Any Freelance Photographers/Videographers in Canada? Looking to move there myself

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by needfx, Nov 20, 2016.

  1. needfx, Nov 20, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2016

    needfx macrumors 68040

    needfx

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    #1
    Hi all,

    Was wondering if any Canadians are lurking in this MR subforum

    I am a Greek/Canadian, single male 36yo, contemplating to move to Canada as Greece is in the sticks and there isn't much going on for us around here. Evidently this thread has nothing to do with the result of the recent US elections.

    I will be heading over to the Canadian Embassy to get some detailed info on how to handle all the official paperwork to enter Canada as a citizen. I was born in Canada, and hold both a Canadian birth certificate & Canadian passport, however, since I left Canada when I was 5, well, I had no say about it, I have no permanent resident status or personal tax details (TIN and/or SIN).

    I am probably avoiding larger costlier cities like Toronto or Montreal, but I have no clue really what would be best.

    I am fluent in English both written & oral, along with business & tech terminology.
    I am also competent in French, but nowhere near my fluency in English and Greek evidently.


    I want to continue being a freelancer photographer/videographer in Canada.
    I already practice this in Greece but I am fairly certain Canada is whole different terrain.

    I have no formal education in this field, but I do not totally suck, my portfolio speaks for itself, and already have equipment for basic coverage & editing in both fields.

    Also this is my employable editing skills range

    • Adobe Photoshop – Image editing (proficient)
    • Adobe Premiere – Non linear video editing (proficient)
    • Adobe After Effects – Compositing & post production (proficient in motion fx)
    • Adobe Illustrator – Image editing (intermediate)
    • Adobe Encore (intermediate)
    • Adobe Audition (moderate)
    • Autodesk 3D Studio Max 2010 – 3D modeling & animation (moderate)
    • Corel Draw X7–Vector graphic design (intermediate)

    I have dabbled with several other pieces of software, but I am not going to flood this for no reason.

    So, my questions to Canadian nationals of this forum are these.

    Do you think I can survive a move to Canada in this field?
    How do you find it yourself?
    How would a partly foreigner do with no ties in Canada?
    What is a median hourly rate for a freelance photographer and for a videographer?
    (Potentially a full time/part time job would be a smarter option until I find my grips around town and get to know people).

    I have been an airline representative for almost 15 years, but to be honest, it is too bureaucratic for my tastes, but if push comes to shove, I will look for employment in that field. Most probably I will be looking at both, but hey, one can dream.

    I am very well aware that such a transition is no easy feat. I need seed money, I need to find a place to live (once I decide on the city), a big piece of luggage and courage.

    Any info or feedback is most welcome.

    Cheers,

    Patrick
     
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #2
    Greece to Canada. That's a big move. Good luck with it.
    I think a lot of the creative work comes through friends, family and word of mouth.
    If you don't have those 'ins' I think it's a slow road to build up a big enough client base.
    But you certainly have the skills, so what do I know! I'm still stuck in a 9-5 job where I rarely get to be creative.
     
  3. needfx thread starter macrumors 68040

    needfx

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    #3
    Thanks AFB!
    Well, my PR skills are kind of rusty, or more accurately, in a rut.
    I am no salesman, I can't go up to people and start selling stuff & services. I lack that kind of brass.
    I am however communicative, helpful & cooperative.
    But my "ins" are definitely limited :/
     
  4. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #4
    Selling is easy. Must be as I can do it!
     
  5. needfx thread starter macrumors 68040

    needfx

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    #5
    no need to sell yourself short really (creatively and sales wise) :)
     
  6. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #6
    Wow that dad joke was so good it could have been one of mine... ;-)
     
  7. needfx thread starter macrumors 68040

    needfx

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    #7
    You shouldn't joke about other peoples' jokes :D
     
  8. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

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    #8
    Hi Patrick,

    Canadian, Toronto born and raised myself. Photography is strictly a hobby for me, so I have no connections or information about the professional photography/video industry here.

