Bryanna Bradley Photography

Bryanna Bradley Photography. Cold Water Mermaid | TofinoBC |

Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario. Following high school, she went to college for photojournalism and continued to work as a freelance for a couple of years, following her studies until she bought a one-way ticket to Hawaii. She fell deeply in love with the ocean, surfing, the culture and lifestyle that stems from so much time in the water. 

It wasn’t until she moved to Tofino, British Columbia in 2015 that she wanted to start shooting in the water. she was so inspired by her friends surfing in cold conditions and wanted to capture it with her camera. She now continues to shoot with her friends regularly, but also have had the opportunities to travel all over the world for work. When she thinks about coming from a land-locked city to where she's at now, feel like the luckiest girl in the world! 

Tell us a bit more about the style of your photography? 

I am not sure I truly have a “style,” I mostly just have an endless love for changing light and how it adds so much richness to the beautiful things that surround us.  

Why do you decide to focus on surf and nature shots?

My focus on surf and nature photography came naturally, I fell so in love with where I live and the uniqueness of cold water surfing, I wanted to capture it through my photography it to share with the world. Now when I travel, although it is not always cold-water destinations, I am filled with this same curiosity 

What's the project you work or did that you are most proud of?

I don’t think I have any particular project I am most proud of. I have mostly focused on shooting women surfing since I began surf photography and I think I am just grateful to get to focus on such a beautiful and growing community.  

Can you tell us the challenges you are facing as a cold water surf photographer?

I think with any type of surf photography there are challenges, ranging from the surf conditions to the business side of things. Here in Canada, it is in fact freezing, and in the winter months when I am swimming, somedays I know I am playing with the fine line of going into a hypothermic state. That being said, we are lucky here in British Columbia as we may have to deal with a lot of neoprene and frozen extremities, but we don’t have to worry about sharks.

It's hard for a woman to get respect in the lineup as a photographer?

I don’t think this is necessarily true when I am shooting, maybe it is the places I am traveling or the people I am working with but for the most part surfers like getting their photos were taken and I haven’t had any negative interactions in the water while shooting. I try my hardest to be respectful and avoid breaks and destinations where I know people would be upset to see a photographer in the water. 

Working with global brands there is a market and desire to work with women surf photographers, so I have always felt there has always been room for me to celebrate my femininity as a photographer in and out of the water.

 What's the most memorable (bad or good) experience shooting in the water?

There are too many to name - a good sunrise or sunset session with friends is always unbeatable.

What your day to day looks like?

It depends on the time of year or what country I am in. Right now during quarantine here in Tofino, it usually looks like me waking up way too early and doing some yoga and a workout, or surfing or shooting. Then I usually jump on my computer to get caught up on work and see what the sunset light and conditions might look like later in the day. Lots of snacks are involved in this process. Not every day is perfect, but a lot of my time is spent coordinating with surfers to see if the conditions are right for shooting.

What or who inspired you? 

The community of Tofino is what inspired me to start shooting in the water, and pretty much ever since. It was my friends there that showed so much commitment and dedication to the sport of surfing, I wanted to capture the beautiful moments we all shared in the line-up. Now I have the privilege to watch the surf community grow and flourish, and it continues to inspire me to get out there and capture it all.

 What do you miss the most now being in quarantine?


What's the message you will want to share for women that want to get started in water photography?

To start with small goals when it comes to surf photography, find people that inspire you to shoot, and spend as much time in the water as possible. 

Anything you will like to share with us? 

Thanks so much for asking me to be on the Akela surf blog

Follow Bryanna on Instagram @bryannabradleyphotography