Amanda Urbanski shoots how it feels; flashing memories and lives-well-lived back into photography

My first friend in university was a girl I met across a carpeted hallway waiting to enter our Media Writing class. If I remember correctly, I think Amanda Urbanski and I had connected on a Facebook group for our program before we started, so there were awkward stares and anxious laughs until one of us said hello. The moment of: “Yes, I creeped your prom album on Facebook and no, I don’t know how to pronounce your last name, but hello, let’s now be real-life friends, maybe.”

It wouldn’t take long before an ideal weeknight would involve sitting on the floor in one of our 100 square foot residence rooms, talking about trendy romance novels that will not be mentioned here to avoid evidence that we indeed read them. I would soon adapt Amanda’s unique printing style – capitalizing Rs in the middle of a sentence, something that I still smile at today when I catch myself doing it – and the love of a chocolate chip cookie. As I write this, I can taste the home cooked Polish meals her mom would prepare for us in second year so we didn’t have to eat residence food before our late Documentary and Film Studies class on Wednesdays, I can hear the sound of her dad telling me to put more fish on my plate one weekend up at their now home in Central Ontario and I can see the painting she made using my name.

Today, Amanda is a freelance lifestyle photographer, entrepreneur, yoga teacher, poem aficionado, life-long creator and mother. We reconnected after nearly five years of “Happy Birthday!” Facebook messages to collaborate on A Quarter Young’s #SelfLoveSymphony. Amanda generously agreed to be our Creative Partner for the campaign, donating beautiful photographs for us to use.

It is with great joy that we share Amanda’s story with you in the Q&A below. It’s detailed and full of character. The first time I read it, I laughed and then I cried. I hope you’ll join me in reading the wave of words outlined below, until the very end. There’s much to learn.

  1. We graduated from university in 2012. How long after convocation did you launch Amanda Urbanski Creative Photography?

I started shooting about six-and-a-half-months after our convocation ceremony, building up my portfolio taking whatever work I could get, shooting as much as I could. My daughter was about six-months-old when I picked my camera back up again with the intention to make freelance photography a full-time and viable career for myself and my family. The registration for my business was official a year-and-a-half after graduation in November of 2013, once I’d managed to secure myself a full wedding shooting season of 21 weddings, 64 portrait sessions and a couple of editorial shoot collaborations; it was at a point where I could no longer juggle my part-time job, full-time parenting and supporting my partner who had just joined the Canadian Armed Forces, on top of shooting consistently. 2012-2013 was the craziest year of my life!

  1. What has been the toughest lesson you’ve had to learn since you launched your brand?

Learning how to run a business via trial and error, as there was only so much I learned in school, which was geared more towards commercial/studio work, obtaining commissions through agencies, studios, newspapers and magazines or under the mentorship of a more established photographer in the city, etc. There was only minimal discussions regarding freelancing as a small business owner in niches such as weddings and family portraiture. So effectively, all of my lessons have been learned the hard way, especially in running an efficient business at least from the admin/behind-the-scenes side. Shooting and creating is the easiest (and smallest part of the “tasks pie chart”), it’s the rest of the pieces that can make your life extremely difficult if you don’t establish a solid foundation. Five to six years ago, if you haven’t already noticed, I had a tendency to jump in head first for most things I pursued in my life!

That first year, despite it’s success, I over-reached and didn’t take into account the amount of time I’d need for editing and processing each commission while juggling full-time parenting, transitioning into a functioning military family, as well as preparing for our first posting to Petawawa, ON later in the year. I just kept taking on any and all work I could, but didn’t pace myself or my schedule. So I spent the better part of that first year staying up till three or four in the morning trying to catch up on editing and emails, while still getting up a few hours later with my baby girl and parenting the rest of the day. I was essentially a zombie and it took me about two years to fix my sleeping patterns after that, but only once I started to be more purposeful in my bookings and spreading my schedule out, learning from those previous mistakes.

  1. You grew up in St. Catharines, and then moved to Alliston while also spending time at your parents’ home along the French River. Now, you live in Petawawa. Out of all of the Ontario communities in which you have lived and spent time, which one do you think really shaped and contributed to your style as a lifestyle photographer?