    I do know other hobbyist photographers who have or are attempting to transition into the professional field on a part-time or full-time basis but they seem to be struggling. I don't know anyone in the video business.

    I do know that the urban centres like Vancouver and Toronto are very expensive places to live. The average cost of a single family detached house in Toronto is now over a million dollars. The average cost of a very small one bedroom condo is probably over $350,000.

    Due to supply and demand factors, housing costs in Toronto and other large cities like Vancouver are rising so much faster (about 10% per year) than average salary and wage increases. For young people heading-out on their own, housing is a tough market to get into without financial support from family.

    However, Canada is a wonderful country with incredible natural resources. Urban centres like Toronto are very culturally diverse. That's one of the things I like most about this city. I just try to ignore the bitter cold and windy weather days like today.

    Other points to consider:
    • French is a national language along with English so both are an asset.
    • Toronto has a very large Greek community but all are welcome here even without ties to Canada. As I said, we are very culturally diverse and proud of it.
    • I suggest you research the film industry in Toronto and Vancouver. Given the lower value of the Canadian dollar compared to the US dollar (currently about $0.75 CDN to $1.00 US) the massive American film industry in Canada is HUGE and is enthusiastically supported by all level of Canadian government.
    Sorry I can't be of more help Patrick. Best wishes and good luck to you whatever you decide.

    Peter
     
  9. needfx thread starter macrumors 68040

    needfx

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    #9
    Plenty of cheers for your detailed input Peter! Thanks indeed for your time and pointers!

    • I am definitely not looking to buy a house. Rent is just fine with me.
    • Really wish I could compete in the film arena, but I am nowhere near holding that kind of skillset, let alone experience and/or portfolio.
    • I went and joined a facebook page Greeks in Toronto. It has got about 800 members. Maybe I can start my digital networking from in there. Common ground & background et all.
    • I am already brushing up my French by watching French movies with French subtitles. Definitely helps with vocabulary & listening
    On a side note, I had the brass to respond to position listing for Vancouver's Aquatic Park. In my coer letter I did explain the situation, however, I hardly think they will bother even responding, considering my current unreasonable distance from Canadian territory as of yet.

    Thanks again Peter, highly appreciated!


    edit: Housing cost is ridiculous, and so is its yearly cost rise :eek:. By the way, we have a 10% reduction of value on a weekly basis...
     
  10. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #10
    Hadn't even thought about the weather.
    Greece is quite warm all year round. Canada, not so much!
    Make sure you factor in a new wardrobe into your costs. You won't have much need of your mankinie in Canada! :D
     
  11. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #11
    Depends what kind of filming he is involved in no?

    We had Canadian weather today... and they can bloody have it back!
     
  12. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #12
    Well I hadn't thought of that! But sounds more like your area of expertise than mine!

    I thought you were a tough Northerner? They'll be out on the town in the Toon without a jacket tonight. ;)
     
  13. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Patrick,

    I can't offer much advice on pursuing a career in photography / video even though that is a path my son is on - I'm optimistic he will find a job and do alright after graduating university but he is also keen on travel and it will not surprise me in the least if he looks for work elsewhere.

    That being said, as Peter said of Toronto, there are film production companies big and small here in Montreal and I believe a significant Greek community as well. French is certainly important in Quebec although depending on where you live and what you do it is possible to get by with minimal knowledge of it (my wife and kids laugh whenever I attempt to speak French or pronounce a French name). Quebecois French is also different from Parisienne French although the differences escape me.

    With respect to cost of living, Montreal is substantially less expensive than Vancouver or Toronto - my daughter shares a two bedroom rental downtown near McGill University and they each pay about $600 per month with electricity, internet and gas heating. Less central rentals will be cheaper of course but may necessitate having a car. Parking downtown is a pain.

