Artist Profile: Ophra Alexandra, Professional Photographer
Baby’N Blooming: A Look at Newmarket Photographer Ophra Alexandra’s Career
By: Valeria Nunziato // 08.12.20
In the heart of downtown Newmarket at the corner of Main and Timothy Street, on the second storey of a simple concrete building behind the dainty, lace draping decorating the windows, you will find a charming little photography studio designed and run by seasoned lifestyle photographer, Ophra Alexandra. Taking the professional photography world by storm under her own navigation, Ophra is a pro at finding new ways to be innovative in her industry.
Adding her own unique touch to the personal, candid stylings of newborn photography, Ophra uses handpicked fresh-cut flowers arranged in stunning silhouettes as the basis for each of her sets, offering an earthly aesthetic to those seeking something different. The contrast between her vintage florals, modern minimalist design and bright, airy editing style has made Ophra a ‘breath of fresh air’ and stand-out artist, contributing to the growing success of her most recent endeavour, Baby’N Bloom.
In a recent interview with Ophra, she admits that ‘professional photographer’ was not her original career goal. Ophra was born in Saskatchewan but spent the majority of her life in South Africa with her mother who made and sold bridal gowns and wedding cakes. She says the nature of South Africa as “such an arts and culture place” undeniably pointed her in the direction of pursuing the arts. Ophra initially fell in love with painting and never thought she would one day swap her paintbrush for a camera.
Her journey behind the lens began after getting an opportunity working as an editor at an upscale photo studio in South Africa. While she dabbled in photography as an undergraduate student, Ophra says being on the job learning hands-on skills is where she really took up the techniques she still uses in her work today. She was eventually nudged in the direction of leading her own shoots at the studio—which, she admits, were quite unsightly at the start.
After making her move back to Canada, Ophra worked as a photographer at Magenta Photo Studios at the Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, Ontario. While she loved her job, Ophra clung to the days she would attend craft shows with her mother, immersed in the glitter and glam of the wedding world. What started out as freelance wedding photography on weekends soon became Ophra’s full-time gig. She parted ways with Magenta to dedicate herself to Ophra Alexandra Wedding Photography. But after 6 years, Ophra was ready for something new.
Reflecting on her decision to start Baby’N Bloom, Ophra says she “immediately reverts back to those happy memories photographing families in-studio”—something she missed only photographing weddings. The inspiration for her first solo newborn session, and the muse behind Baby’N Bloom’s aesthetic, was based on Ophra’s own artistic vision for what she believed newborn photography should be. She hoped her clientele would desire the same look she envisioned—and they did. Through simply word of mouth, Baby’N Bloom snowballed, and Ophra found herself, again, dedicating all of her time to this new venture. It is not hard to fall in love with the ethereal look of her portraits; fresh and diverse in a sea of consistency.
When asked what keeps her propelling forward in her career, Ophra had one simple answer: “I love working with women at different stages of their life.” Whether it be photographing a bride on her wedding day or working with a new mom on a newborn shoot, Ophra enjoys sharing raw moments with each of her clients. She always feels emotionally connected to them, even shedding tears with them mid-shoot. And even though she loves the work she is doing now, Ophra shares that she is “excited for what five-years-from-now Ophra has in store,” but knows for certain that it will include working with women in some way or another.
If Ophra’s humility and passion for her craft have yet to move you, perhaps her dedication to supporting local businesses will. Working in arguably the busiest area of Newmarket, Ophra believes “there is a power to being surrounded by other small businesses.” Ophra uses her social media presence to share local food and small business recommendations with her thousands of followers. She is always looking for small business owners to work with and regularly shops local for flowers and other set pieces for her photoshoots.
Speaking to any up-and-coming photographers and artists, Ophra says always “know your worth.” While it can be difficult to separate the artist from the businessperson when starting a career in the arts, Ophra says the key is to value your work. “Artist hearts are restless,” she jokes—but the statement holds true for anyone who has chosen to dedicate their life to a career in the arts. There is always that new idea, aesthetic, technique, concept, or design that makes an artist stand out. And if Ophra stands for anything, it is to find what it is you love to do, really make it your own, and just do it.
All images by Ophra Alexandra.