Petawawa, definitely; It and the people that came into my life when we moved here, opened up my eyes to a completely different way of life that I previously didn’t even realize was possible. Transitioning my business from Simcoe County and the GTA up to Renfrew County and the Ottawa Valley pushed me right out of my comfort zones. It forced me to take a step back and re-evaluate everything that I was doing up until that point, to look at the market and demographic research in the area, testing out different marketing and advertising avenues that had proven successful in Barrie and Borden but did not connect the same way in the Valley. I had to adjust and learn how to be resilient in so many ways and it made me a stronger person in the end.

The different opportunities that also presented themselves almost three years ago now, made me realize how much I actually love shooting commercial and branding work! Shooting in my university environment was extremely stifling about 90 per cent of the time and truth be told, I really loathed my program for so many different reasons (and not always just for insecure and angsty young adult overreactions), so having the freedom to pursue this niche on my own terms was liberating and completely eye-opening. It allowed me to get to know a completely different side of myself that I didn’t even know was there and for that I am so, so grateful. I feel like I’m finally coming into my own skin and settling into a place of self-acceptance for the first time in years. This northeastern wilderness and isolation isn’t for everyone and I know there will be some that read this and laugh when they read my answer, but there’s something magical about this area and when I leave to travel for work or to visit family, it’s the closest I’ve found to the feeling of “coming home” whenever I return.

  1. In Petawawa, you live on an army base community withy our daughter Abigail and your partner, Mathew. What’s the community like there?

Quiet, haha!! It’s quite average actually, at least now for us since we’ve become accustomed to most things military. Helicopters and chinooks that fly over our house or when they’re out on the shooting ranges and you can hear the artillery in the distance, sometimes making our old post-WWII PMQ houses shake a little. It’s a lovely little spot to live in.

I do remember though when we first moved in, Abigail was visiting with my parents’ so I could focus on unpacking the house as fast as possible. Matt had just left to check-in to his unit on the base, leaving me to my own demises at the house; unbeknownst to me, though, was the knowledge of the A-Frame fighter jets that were in town doing an exercise which consisted of diving down low overtop the trees. At the time, I had no clue what a fighter jet sounded like flying through the sky at such a low altitude. I was walking down the main floor hallway to unpack the bathroom when I heard them go over and it scared me shitless; it was so loud and high-pitched, my instinct was to drop down onto the floor, thinking something was happening that shouldn’t have been. It was such a knee-jerk reaction but I’d never heard fighter jets up until that point!! I’d never even attended the airshow when we lived in Base Borden! I felt so embarrassed once I realized there weren’t any bombs falling out of the air and later when I told Matt what had happened, making sure he had comforted me and my initial panic first, he ended up busting a gut at the image I portrayed to him, which in turn, thankfully made light of the whole thing as I tend to be the more serious one in our relationship.

House hunting in Petawawa. Photo courtesy of: Amanda Urbanski Creative Photography.

That one minor experience aside, most people here tend to have a community mindset, sort of like we’re all in the same boat so if someone needs help, to ask your neighbour or reach out to fellow military spouses and families is not uncommon and instead encouraged, especially when your partner is away. Yes, the community can feel rather isolated at times, so amenities are a bit scarce in terms of options for shopping and restaurants, but it makes up in outdoor resources that are available to us – walking and hiking trails, beaches, rivers, stand-up paddling and kayaking, whitewater rafting – along with a few local gems in town and Pembroke (a town 30 minutes away from Petawawa), there’s no shortage of things to do outside, which having an active four-year-old, helps immensely ;).

  1. One technique you use is editing your photos to make them look like they were taken with film. What about film photography intrigues you and captivates your clients?

