The SCHOOL OF THE PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTS: OTTAWA is teaming up with Ottawa's North Dal Shopping Night on Thursday, Dec. 8 from 4-9PM for our annual Holiday Print Sale. 

This event will include archival darkroom and digital inkjet prints by SPAO’s current full-time students, as well as works donated by our alumni and established artists in the community.

There will also be student-designed merchandise available, including sweatshirts, mugs and cards. Proceeds from this event will go towards the students’ year end exhibition. 

Join us for warm drinks, seasonal treats, and a unique opportunity to get your holiday shopping done. 

As a special gift to our community, SPAO will be offering a limited number of $100 SPAO gift cards at 50% off as well as giving one away!



The School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa is small, but pound for pound it’s among the most successful, unique art schools in North America. Now after 12 years of operation, SPAO is about to embark in it’s biggest community project ever!

SPAO is extremely excited to announce that after more than a decade in our existing space, we will be constructing a new facility and gallery space in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

The School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa has partnered with one of Ottawa’s most prestigious architectural firms, Barry Hobin and Associates Architects in order to realize the development of a new facility outside of the Byward Market. SPAO’s new location will be larger and will add new exhibition opportunities for Canadian visual artists as its latest contribution to the Ottawa community.

Concept drawings and location details for the new facility with be presented at:


When: Nov. 4th 2016, 3 - 9 pm

Where: 168 Dalhousie street, Ottawa

SPAO is an independent, not-for-profit photographic visual arts school and registered private career college, and offers some of the best programming of its kind in North America. SPAO offers both full-time and part-time courses.

For interviews and information contact



New to the world of the Digital SLR Camera? Digital Photography I: Foundations has you covered. Hoping to jump into the darkroom for the first time, or refresh old skills? Check out Film Photography Bootcamp or Classic Black and White: The Print. Looking for something a little different that will push you to take unique images? We'll be offering another session of our popular course Urban Vision. Lightroom I and Photoshop I will help you organize and process all the images you take this winter! 

Wanting to make a photography book or portfolio and not sure where to start? Students of our new workshop The Photography Book: Crafting the Visual Narrative will complete projects by March 2017. We're pleased to announce that we will be offering another session of the popular lighting course One Light Portraiture - sign up now to ensure a spot in the class! 

See you in the Studio, Computer Lab, and Darkroom!

SPAO Is Growing


We are pleased to announce the appointment of:

JONATHAN HOBIN as Creative / Executive Director

WHITNEY LEWIS-SMITH as Darkroom Instructor

OLIVIA JOHNSTON as Photographic History Instructor
JENNIFER MARTIN as Artist Residency Coordinator

"When I originally envisioned the school, I imagined a place where the culture of photographic arts would develop an entire community and that one day the students of the school would become leaders of that community. It’s a romantic narrative and one that is about to come into fruition. I am very excited to see my original mentee, Jonathan Hobin, as well as two of SPAO’s most promising graduates join the SPAO organization. We have assembled a great team in order to usher in the next evolution and growth at SPAO."
Founding Director / Director of Education and Mentorship

Monster, 2014,  Whitney Lewis Smith

Monster, 2014,  Whitney Lewis Smith

detail of image by Christine Fitzgerald.

detail of image by Christine Fitzgerald.

autumn offerings


We have everything from Digital Photography I: Foundation to Advanced Darkroom. Looking to embrace your creative self? Check out new workshops like Everything Macro, or old classics like The Art of Digital Printmaking.













The time has come for The School of The Photographic Arts: Ottawa’s 9th annual A+ Exhibition.
This is the ninth annual contest and exhibition of selected images from SPAO’s continuing education community. Every year, we invite students who have ever been enrolled in a part-time course of workshop to enter a maximum of five works. This year, we had three categories for entry: Silver Gelatin/Alternative Processes, Digital Print, and for the first time, Photo Book! 

Join us to celebrate the photographic work of our part-time students.

Exhibition Dates: July 8th to August 13th, 2016
Opening and Awards Ceremony: Friday July 8th
, 6-9 p.m. 

The 2016 Jury:
Joanne Rycaj Guillemette
Curator and Photography Archivist, Library and Archives Canada

Christian Lalonde
Head of Commercial Photography, PhotoluxStudio

Stephanie Germano
Manager and Exhibitions Programmer, Art Rental and Sales, Ottawa Art Gallery




CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION, Including the 2016 winners!


Photograph by SPAO Diploma Student: Neeko Paluzzi

Photograph by SPAO Diploma Student: Neeko Paluzzi

diploma program

Now accepting applications for the SPAO Diploma Program

SPAO’s two-year diploma program Photographic Arts and Production offers a unique opportunity to cultivate individual vision and craft, acquire comprehensive analogue and digital photography skills, and develop a broad understanding of photographic theory and history.

The only program of its kind in Canada, SPAO's Photographic Arts and Production offers students an intensive, community-oriented and collaborative learning experience. Educated and evaluated in large part through their performance, students develop and present portfolios and signature pieces and present these works in the school's exhibition spaces. Teaching and learning take place in a workshop environment designed to support the school’s motto: Vision, Content, Craft.


School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa • 168 Dalhousie Street Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 7C4 (613) 562-3824