A local woman dedicated to capturing all of the Kodak moments of life is snapping her way to the top in the world of photography.
Camillia Courts has only been in business for six years, but her work is already recognized internationally.
The mom of two (nine-year-old Aidan and five-year-old Layla, who are used to having a camera in their face) has had a banner year, full of awards.
“Last year was my biggest year to date with 2015 looking bigger than the last,” said Courts, a true Okanagan girl who was born and raised in Lumby and has lived in Vernon for the past 10 years.
It started in 2014, when her work was featured on Style Me Pretty and The Globe and Mail.
Then, 2015 was kicked off with a bang as Courts won young entrepreneur at the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce business awards.
“I couldn’t believe this was happening,” she said.
“After six years of pouring my heart into my business, it was wonderful to be recognized for it and to be surrounded by so many of my friends who have supported me through this.”
In March, she was runner-up in a photo contest at Bride. ca out of more than 1,500 submissions.
Her passion-filled picture of Brittany Emerson and Luke Crozier in the lake in their wedding attire, is her favourite photo.
“I had almost 1,000 likes on their photo on the Bride.ca Facebook page, the most likes I’ve received on a photo ever.”
Then news broke that she was voted best photographer in the North Okanagan 2014 by the readers of Okanagan Life magazine.
Another major recognition came when Courts’ photo came sixth in the All Dressed Up category in a worldwide photo contest called Shoot and Share. More than 110,000 photos were entered in the contest, and not only did Courts’ photography make the top 10, but four of her photos were in the top 100.
“To have a photo of mine place in the top 10 was so shocking I screamed when I got the notification,” said Courts.
Courts started her photography business in 2009 after the birth of her second child. She shot her very first wedding that year.
“I love the rush and excitement of shooting a wedding,” said Courts, who genuinely loves weddings. “And I feel very honoured these strangers have invited me to share their day with them.”
As demand for more artistic photographers grew and her name got out, Courts went full-time in 2013.
“Scariest thing I’ve ever done,” she admits.
She is primarily a wedding and family photographer, but has a new found love of newborns in the past year and even photographed her first birth recently.
Now you might see Courts and photographer Peter Solymosi in and around downtown as they have teamed up to be the new Downtown Vernon Association event photographers for 2015.
It’s a fitting position considering Courts opened a new studio in downtown Vernon in January.
“There came a point when I realized I absolutely had to expand. It was scary to take the leap but I have no regrets. In fact, I wish I had done it sooner.”
Having her own real life studio is a breath of fresh air from her home studio in her living room.
“Half the time I’d be hoping my clients didn’t notice the Barbies shoved under the couch or the Lego hiding in the rug.”
It may sound cliché, but photography is her dream job, and getting to meet new people, create art and still spend time with her kids makes it that much more magical.