The feeling of nostalgia; that feeling when you find yourself at home looking through old photo albums of your childhood or going through an old shoebox of photographs, sifting through and holding each image in your hand, bringing it up to your face for a closer inspection and sharing or remembering stories from those memories passed. Photos in general for me are like looking at a timeline of a person’s life; telling a story and capturing a physical memory otherwise intangible to us, brief and fleeting even but instead making it tangible, allowing you to relive it over and over again, even when the people or places in those photos change, that feeling in that moment doesn’t, it stays consistent and familiar even when you might remember more details of that moment each time you revisit that image. You’re holding a physical tangible memory of them, of an experience, of a point in your life. Pieces where you can pinpoint innocence, bliss, growth, wisdom, change, love and even loss. The nostalgia of memories of family, friends, worlds explored, birth and death and a life well-lived, however that might look and feel to you.

Film photography for me is like the quintessential way of documenting pieces of the story that is the human condition and all of the magical and messy things that come with it. I’d like to think and hope that my clients see and feel those same things that I do, which is why they end up choosing to work with me; and not just inviting me into their most personal of moments and milestones within their lives, but entrusting me to capture their livelihoods, to document their most loved and cherished pieces exactly how they remember living them. Connecting on a much deeper level to the visual imagery, to that nostalgia, to their own memories and lives.

Emulating a film process in a digital world will forever be a lifelong journey and one that sometimes I feel I’m not even all that successful in achieving, giving it my due diligence of replicating it properly; short of returning back to shooting actual film, which is something I’ve started to do this year, at least for some personal projects to start. There’s just something about film photography that you cannot replicate in its entirety, it’s so much more, staying connected in the moment and trusting your execution instead of constantly checking the back of your screen. The experience shooting it is complete magic, let alone the final processes that happen while developing and printing.

  1. Do you have a favourite film photo? What is it and what is the significance of this photo?

There’s a few, but one that jumps out at me is one I have framed and hanging in my living room. It’s of my parents from the 90s. I was still a small babe at the time, so I’m not even sure who took the photograph itself. They’re embraced and kissing in our backyard, a rare sight to see on its own let alone to have it captured in such an earnest and genuine way. The photo isn’t technically strong, my parents aren’t even completely in focus but it’s the feeling I get looking at the photo. There’s a saying in the photography industry, “shoot how it feels,” and this photo is a perfect example of that.

The patio table my parents are sitting at, a spot where even in the heaviest and hardest of days, we would still gather for a family dinner in the setting summer sunshine, my dad BBQing baked potatoes wrapped in bacon and onion and Polish kielbasa that my Mama picked up at the Polonez deli on her way home from work, a simple but powerful ritual, sharing a meal together, something that I’m now trying to pass on to my own daughter. I can see the clothes line in the background behind my Mama, a spot where I used to run through fresh linen and towels that she’d hang in the summer sunshine, the smell of fresh laundry to this day being one of my favourite things in the world. The green hedges behind the clothesline where raspberries would forage their way through from our neighbours garden and I would pick once they were ripe enough to eat right off the vine.

This photograph is a fleeting moment and one that I didn’t actually live to experience or remember necessarily but it captures so much feeling and memory from my own childhood, a reminder of the better pieces of our life together that were filled with love and simplicity. I love looking at it up on my living room wall and even more so when Abigail will ask about it while we eat our own family dinner together, asking me to share with her more stories about when I was little, establishing a small piece of her own identity through the visual timeline up on our wall.

Amanda’s favourite film photo. Photo courtesy of: Amanda Urbanski Creative Photography.
  1. Being an artist and entrepreneur can be exhausting! Sometimes, it may be hard to find that motivation. Tell us about your creative inspiration – who or what helps get your creative juices flowing?

Stepping away from photography – going outside, creating with other mediums like painting, weaving, writing, yoga and movement in general – any opportunity to unplug and allow myself to remember to see the bigger picture. Getting lost in someone else’s world and seeing it through their eyes is also an incredible experience to jumpstart inspiration, whether it’s through reading or watching a movie or show. I just finished watching season three of A Chef’s Table on Netflix – bloody brilliant and not just in the way they filmed each episode but the stories from each chef and how they got to where they are today, how much they’re living their purpose, their why, their entire dreams in such a fierce and fearless way, it was breathtaking.

