YATS Interviews: Shaun Ryken

YATS recently caught up with 22 year old Photographer Shaun Ryken from North Ontario, Canada to talk about his outgoings, models and his favourite picture.

“wow there goes

my best lens.”

Hi Shaun thanks for the opportunity to ask you some question shall we jump straight into it.

What made you want to become a Photographer?

I became a photographer because I enjoyed capturing the memories of my friends and when people would compliment my pieces I created it motivated me to continue and push it further. My mother was into art work and photography so I guess it sort of just reflected onto my personality and it was something we could connect with.

Where do you find the models in your photos or do you just ask friends to go on your travels?

Most of the people in my photos are friends that I have gained over time, once and a while there is always a new person that would join our travels and they would continue to want to stick with us and go on more adventures. There are some close family friends and some family as well that feature in my photos.




When you go in one of your travels, what all you take with you? Why?

When I go on my hike I normally take my camera, my camelback filled with water and the proper attire. The clothes we normally wear on our hikes is TenTree just because the company it focused around nature and great gear to hike in. There are multiple occasions where we would bring more gear such as a knife for fire or a forest GPS to help direct us to our checkpoint. If we were to go off trail we take snacks and a lighter and such just incase we stay out there for the night. It’s not really advanced survival gear but we do take some tools incase of emergency such as a cell phone just so that people back at home can track where I have been.

Have you ever seen a moment in time where you thought this would make a great photo but have not had your camera with you?

I bring my camera for the moment but sometimes choose not to capture the moment because it’s something that I believe should be cherished as a memory in my mind instead of a photo for my social platform. I’ve never run into an issue where I said “dang, I wish I took a photo of that.” because I normally have either my phone camera on me on my SLR.

How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

I educate myself through vision and following outdoor accounts that travel around the world. Once and a while we will see a location that doesn’t look that great at that time of the year but then go back to it in the fall and capture a better photo. I guess I would say it’s all about timing and knowing when exactly to take the photo.

“the moment that I fell

pretty hard for her”

Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?

My favourite piece is this one…


Although I’ve taken some other eye catching pieces that I believe are great, this photo has a bigger meaning. This is the first photo that I’ve ever taken of a girl named Desiree. At the time this photo was taken I was only talking to the girl and didn’t expect anything of it, I’m currently now in a relationship with this girl and always look back on this photo knowing that this was most likely the moment that I fell pretty hard for her. I have this photo set as most of my background and plan to get it printed out on canvas one day.
Whose work has influenced you most?

The artist “Dave Hill” has inspired me the most throughout the years. I’ve talked to Dave a few times on what cameras he uses and what he does to perfect his images and his imagination and creativity is always flowing.

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

I wish I knew when I started taking photos is to always carry a second camera card with me. I never got into that habit and honestly when I fill a card it sucks because that’s when I have to stop taking photos or delete some on the go. I’m not bad for it now but there is always those times where I forget even a card in my camera and I brought my camera out in the forest for no reason.

What has been the best and worst experience you have endured when taking photos?

The best experiences is the moments I spend with friends taking photos and when they pitch ideas for a great image. The worst experience would be when I broke my lens, I fixed it myself by opening the entire lens up and playing with the wiring on the inside but at the time I thought “wow there goes my best lens.” and I was worried I had to purchase a new one.
What advice would you give to people who want to become photographers?

The advice I would give to new photographers would be to not think of it as a career but something you love doing. There are multiple photographers who get into this path and have no vision or never develop their own vision. It’s key to find out what areas you excel and to always think that thinking outside the box is a great thing, being different is a key thing to have in this path. Also another great word of advice would be to get a battery grip or extra card holder on the go, those are both very handy and key items to have.

to see all of Shaun’s pictures and more be sure to go and visit his website: http://www.shaunryken.ca


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