Twenty-one-year-old Warwickshire photographer is star of TV shows and a hit with celebrities.
At seventeen, let’s face it, most girls dream of meeting famous footballersand celebrities and appearing on TV. Well, for award winning Stratford photographer Sophie Taylor, those dreams have come true many times over and she’s still only twenty-one!
Sophie, who works as an associate photographer at Warwickshire’s AvonStudios, has not only met a host of stars, she’s photographed them, beeninvited into their homes, captured their families on film and can now seethe fruits of her labours gracing their walls in the form of enormous artgallery style canvases. This is a girl who not only has achieved herlifetime ambition, but looks set to continue making her dreams reality foras long as the enthusiasm, ambition and talent are there!
Sophie began her photographic career at seventeen in fact, it was whileshe was on work experience at Avon Studios from Stratford College that shehad her first brush with stardom. The stars in questions were five minutewonders and now, four years later few people will remember who they were.But it was the beginning of a love of photography, a desire to capture amoment in people’s lives, to encapsulate the essence of the subject, thatwas to blossom over the coming years.
The stars were Hear’ Say, the winners of TV’s Popstars – the precursor ofthe X factor and the numerous pseudo celebrity talent shows it has spawned.
She says her experience of snapping the musicians, combined with her timespent on wedding and portrait shoots during her two week work experiencestint, confirmed her determination to make photography her career once she has finished college.
A year later she found herself the youngest ever winner of a prestigiousnational wedding photography competition which saw her taking a trip to Japan as part of her prize.
And a year after that, Sophie became one of the youngest ever photographersto become a qualified member of the industry’s only professionalphotographic organisation the Master Photographers Association.
Within the last twelve months she’s made two TV appearances one on national prime time television with presenter Matthew Kelly.
Sophie and her boss Andrew Sheppard were asked to donate a prize a £1,000 photoshoot with Sophie – to be auctioned on the special charity fundraising ITV Show Everything Must Go, which encourages householders to declutter and sell theitems. “It was great fun taking part,” said Sophie. “Matthew Kelly wasco-presenting the show and he chatted really informally to all of us joining in. It was an honour to be asked to donate a prize to raise money for theMuscular Dystrophy Campaign.” Sophie was also the focus of a feature on ITV’s Central News whichconcentrated on the success and popularity of her lifestyle portraitphotography and accompanied her on a photoshoot in Stratford’s Bancroft gardens.
And her work has also graced the pages of national wedding and lifestyleglossies from Wedding and Home to Homes and Gardens.
Not bad for a girl who’s only been doing this professionally for four years.
As with all good businesses, word of mouth plays a major part in the success of Avon Studios’ and Sophie’s success. She and Andrew are very busy withtheir contemporary wedding photography which is much in demand. Between themthey have photographed a number of celebrity and society weddings throughout the UK and as far a field as the USA, Singapore and the Islands of the Indian Ocean.
Sophie is keen not to namedrop mainly to protect the privacy of people whomay be stars but who want to celebrate personal events out of the public eyeand have chosen Avon Studios to photograph their weddings and childrenbecause they combine expertise with discretion. But suffice to say premiership footballers and TV stars are among the celebrities who’vebenefited from Sophie’s photographic skills. And of course, once onefootballer has huge canvas wraps of his family dotted over the walls of hisluxury pad then fellow sportsman can’t help but enquire who took them and so the success of word of mouth snowballs!
One of Sophie’s key strengths – as well as her skills at composition andcapturing the moment – is her ability to deal with people, help them feelrelaxed and get the best results. Her big sisterly approach makes herextremely popular with children who need to be happy and spontaneous for theportrait to convey a real sense of personality.
“I believe photographs should say something about who you are and what youdo. They should conjure up memories when you look back at them in years tocome and capture important moments in your life”.
“We encourage our clients to be photographed in unusual settings. We’ve gota gorgeous studio with wooden floors and minimalist furniture but we alsotake photographs against less obvious backdrops such as a rusty fire escapeor a splintered door to add texture and interest.”
“We take a lot of photographs in clients’ gardens or homes, in thecountryside near our studio, at places like Warwick or Kenilworth Castle,the Shakespeare properties and National Trust houses. We’re really luckywith the settings we have available and different people feel relaxed indifferent environments.
“It’s important the session is fun and relaxing – particularly with children tears, grumpiness and coercion don’t make for a good photo a totallynatural smile is a million times better!”
A recent innovation in photography is the advent of the canvas wrap a verymodern take on the now rather outmoded canvas bonded print a large modernart style frameless canvas often in black and white and the kind of thingmore often seen adorning the walls of a bistro or art gallery. Sophie’s style suits this very modern medium, which is becoming increasingly popular among those who want family portraits but are, understandably, averse tosprawling on sheepskin rugs in their Sunday finery!
The same goes for Sophie’s wedding images. Her work is a far cry from the stuffed suits in a line approach of old. Her works capture the freshness ofthe day, the excitement of the occasion, the enthusiasm of the happy couple.
“Many brides like the idea of having a female photographer as part of theteam who can spend time with her in the morning as she gets ready while themale photographer gets together with the groom and best man. We’ve certainlyfound the brides feel very relaxed when I chat to them and photograph themas they get ready,” said Sophie.
And her next challenge? Well that would be telling. But let¹s just say if Hello! magazine knew she’d be very much in demand!
For more information on Sophie’s portrait and wedding photography and on AvonStudios visit www.avonstudios.co.uk or call the studio on 01789 470663.