I’ve realized over the years and especially as of late, the goal at least for me is to avoid stagnation or monotony where it distracts me from “my purpose,” from my reason why I started shooting in the first place, why I started documenting and sharing stories, whether my own or others. It’s been crucial to realize and recognize my own bullshit so to speak and to work on being self-aware enough on a daily basis to know when to take a step back, to make changes or even to just start over again in order to encourage growth and make some necessary space to nurture creativity.

  1. Many of us nowadays have the ability to exercise our photography skills, especially as Instagram is the social platform at the forefront of the industry. How has social media impacted your brand as a photographer?

Oh man, it’s seriously hard to imagine life before social media. The impact has been huge on so many different levels, both positive and negative; Accessibility on a much larger scale (affordable advertising especially for smaller businesses just starting out, the possibility of reaching a global audience, connecting with like minded creatives and entrepreneurs) and to an instantaneous degree with the option to share whatever you’re working on, experiencing, heck, even thinking about right then and there. The ability to curate a smaller and more portable portfolio (Instagram) that interacts with the viewer in a more personal way rather than just (aesthetically) looking at your black-book of prints, giving access to clients and people, the person behind the brand and business so to speak. It can be a incredibly humanizing tool, ironically enough in such a digital medium, so much so that at times I feel like it’s really grown into it’s own world separate from real life but somehow is still very intricately connected to our reality.

I’ve found it to be a struggle as well though, learning how to manage my own expectations in terms of not attaching so much weight to the number of likes/followers/comments being of equal value to my success or self-worth; the quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy,’ being especially pertinent to this dialogue. It’s so easy to get swept up in the beautifully curated feeds where we might find ourselves mindlessly scrolling or passively interacting and sometimes temporarily forgetting that we’re only seeing one tiny piece of a much bigger, more complicated and sometimes messier puzzle (re: life in general). It’s something I’ve had to really sit back and re-evaluate in how to remove my emotional attachment and use social media as strictly a tool in order to use and connect with it in a much more purposeful and mindful manner.

  1. It’s easy to overlook how much time must be put into a social media strategy. How much time do you spend creating content for your Facebook and Instagram pages?

Admittedly, not nearly as much as I could or should! I could definitely put more effort into pre-planning especially in response to stats and analytics but I usually post organically in my day-to-day, taking about 15-30 minutes to pick a photo/find or write a caption/interact with other people commenting/surfing my own feed and interacting with other people’s posts. When I’m planning an event/retreat/campaign, that’s when I’ll sit down and look ahead to the kind of content I want to share and the kind of reach I want and need in order to help support the event, taking anywhere from a week to a month(s) of planning and shooting/creating content depending on the nature of the event. Otherwise when things are slower, I love going back through past galleries and commissions to upload or accompany a post. I always have a Google Drive folder with some images that jumped out at me while editing or processing work that I can access from my phone at any time.

  1. As a lifestyle photographer, you’ve dedicated your life to celebrating clients’ best moments. Describe some of the best moments you’ve captured?

There are so many!! It’s been so hard narrowing these ones down. I have to say the most recent was Megan and Matt’s first look during their wedding day in Niagara on the Lake in the fall of 2016. Not many clients tend to go for a First Look, usually sticking to tradition but everything about Megan and Matt’s wedding day was about breaking tradition and honouring their relationship and story together, which made for the most incredible day.

It was just the three of us at this beautiful park area called the Barracks, and the magic and emotion in the air was just electric when I let Matt know she had arrived and was making her way down the path towards him. To be able to be there to not only see the anticipation to just finally see each other but to document that first utterly genuine and sincere look in such a safe, intimate space, allowing them to simply be with each other was absolutely priceless, and yes, I blubbered like a fool from behind my camera. It was also this crazy, out of body experience in that I’ve actually known the bride, Megan, since kindergarten so it was like watching kid Megan blossom and step into adult Megan, hand in hand with her husband and partner for life in that moment, there’s no other way to describe it or the honour of bearing witness to such a moment.

Amanda’s favourite first look moment. Photo courtesy of: Amanda Urbanski Creative Photography.

