a graduate of the Photography Program at Algonquin College, where she developed a love for portraiture and social documentary photography. She found her passion for photography after graduating from Carleton University in 2015. Kayleigh has extensive experience working with youth and is thrilled to be spending the summer sharing her passion with the campers and making memories!
Camp Instructor| Ottawa
Laura’s passion for photography started as a kid, when she found a film camera in a box of her grandfather’s old things. This sparked Laura’s interest in photographing modern day life with old technology. Since then, Laura has gone on to study Journalism at Carleton University, with an interest in photojournalism and radio. Laura believes that everyone has the potential to become a great photographer and thinks everyone has their own unique view of the world to share through their pictures.
Camp Counsellor | Toronto
Sophie’s love for photography began after taking GTA’s Teen Camp 1. Immensely enjoying it, she decided to immediately sign up for GTA’s Teen Camp 2. Since then, she has been enjoying exploring the many neighbourhoods in Toronto with her camera, anywhere from the Financial District to the Brickworks. Sophie gained experience working with children at the AGO’s summer camps, as well as spending one month volunteering abroad in elementary schools in Ghana.
Camp Instructor | Chicago
Originally from Paducah, KY, Savanna is a Chicago-based photographer and artist. Savanna began photographing as a high schooler, and fell for the medium’s ability to represent both fact and fiction, and challenge our ideas of perception. Now a recent graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA 2017), Savanna works primarily with photography, bookmaking, and found objects, as she creates artwork to fill the conceptual gaps left by logic and factual information with something more fantastic.
Camp Counsellor | Toronto
Dawson is a true camp pro! He grew up going to camp every summer in Muskoka and has experience working as a camp counsellor teaching & leading sports activities. He attended Appleby College in high school where he played varsity hockey for 4 years and was a recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Dawson is currently at Queen’s University in the faculty of arts with an interest in Photography and Film.
Sarah finished her bachelor degree in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Ottawa and in conjunction is also pursuing her passion as a photographer. Her love for art and people has sparked at a very young age and it’s after working at Black’s Photography that she decided to pick up her own camera and specialize herself in portraiture. With her high positive energy, Sarah is thrilled to be spending the summer with enthusiastic campers and sharing her experiences and knowledge in photography.
Camp Counsellor| Toronto
At the age of 14, Emma Gubitz and her friend started a t-shirt business where they designed, printed, and sold shirts. Her biggest creative accomplishment was photographing models for her clothing company. She is thrilled to be a part of the GTA team this year after numerous years of being a camper and the first GTA counsellor in training. GTA Photography Camps gave her the skills and confidence to shoot multiple events. From there, her passion for fashion photography grew and became her focus.
Camp Counsellor | Toronto
Sam works at the Gardiner Museum as an instructor for the Family Sunday programming. She is a practicing artist currently attending The University of Toronto’s joint program with Sheridan college, studying art and its history. She has recently received an art award from her program, has exhibited her work in school exhibitions and local art shows, and has artwork published in an annual student catalogue. Sam has previously attended GTA Photography’s teen summer programming and by returning as a camp counsellor this summer, she hopes to provide the welcoming and creative atmosphere she experienced as a camper.
Camp Counsellor| Toronto
Grace is an energetic, practicing photographer studying science at Queen’s University. She quickly developed a passion for photography after receiving a camera for her 12th birthday and has been pursuing it ever since. Grace previously attended a GTA’s Teen Camp 1 and found a growing appreciation for the various techniques that can be used in photography. She is passionate about spreading her love of photography and showing others how influential and fun it can be.
Ashton is a conceptual photographer and videographer who explores many topics such as LGBTQIA+ experiences and questions relating to the mind and body. He has spent his life learning different artistic mediums, however, he quickly developed a passion for photo/video work in his late teen years and went on to study photography at Algonquin College. Ashton’s nearly ten years of experience working with children/youth has made him also passionate about creating safe spaces for free self-expression and creativity.