About Spencer Studio Ottawa
Robin Spencer, Master Photographer, Paul Harris Fellow, Family man and Grandfather
My story starts out like all professional photographers, very cliché. I got my first camera (an old Kodak Brownie) at age nine and loved the excitement of it. In high school, using borrowed cameras I'd create images then spending countless hours in the high school's darkroom. Very cliché.
Upon graduating Algonquin College, my girlfriend (and future wife) presented me with a graduation gift, my first good (expensive) camera. Over the next few years I adding various high quality lenses and other equipment. Although I had very good photography equipment I will admit I produced at best, mediocre photographs. Still cliché right?
A few years later, finding myself out of a job, married and with a child on the way I turned to my photography skills (or lack thereof) to pay the rent and put food on the table.
A photographer friend took me to a Monte Zucker professional photographers seminar in Toronto. I was stunned to see his display prints, quality like nothing I had ever seen before. How is it this guy using the same equipment I had able to turn out such breathtaking images.
Clearly, it was not just having great photography equipment that would make you a great photographer. It was skill and knowledge that I desperately needed to learn.
My education continued at the The Winona International School of Photography, where I studied Portraiture at their Chicago campus then Advanced Portraiture at their Atlanta campus a couple of years later. Shortly after that I had the opportunity to study under the top portrait photographers of our generation; Bruce Hudson (Seattle), Tibor Horvath (Toronto), Tim Kelly (Florida).
My photography quickly improved, winning me various national and international awards and recognitions throughout the industry. I was invited to speak and give seminars at conventions in Canada and even USA.
Even though my photography skills had improved immensely I was still struggling financially. I realized that just producing award winning photographs was no guarantee of success in the photography business. So back to Algonquin College again this time night school for four years in their Marketing Program, also adding a Professional Selling course.
So am I living the dream? Well I guess. Working on something different everyday, meeting fantastic people from all walks of life, from different countries and in different professions. I just love hearing their stories, hearing of their travels and adventures and sharing a few laughs.
And if growing up in the 1960's taught me anything it was to love the music of Bob Dylan and that we all had a social responsibility to help others. So I created several charitable projects tying our portrait photography promotions into fundraising for various charities like Wheelchair Foundation, The Salvation Army Soup Kitchen and WaterCan etc. You can read about our successes here.
In 2011 Rotary International honored me with a Paul Harris Fellowship in recognition of my community and international service.
Wow, 2020 marks 40 years for Spencer Studio. Thank you Ottawa for you support, your love and your smiles..
Robin Spencer, Professional Photography Awards and Recognitions
Master of Photographic Arts (awarded 1996)
Master's Gold Bar Recipient (1999)
Awarded Three National Accreditations
National Award Winner (9 times)
International Award Winner (11 times)
International Award (Canada/USA) 2nd Place Wedding Category
National Level Judge (1996)
Craftsman of Photographic Arts (awarded 1992)
Awarded Paul Harris Fellowship (Rotary 2011)
Wedding Photos featured on "Say Yes to the Dress" (2011)
A CHANNEL Viewers Choice Award 2006*
OTTAWA METRO Readers Choice Award 2010**
Readers Choice Best Wedding Photographer in Barrhaven/South Nepean 2010 & 2011***
* Top 3 Best Christmas Portrait Photographers in Ottawa
** Top 5 Best Photographers in Ottawa
*** BEST Wedding Photographer 2010 (Platinum Award)
*** BEST Wedding Photographer 2011 (Diamond Award)