Some other favourites have been the Finding Freedom Desire Map and SUP Retreat I co-hosted and photographed with one of my best friends, Courtney Sinclair of Court Outdoors. We spent the weekend at Northern Edge Algonquin, the most beautiful and magical mindfulness retreat centre located in South River, ON, with 18 attendees. Not only was it the most incredible weekend in general but again, bearing witness to each attendee who bravely shared their stories and the pieces that called to them to be there with us that weekend and being able to see and feel a shift in the way they carried themselves by the end of the weekend was just, there are no words for it.

Courtney and I came up with this idea to photograph each attendee and create a double exposure portrait out of it to later gift them with, a reflection of their inner landscapes, so to speak. I used landscape imagery and photos that I had taken over the weekend and coupled with the mental notes I made regarding each attendee’s story, stitched together each person’s portrait. Externally and aesthetically they might not resonate as deeply with those who don’t know the backstory but for myself personally, seeing the finished portraits was a powerfully empowering and artistically satisfying moment for me.

Some of Amanda’s favourite retreat photos. Photo courtesy of: Amanda Urbanski Creative Photography.

Some honourable mentions are the Groove Yoga Festival, which I shot last summer out in Sydenham [in Ontario’s Frontenac County]. It was just the coolest experience to photograph yoga in such a rad and chill capacity in an incredibly unique (outdoor) environment. Leading up to that weekend my practice was limited to our local yoga studio and the comforts of my own home so to be able to shoot and practice outdoors, in a barn surrounded by art and led by some of the most talented teachers was one hell of a moment for me!

One of Amanda’s favourite Groove Yoga Festival photos. Photo courtesy of: Amanda Urbanski Creative Photography.

Lastly, the first (and only) birth I photographed my first year going full time, it ended up being just me and the mama who was a military spouse (the bravest and strongest mama ever). They ended up inducing at the last minute and the timing of how everything had unfolded, her and her husband didn’t have family close enough to watch their boys. So I had the honour of being photographer/doula/partner etc, and stayed with her from 6:30pm when she was admitted up until 4am the following morning, once they were settled into the maternity ward, and let me just say, to witness a birth (instead of being the one delivering) was the most life-changing experience, which has stayed with me to this day.

Amanda’s first (and only) time photographing birth. Photo courtesy of: Amanda Urbanski Creative Photography.
  1. Recently, you’ve also become a certified yoga teacher! What’s the yoga community like in Eastern Ontario?

The community itself is pretty rad and quite active. I didn’t get back into yoga until we’d been posted to Petawawa and the local yoga studio, White Pine Yoga (where I did my RYT200 teacher training), was recommended to me as a place to start when I wanted to begin exploring our community. Although I was rather intimidated initially, there’s actually a pretty open-minded mindset here and I’ve learned so so much in just the short three years since I started practicing again. It’s opened my eyes to a completely different way of life that I hadn’t realized was even a possibility for me and from Kingston all the way to Ottawa and within Renfrew County there are some incredible people doing some amazing things, normalizing the idea of living a more mindful and intentional life, taking yoga off the mat and into our everyday.

  1. What sparked your interest to become an instructor?

Yoga actually came back into my life at a pretty pivotal point, shortly after we’d moved and it felt like I was starting over again. Things weren’t going as well at home as I would’ve liked and hoped for, between my relationship with Matt struggling to find it’s footing again and especially with Abigail, who was taking the move the hardest, being so far away from her family that she’d become accustomed to seeing daily. I began attending classes two to three times a week as a way to decompress from the stress and anxiety I had been experiencing. I had gone to classes in university but for the purpose of exercise and fitness – nothing spiritually related and certainly not in an attempt at becoming more mindful.

I had never ever even considered being a teacher let alone teaching others how to do yoga – I felt it was such a huge responsibility to share and guide something that could potentially impact and change someone’s life in such a way that it had my own. But with the confidence from my own teacher who suggested it to me, I eventually signed up. I was more interested in the journey of personal growth in the beginning and the more I found myself outside of my comfort zone, the idea of teaching yoga became less foreign and daunting to me. Eventually the fear of that responsibility has turned into wanting to share yoga with others, how much more to it there is then just another option for fitness and how much it’s positively impacted my own life along the way.

Teaching yoga. Photo courtesy of: Amanda Urbanski Creative Photography.
  1. What’s one benefit of yoga that you couldn’t function without? Why?

