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Ottawa Commercial Photography – Jason Billows

Jason Billows

It’s funny how everything in your life is connected, and how old contacts become new ones, and colleagues become clients and friends and hire you to be their commercial photographer when they’re ramping up their business.

I wasn’t always a notoriously extroverted commercial and editorial photographer. There was a time when I worked in the not-for-profit industry, and it was at a joint fundraising event that I first met Jason. Actually, I was a photographer then too – hired to cover the event – but we still got to share a meal together every year and talk shop, chat, and eat.


Fast forward to last September, on the very first day I put my kids into daycare, effectively taking the leap from full-time dad to full-time photographer, and I run into Jason at a coffee shop downtown Ottawa. We catch up; he’s a dad taking time off to help raise his son and start his own business. New contact info is exchanged and we send each other an email update every so often… keeping in touch – it’s important to do this socially, it’s good for your soul, and, eventually good for business.


Jason enters a hard-core re-branding stage, tearing down his consulting business, polishing it up, launching a website customized to his needs. It’s the real deal. I’ve been part of branding exercises in the past that seemed like a way for marketing firms to have billable hours: “Why are you suggesting a dragonfly for the logo?” “Because nobody else is using one right now!”
This wasn’t the case with Jason’s people. Their goals and points all made sense, nothing was existentially tied to theories or strange patterns of human nature, they just distilled the work that Jason did, what he wanted to accomplish, and they built a brand around that. Part of that branding exercise would be to create imagery of Jason – good thing he knows a photographer right?


Shoot day comes and we’re working out of his wife’s yoga studio. Great location. We have a clear direction and plan for the website and branding, working to the plan, and then his wife comes to visit, his son peeks his head in and runs over to daddy. If he had come during one of the more complex light setups we probably would have missed the shot. As it was, we were working in an ambient light/large strobe backed up mix. All I had to do was point and click. Best photo of the day – also one of the lead photos to his website – which sums Jason up pretty perfectly, it’s something we couldn’t have planned for, just serendipitous forces working in our favour.

You can check out Jason’s site at jasonbillows.com, and a larger version of him and his son here.

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