Prices + Booking

Meet Abby Cooper

Creative Elevation Camp Host Photographer


Meet Abby Cooper. Photographer. Creative Director. Producer. Editor-in-Chief. Snowboarder. Dog Mom. Friend.

And the host of Creative Elevation Camp, our newest curated trip with aspiring photographers in mind, at McGillivray Pass this September 20th to 23rd.

Abby’s learned a thing or two through her 14 years of experience as a professional photographer specializing in the outdoor industry – specifically remote backcountry locations. She often wears many hats as a sought after creative director, who specializes in shooting campaigns in the wilds of BC and beyond. A big believer in community, Abby has a zest for connecting, creating and uniting both creatives and backcountry users. She has hosted backcountry connection events with Arc’teryx and Avalanche Canada and has mentored many in the creative space.

This Fall, she’s combining her passion for photography and community connection and leading our Creative Elevation Camp at McGillivray Pass Lodge. Whether you’re working on career confidence, organization and/or professional approach, this skill-based trip is all about growth in your photography career through immersive workshops and hands-on sessions tailored to creatives who would like to pursue adventure photography.

We sat down with Abby to ask some hard hitting questions and give you some insight into what you’ll be able to take away from the Creative Elevation Camp.


What inspired you to specialize in outdoor adventure photography and remote logistics production?

Unquenchable curiosity I suppose. I’ve always been inspired by the connection between humans and landscapes – primarily through travel and sport. The interaction between the two and the long-lasting impression from the experience is something that I crave to feel and capture through my work. The more work I put into the research to find the “perfect location” or more realistically “the most interesting landscape” the more I can fully connect and embrace where I am – because I absolutely want to be there exploring. It’s addicting :). 


Can you share a memorable, challenging or wacky experience you’ve had while on a photography shoot or trip?

I think each and every one falls into this category. My “normal day” of work is always far from normal or repetitive. Whether crew, logistics, weather or the awkward body positions for the desired angle, there’s always something that makes us laugh, keep the crew on their toes and appreciate the opportunity to be somewhere special. 


What are some factors you consider when preparing for an outdoor shoot?

Running the risk of being a nerd (I am), but safety is number one. It’s easy to look on a map or online and find a beautiful location, but approaching it safely is always front of mind. Identifying hazards whether that be avalanche danger, wildlife or crew dynamics. I look to what I do as both passion, career and somewhat of my identity – I want to ensure good practices for myself, the entire crew and the environment. 

Beyond safety, I’m always thinking about those moments of interaction. How do the creative objective and physical objective intertwine? I love mapping this out in a preproduction visual format.


What equipment do you consider essential for outdoor adventure photography?

Gear built for the elements. Including your cameras with extra batteries, a comfortable and protective camera pack, first aid gear and of course gear for yourself to stay comfortable in the elements. 

I’m a sucker for prime lenses, but camera gear and your quiver is often person depending on what you prioritize and what has the best grip – I think there are more than one good option for camera bodies and lens setups, so I’ll leave that out of here, but here are a few of my favourite non-camera gear essentials that are perfect for a September to match the course dates. 

Pack: Any of the Fstop Mountain Series

Sunscreen: Freaks of Nature is the only thing that actually stays on and protects with out taking up tons of space or feeling like a coat of grease, big fan.

Puffy: always in my bag as a back up is an Arc’teryx Cerium 

Gore-Tex Shell Layer: remote locations call for wild weather, being prepared for rain and wind is a must. I’m a big fan of the Alpha lineup

Shoes: Heavy bags and wild terrain call for support, the Aerios GTX shoe is my more go-to.

Boots: A lot of time I’m getting into the muck and the water – for everything tuf, dirty and non-hiking I live in xtratuf boots.


How do you approach capturing both the grand landscapes and behind the scenes moments during your adventures?

Oh my! Honestly, I usually rely on a production assistant for the funny BTS or those around me. I find my head is so in the game I forget to pull my phone out unless we’ve fully entered a whacky off-brand moment where my camera is away lol. Often during the commute. 


What are some tips for aspiring outdoor photographers who want to improve their skills?

This might sound crazy, but practice empathy. Instead of only thinking about what you’re good at and who you want to work with, think about the opposite. What could you improve on (technique, action, lighting, ect.) and why would someone want to work with you (in a symbiotic relationship)?


What are the ethical and safety considerations you keep in mind when photographing in natural environments?

Crew ability, changing weather, varying terrain, crew dynamic and camera pressure, wildlife, environmental impact, first aid, evacuation plan – the list goes on! It’s really about being sustainable in my planning and execution for all. 


What advice would you give to someone looking to turn their passion for outdoor photography into a career?

Mentorship and learning opportunities are everything. It’s hard to grasp the opportunities, workflows and realities if you can’t see and feel it first hand.


If this has peaked your interest or you have an aspiring photographer in your life, inquire at about our Creative Elevation Camp.