Mindfulness, hands down, without a doubt. I had an epiphany in my teacher training; Realizing that no matter what situation I might find myself in, what hand of cards I could be dealt, that I always have a choice even when I don’t feel like I do, and that choice is how I choose to react or rather, respond to it. It’s been a process learning not to react (emotionally) and instead acknowledge what I’m feeling and respond appropriately, but the ability to take yoga off of my mat and bring it with me wherever I go, literally living my yoga has been a game changer especially in my day-to-day routine.

  1. How do you manage your time as a business professional, partner, mom and yoga teacher?

I don’t, haha! I can’t lie, most days it can feel overwhelming as I tend to go 100 per cent all in, with whatever I’m doing, so balance (in the literal sense) is a term that tends to be used loosely at our house! Sometimes certain things have to take a back burner, so each aspect and especially each role I have, has a chance to thrive rather than just survive or struggle through to the next thing. Being self-employed has been the biggest test of every fibre of my being in so many ways imaginable. I’m at a point now where I’m finally learning to say no to things in an attempt to be more purposeful of what projects I pour my energy into, that take my time and attention away from my family. Learning how to implement boundaries so I can be more efficient in my communication and production and not feel guilty if I find myself in a scenario where I potentially can’t give a client or project 100 per cent of my heart and instead recommending someone who I know would be a better fit for the task.

In 2017 especially, I’ve tried to implement a proper routine (with the intention to actually stick to it) in hopes of being able to take better care of myself and my family. I’m taking a small sabbatical of sorts to help alleviate some of the stress as I have a tendency to over-commit myself and have learned that unless I carve out the time (aka book it, put it on the calendar, sign up for it) I will continue working usually at the expense of my own health. Oftentimes, the work ethic can be an asset in achieving goals but I’m reaching a point in my life where I’ve realized it can actually become a bit of a hindrance. Now that Abigail is in school, it’s made it a bit easier, since I can work during the day as opposed to at night, like I used to when she was little. I try to prioritize all work-related things and anything I want to do that I wouldn’t be able to while parenting, for the weekdays and leave weekends open to family time or shooting, depending. There’s a lot of trial and error and I’m still trying to change old habits to help manage my time more easily but baby steps.

  1. Most of the time, you work from your home office. What are the best and worst parts of this type of professional environments?

I can work in my yoga pants and have an endless supply of tea, hah! The best part is the flexibility of my schedule and being able to structure my day however needed. The ability to full-time parent while still developing my career and small business at my own pace is also a huge factor as to why I decided to work from home and travel when needed to!

The worst part is how isolating the job itself can be working from home. Although I love my time alone (introvert at heart) it can be hard to stay focused and motivated alone without letting my work/personal life overlap. Coupled with the odd times I find myself having to remind Matt and Abigail that when and if I am working in the office and they’re both home to respect the line, where although I’m technically physically there I’m not available to respond to all of their needs exactly at that moment – basically to pretend I’m not home. It’s forever been that elusive work/life balance that seems to be the struggle for me!

  1. What could Eastern Ontario use to help freelancers, entrepreneurs and at-home business leaders continue to excel?

More co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and creatives, especially in the more rural communities found within Renfrew County/Pembroke/Petawawa. The option to head out to a creative and inspiring space where you can work alongside others, network and build community, bounce ideas off of each other, an opportunity to offer support in general, in whatever capacity that could look like. There’s a Rising Tidy Society group located in Ottawa that is absolutely incredible and filled with some of the kindest and most talented creatives in Eastern Ontario but for somebody like myself who lives two hours away, to head out on a Tuesday night when my own husband doesn’t usually make it home till about 4:30pm on a good day, makes it exponentially difficult to participate. So if there was a casual space, something like Shecosystem in Toronto even, oh my heart would just sing and I feel like so many others would benefit from it too.

