I Won the Contest!

I’ve been secretly composing this victory email in my head for a while now…but didn’t want to write anything down just in case.
So here we go!

First off I want to thank a TON of people.  (And forgive me now if I’ve momentarily forgotten all your hard work promoting me!)

To everyone who voted–YOU are responsible for my success!   Without your support and loyalty I wouldn’t have made it past the first round.   If I could give each one of you a hug I would…in fact feel free to ask for your hug if you see me sometime!

To my husband, Ken, for being the best, biggest, most emotionally invested cheerleader for Team CDP!   I don’t see this guy get upset very often so it meant a lot to see him get angry for me when I was disappointed and get teary when I was successful!  (Oh wait…you weren’t teary.   My mistake.)

To my other big cheerleaders–my sister Catherine, my parents (my Dad opened an FB account just to vote for me), and my niece and nephews who actually posted stuff on their FB wall for me.  To my extended family Julia, Carolyn, Debbie & Kristi for totally having my back!   And thank you to the friends who tirelessly shared my FB posts—Annie, Tiffany, Bre, Christina, Susan and a ton of people I know I’m forgetting–actually about 30 of you.  Literally there are 30 of you who shared stuff and I can’t remember now…

Thanks to a few groups who took up my cause–like the 270 Sherman admin who always forwarded my emails and reposted my FB posts!  As well as the crazy gals at Dick&Janes and Charmed Events Toronto/Ottawa!

A HUGE thank you to White Elephant on James St N in Hamilton for the unlimited use of their amazing selection of vintage clothes and accessories!  Hollie–thank you for being excited with me and there for me to brainstorm with!

For every shoot I had to enlist the help of a lot of people!   First off, thank you to my assistant Rita and Huyen (and Anna) who helped carry crap, take care of dogs and chickens, fix hair etc.   Thank you to my nephew Caleb for driving his big ol’ pick up to my house in Hamilton for a 30 minute shoot and to my neighbour Kathryn who unquestioningly let me borrow her little dog, Moxy, for one shoot (that sadly never saw the light of day ):      Thanks to Ian and Anne Jones who let us all onto their property to use their amazing cabin for the first shoot—and for letting us stress out your chickens even further!    And again, thanks to 270 Sherman for the unlimited use of their building and property!

Thank you, of course, to my models!!!  Thanks to the ever-lovely Bre & Josh, the gorgeous Ruth and the mesmerizing twins Sarah and Jillian (and their amazing supportive parents Sheila and Doug!)   And special thanks to Karyn & Nic whose images didn’t make the cut for the contest–but certainly made the cut for ME professionally–you can see some of their lovely shots here.

Thank you everyone for every single Facebook thumbs up, wall post, comment, and message.  Thank you for every single text message, phone call and email and to those of you who have been privately following the action, watching webinars, asking friends and family to vote–I know who you are–thank you!  Every little nugget of encouragement and enthusiasm helped spur me on and pushed me to work harder, dream bigger and bug you harder for votes…

Thank you to my peers who I was competing against–especially Angela and Brittney.  Your amazing skill and creativity and drive really made me work by butt off!   Beyond the first round, I really had no idea who would move on because you’re all so talented!

Finally–thank you to the judges at Chic Critique and to Kelli (and Matt) France for all their hard work pulling this together through time zones, technical difficulties and delinquent participants!    You run an awesome magazine that inspires a lot of women and now you’ve successfully run a fun, exciting competition that hopefully I’ll be judging in next year…?  Please?

During the last webinar I was asked what I learned about myself…and what I kind of wanted to say was that I learned I have a huge support group behind me when, you know…being human, I just assumed I was more or less alone most of the time.   It’s the nicest thing to find out I’ve been wrong.



  • Prize pack (see below) valued at over $1000
  • Winner will become our next Celebrity Photographer (which will require at least one month of paid critiquing)
  • Images featured in January issue of Chic Magazine!

If you’re not a photographer you won’t fully appreciate all the amazing goodies I won–but on top of these awesome prizes I also get to work alongside a lot of women photographers who I have admired for a long time.  And that’s the biggest prize for me–just being able to be around some real heavy-hitters, soaking up their knowledge and learning from their experience.  I’m so pumped!  See–there I am below beside some awesome ladies include the editor of Chic Critique, Kelli France.   Here’s the link to my page on the site: http://chiccritiqueforum.com/classes/claire-dam

I am scheduled to start with Chic Critique in November–so if you or anyone you know wants to be my guinea pigs and receive constructive and entertaining feedback on YOUR work–sign up today!

Ok–I have to get back to reality and return about 40 emails and edit…um 15 sessions.   No biggie.




One thought on “I Won the Contest!

  1. Emma said “Of course she did!”. The Riley family sends a ton of love and congratulations to you. Can’t wait to see what comes next for you. Super proud and a little teary. Gosh, I’m getting old and cheesy:)

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