    The biggest challenge you will face is obviously lining up some work. I think Toronto and Montreal offer more opportunity for freelance work, especially stuff like weddings (if I remember correctly you have posted about doing some of this type of work in the past). Based on my personal experience, weddings and events in communities like Toronto and Montreal are on a different scale compared to smaller communities like Halifax or Winnipeg, for example, and I assume that spending on photography and video probably scale as well.

    I think it is a great idea to reach out to local Greek communities to get a feel for the opportunities and challenges that you will face.

    Best of luck.

    Cheers,


    Mike
     
  14. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #14
    Aye but I am old mate... I like slippers and cocoa! I have done my quota of arctic booze nights...

    As for the filming... err... you mentioned the mankini! lol...
     
  15. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #15
    So I hear!
     
  16. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #16
    Patrick,

    Could you go over for a vacation and do a recce? Have a look around? scope it out a bit?

    There is some great intel so far on here, wonder if you maybe need to go check it out in person get a feel for the place?

    Obviously try and line up some interviews ahead of time?

    Sorry if this is stating the obvious.
     
  17. needfx thread starter macrumors 68040

    needfx

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    #17
    Thanks for your detailed input Mike!!

    First & foremost, wishing all the best for your son's endeavors!

    I do have to point out that cost of housing in Canada at first glance sound somewhat exorbitant from what I have looked at online, and the input provided in this thread, however, for example, a one bedroom in Athens can range from C$355 to C$855 depending on the area and it very rarely, if ever, includes amenities like heating, internet and common building expenses. On the bright side, you are not really scrutinized on a molecular level to rent one.

    To put the rental cost in context, official average monthly wage in Greece is EUR780 (C$1110), which is rarely the case for most in the working force these days. It is closer to EUR650 (C$924) and that is before taxes and mandatory public health insurance/pension fund (total cost both for employer and staff member per staff member is around EUR200monthly/C$284). Just to be clear, public health insurance and services in Greece are abysmal and easily compare to other developing countries' standards. I am not exaggerating. Hospitals barely have enough linen to cover beds they do not have...Not to mention shortage of medical & paramedical staff, basic medicine stock etc etc. I am obliged to pay extra approx EUR900/C$1280 annually to be able to get proper healthcare if needed.

    As for pensions, that's another joke. My generation and younger ones have no positive outlook on that front either, as the multitude of public pension funds (per sector...) are against the wall with crippling liquidity unavailability.

    I have read that Canadian public health insurance costs about C$70 each month and that GPs are hard to get an appointment with recently. Not sure if this is still the case throughout Canada and if this was just a temporary snag, however it did mention that also having a private HMO is advised. Can't remember that date of the article.

    Work. Who needs work, I'll just win a lottery and head over to Costa Rica, or Barbados.

    Yes, I have been involved in weddings & christenings, but most of them are infested with bad location and unscheduled festivities throughout the event. It is also hard to convince anyone this end to properly plan a shoot so I do my best with the run & gun situation I am handed. Instead of a steadycam, I use my rail to balance the camera and have it at the ready when any situation rises where I can properly take advantage of the linear movement. It even helps me with vertical shots on the fly when needed. Evidently closer shots and rare to find angles are employed to avoid the derelict nature of the Athenian cityscape. It is a mess around here, has been for decades, and takes a toll in frame setup.

    Again, thanks for all your input and time to respond!!

    Patrick
    --- Post Merged, Nov 21, 2016 ---
    Thank you Captain Obvious :D
    However, a round trip to CA is rather costly just to scope out the situation at this time.
    They have been suffocating everyone one of us with incredible tax rates, both directly and indirectly, while fat cats who are plunged into tax avoidance schemes or simply non paying entities, still enjoy their fat checks instead of prison meals. At the same time, wages are slashed, pensions are slashed, deductibles have completely vanished, unpaid bank loans are soaring sky-high, but everything is rosey :)

    Long story short, I cannot afford at this time, nd probably anytime soon, a trip just to scope out the situation.
    Even if I considered other places in Europe for employment, they're all in the short ended straw as well, and my Greek passport has little to no value. So Canada it is along with my Canadian paperwork.
     

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