  1. What do you hope your involvement in the photography and yoga industries teaches your daughter, Abigail?

The perseverance and confidence to pursue whatever her dreams and goals might be, releasing the fear of failure and instead embracing it, celebrating each failure with pride for trying something new or different, for taking a chance to make her dream a reality, allowing herself to come to her own definition of what success is and what it means to her. I want her to have an unwavering sense of self and the bravery to embrace her uniqueness entirely, remembering always that she is her greatest teacher and capable of anything that she puts her mind to. To find beauty and compassion in everything and everyone she encounters, to look at the world objectively, curiously and lovingly. Most of all though, I want her to be happy in whatever she ends up doing.

  1. Describe the pressures you face as a working mom in booming industries, like photography and yoga?

The pressure to constantly stay relevant in a constantly changing and evolving world; To keep my online conversation going – shooting, sharing, posting, commenting and interacting – being innovative all while not letting my personal life or responsibilities, especially as a parent, affect my professional life. Again that elusive work/life balance, keeping your shit together no matter what crap sandwich you might find yourself being served that day or week, feeling the pressure to create and post content that you think people will like or connect with (instead of creating and sharing content that YOU like and connect with).

Sometimes I feel like I’m in a constant state of seeking validation for what I’m doing instead of being content with it myself, simply because I love what I’m doing and because it aligns with my dharma (my “reason why”) and not because I’ll receive accolades, published credit, likes or followers. Or the assumption (at times) to work at a discounted rate or for free even, for whatever reasons, whether because of how accessible it is to take a photo now, being guilted into contributing to a greater cause or simply because a person is questioning your value making you feel like you have to justify your pricing, talent and education.

It can be a hard path to navigate at times, to not lose sight of what matters most and believing in your own self, amongst all of the distracting noise that gets thrown at you daily.

  1. What do the next five years look like for Amanda Urbanski Creative Photography, your yoga practice and your life as a momma?  

Oh goodness, that is a really good question. So much can happen in just five years!! Right now, I hope I find myself in a place of contentedness and self-acceptance with whatever I’m doing and wherever I might find myself. Maybe, eventually teaching photography and mentoring more later down the road?

Just not restricting myself and keeping my heart open to life’s journey of creating and connecting in whatever medium and capacity I’m meant to. To continue living my yoga off the mat and being kinder to myself during periods of time where my physical practice might not be as consistent as I’d like it to be, to continue shooting yoga brands that align with my dharma and pushing my own comfort zone of becoming a more confident teacher and furthering my education and knowledge. To be a more patient, loving and present Mama to Abigail, continuing on this path of creating more time and space to connect with her on so many different levels, to experience life with her and through her eyes without distraction or the need to compensate in any way. Embracing the ebb and flow of the rhythm that is my life.

Amanda Urbanski Creative Photography on Instagram. Photo courtesy of: Amanda Urbanski Creative Photography.
  1. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

A huge thank-you especially if they made it to the end, reading through my rambling thoughts and answers haha! And so much love to you Leviana for inviting me to share some of my own story on such an incredible platform such as A Quarter Young. Lastly, just a quote, because they always sum up my feelings so much better than my own words ever do:

“You’re packing up your sleeping bag,

Your lantern and your tent,

And you’re off to find the life you lost,

But you’re not sure where it went,

And I hope those mountains teach you,

How to stand both tall and proud,

That you see your life much clearer,

With your head about the cloud,

I hope you swim through rivers,

With their currents swift and fast,

That they show you must be careful,

When you wash away your past,

I hope that you are humbled,

By the vastness of the sea,

That the eagles high above you,

Make you feel like you are free,

I hope when night has fallen,

And your fire’s just a spark,

That the stars shine to remind you,

That there’s beauty in the dark,

But most of all I’m hoping,

That you’re learning while you roam,

That no matter the distance,

You can always come back home.”

// e.h

We are so glad to have had the chance to share your story, Amanda. Thank you for your openness, humour, honesty, emotion, realness and for supporting A Quarter Young.

For more about Amanda Urbanski Creative Photography, visit and follow the brand on Instagram and Facebook.

Connect with Amanda directly on her personal Instagram here, and message her if you’re ever in the Petawawa area because, as she says, “Let’s grab a chai latte together and connect in person instead of on the interwebs!!”

Cheers to old friends, good stories and chai.


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