Hello! My name is Scott Harrald and this is my first blog post; the first of a three part series about my return to school to follow my passion for photography as a mature student.

New Beginnings

While my interest in photography goes back to my early teenage years, my story really begins with my retirement in 2017, a failed marriage and a global pandemic…sounds pretty interesting, right?  In short, I had a lot of spare time on my hands. So, what did I do? In the fall of 2020, I went back to school as a full-time student at Humber College’s Photography Program.

My Passion

When I was younger, I largely saw education as something that needed to be done, I really didn’t feel passionate about any particular field of study, however, photography has been one of those hobbies that I picked up as a child that resonated with me.  Forever drawn to the images of National Geographic or various sports magazines, I wanted to learn how to capture moments like this and be able to share them with the world.

Like most, my photography journey started with simple point and shoot cameras and I went about capturing my world.  The internet, digital photography, smart phones and social media didn’t exist.  Self-taught, my journey was through trial and error and many trips to the library.

Even as recent as to starting my photography studies at Humber, much of what I shot was based on ambient light and genres that were easily accessible to me like: landscape, travel, street photography and sports.  I created images largely for myself, but I knew there was a whole other world of commercial photography that I wanted to explore.


I’m currently in my final semester of Humber’s two year Photography Program; and while the journey over these past two years has been nothing but rewarding, I can’t believe that I almost decided not to embark upon this journey due to personal doubts and insecurities.  Was I too old to return to school? The internet barely existed when I last graduated from university.  Would I be able to adapt to online education? As a mature student, what would it be like to be one of the older (questionably wiser) students amongst my peers? Would I find the process of going back to school simply too encumbering or restrictive to a daily routine I had become accustomed to over decades of tending to a career?

Fortunately, thus far, any reservations I had have been unfounded.  While the global pandemic pushed most schooling and business to online platforms, I’ve discovered that I actually prefer not having to commute to campus to attend lectures that appear to be running quite well online while still allowing for class participation through both chat and verbal interaction.  Yes, while I definitely miss the normal social interaction that a full “on campus” curriculum would provide, I’ve found that it has made those fewer live social interactions more special and memorable.

The Future

With graduation only a little over a month away and a global pandemic that seems to be winding down, I feel confident that my Humber photography journey has provided me the technical skills and pushed me creatively to be successful as a commercial photographer.  While my studies have provided me with a strong foundation for working with ambient light in genres such as photojournalism, architecture or event photography — studio based coursing while working with strobe lighting has opened entirely new worlds of portraiture, fashion, beauty and product to me.

I’m excited to see where this new chapter takes me.

Let me know, what has your photography journey been like over the pandemic?  Have you ever thought about attending coursing for photography?

Upcoming Photography Blogs

Continue to follow my journey as I highlight my experiences and thoughts with learning to work with artificial strobe lighting in studio as well as environmental photography outside of the studio and working with natural light!

This blog is a revised narrative from Scott Harrald’s blog, “Education and Upgrading during a Global Pandemic” that appeared on Tdot Blog Toronto.