Allison Seto grew up excelling at everything she did and ended up finding a passion in photography. But now, she struggles with over criticizing her work as a freelance photographer.

The desire to excel came from her parents – who both came to Canada from China. They adopted a traditional way of raising their children, which ultimately pushed Seto to be the best she could be.

Whether it was math or music, Seto always put her all into it.

“With piano I had to be the best, I would enter contests and come in either first or second – so usually I did pretty well,” Seto said.

She also recounts her experience with playing golf while growing up. Though she didn’t really enjoy the sport, she stuck with it because she was good.

At the age of age of 13, Seto finally found something that truly struck her passion.

She first got into photography when she found her family’s digital camera. “I would bring it to school and parties,” she said. “I think I was pretty obsessed with making sure things were documented.”asSeto takes advantage of excellent lighting while shooting her photos. Photo by Abbygale McGillivray

Seto recalled her trip to San Francisco as being the moment she realized photography was what she wanted to pursue.

“I remember my siblings standing on the other side of the road in front of some houses that looked really cool so I took a picture and that was when it all clicked for me.”

While her dad was constantly filming all major events such as birthday parties, Seto had discovered her desire to be the one who could record moments similarly.

Nostalgia and preservation are major forces in her passion for photography, stating “Catching a very specific moment in time is what I enjoy doing.”

Seto attended the University of Calgary for business. It was around this time that she realized her heart was set on following her passion.

“I started to think about what I really wanted to do with my life and there wasn’t really anything else I wanted more than I wanted to do photography.”

Now she’s a part-time freelance photographer in Calgary and uses her business degree to help run her photography business. “I remember my siblings standing on the other side of the road in front of some houses that looked really cool so I took a picture and that was when it all clicked for me,”- Allison Seto.

Most of her work focuses on wedding, engagement and concert photography. It isn’t rare for her to work on corporate or personal shoots as well.However, Seto often finds herself struggling with her own criticism, frequently getting down on her work.

“I think the hardest part is your own brain,” she said. “Sometimes it can get you a little depressed about your work.”

Having plenty of friends that are also in the same industry doesn’t make it any easier for her. She finds that she can get caught up in comparing her work to others wondering, ‘what am I not doing enough or what do I need to do differently.’

Seto’s good friend and videographer Brock Mitchell has seen this firsthand. “She dismisses all the accolades so that she can look further and keep going, not resting on her laurels.”

“She doesn’t feel she has achieved her best yet. However we all know that whatever she’s striving for is beyond the moon,” said Mitchell. “She’s already achieving success.”

Despite being over critical of her work, Seto is finding it motivates her to do her best,

“It makes me want to keep trying and keep pushing to be better at it.” 

The editor responsible for this article is Mary Yohannes and can be reached at 

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