Introducing New DIY Photography Columnist – JP Danko

As a long time reader of DIY Photography, I’m really excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the DIYP community of photographers and photography hackers on a regular basis.

JP Danko - blurMEDIA Photography

Your appearance now is what we call residual self image.  It is the mental projection of your digital self. 

– Morpheus to Neo

The Three Photographs That I am Most Proud Of

As an introduction, I thought that I’d share three of the photographs that I am most proud of.

Of course, for a photographer, choosing a favorite photo is like choosing a favorite child; that is, we love them all equally, only some more equally than others.

But, there are always a few photographs that stand out, because of the subject, the circumstances surrounding it, or just because it’s a killer photo.

These are not necessarily my best photos, or the most profitable, but they are my personal favorites.

1. Freestyle Black

Olympic Swimming - Freestyle Black

This image was from a personal portfolio piece I did with the McMaster University swim team

The concept was to take what would be a lit studio action portrait, and drop the whole thing, lights camera – everything – into the pool.

Needless to say, there was a lot of preplanning and prep work involved.  One of the biggest challenges was to design, build and implement a custom fibre optic trigger system for my underwater strobes (you can read more about that here).

I still love the aesthetic of the finished images from this shoot, and in the end I was able to leverage what started as a personal project into some of my most commercially successful images to date (which I think is pretty cool).

2. Livestrong Triathlon Portrait – Life After Cancer

Livestrong Triathlon Portrait

This is an action portrait that I made of a good friend of mine, purely for fun during a weekend at our family cottage.

At the time this photograph was created, my friend had just been given a clean bill of health after recovering from cancer treatment, and had decided to take up triathlons as a preventative measure.

I thought that it was very inspiring to see a guy embrace life in the present, in order to do what he could to create his own future, so I decided to lug all my gear up to the cottage, just to take what I hoped would be a really dynamic and motivational photo for him.

I made a huge print of the finished photo on aluminum, which now hangs in his office, and I ended up with a solid portfolio piece. 

3. Day at the Museum

Day at the Museum - Kids with Dinosaur

This is a photograph that I snapped of my family while visiting the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

I am particularly proud of this photo because I was able to mobilize the skills that I have as a commercial photographer and apply them to create what I think is a really awesome photograph of my own family.

As soon as I walked into the dinosaur exhibit, this is the photograph that I saw in my mind’s eye. 

The museum was packed with people, and I had to bribe my kids to pose with a toy and candy from the gift shop (they drive a hard bargain), but in just a few seconds (I think I snapped three frames while there was no one else in the way) I was able to set up, compose and shoot the exact image that I wanted to capture.

Find Out More

Here’s my official bio:

JP Danko is an award winning commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada.  JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand.

Most of that is true.

I did win a photography award once.

However, I am not just limited to using camels as light stands.  I have also used children, dogs, various items of furniture, fish…well maybe not a fish…yet.

I’m not quite based in Toronto either, that’s just the SEO talking…close enough though.

Like a lot of DIYP’ers I started my studio by building my own gear from hardware store odds and ends on a shoe string budget.  I don’t use my home made bounce umbrellas any more, but I still love tinkering with new and improved ways to create, control and capture light.

To see more of my work please visit our studio website at

If you want to connect with me, I would love some friends/ followers/ likes/ +1s/ mentions/ pins/ Tweets/ shares/ posts/ links / connections… or whatever other social media verb you can think of.

My work is available for licensing from Stocksy United:

  • sam

    welcome JP!

  • Mike DF


  • JP Danko

    Thanks everyone. Suggestions for articles? – Hit me up!