Community The Little Girl in the Lunchroom becomes an Award Winning Photographer

Sophie B is a people person. She invests a lot of time in every client and genuinely loves taking photos. Sophie finds herself involved in very interesting projects that require imagery to capture what people do and how they do it, visually. She is also responsible for preserving those special moments in life that immediately become the memories we all treasure, and she knows it.


Sophie is Dynamic and Prepared: "I finish with the same level of energy that I started with."


The Importance of Mentorship

Sophie has just celebrated 10 years of her business, and mentorship has played a big part in building her confidence behind the lens and in administration.

The little girl in the Lunchroom

"This will be the title of my picture book. It is inspired by my time spent at my Dad’s factory when I was young, where all the migrant workers gathered to eat lunch and chat. I learnt a lot about people, cultures and immigration in Australia. I was the little girl in the lunchroom and it gave me an insight into just how different people are and how everyone needs to be treated as individuals with respect and kindness." says Sophie.

From that little girl in the lunchroom to the professional photographer based close to the bush and river in southern Sydney, Sophie B has the levels of energy that only the Duracell Bunny can sustain. She describes herself as a little ‘kooky’ with an off-centre personality. Her laugh is infectious, her mindset determined, and she sits more on the spectrum where the sun shines. Sophie has always loved photography and was 14 years old when she received her first camera as a gift! A Kodak Disc camera.

Growing up in the Sutherland Shire, Sophie enjoyed taking photos at school events and then saved money from part-time jobs to buy her first Canon SLR camera in 1994.

Sophie then went on to have an eventful career in marketing and advertising in the automotive industry, but it was when she became a mother to her third daughter that she was gifted with her first Canon Digital SLR!

In 2009, Sophie B Photography was launched.

Ten years on, Sophie continues to enjoy her passion for photography and has photographed so many events for businesses, fabulous weddings and diverse families in the Sutherland Shire, St George and Illawarra areas. To celebrate 10 years in business, Sophie entered the Sutherland Shire Business Awards - 2019 and SHE WON! This has given Sophie the recognition that all of her customers already knew to be true. In March 2020, Sophie B Photography has been nominated for the Brides Choice Awards for the Sutherland Shire and will be attending the award ceremony in May at Rydges Cronulla.

"I am a fresh, bright and crisp photographer." Says Sophie, which accurately describes what you are met with as she walks through the door.

Perfectionism.

Sophie fights perfectionism, sharing how sometimes she captures an image different from the image she wanted to create. Instead, her experience and natural talent allows her to capture the experience in a more natural, artistic way. “The movement of a young boy’s hand in a family portrait reflects his fidget filled energy on the day, or hair across the face of a bride as she embraces the elements of the occasion, are at certain times the right thing,” Sophie says. It really depends on each client and that’s where Sophie keen, discerning eye is acutely activated.

Hero Shot.

Sophie is constantly on the lookout for her hero shot of the shoot. “It’s one of those pictures I see when I am reviewing the images captured at the shoot and culling the shots that didn’t make the cut. It’s the action, emotion or look that immediately evokes emotion that tugs at my heartstrings.” Says Sophie.

“My favourite customers to work with are ‘everybody’ but one of my favourite clients is a Bride.”


She told us how one of her recent wedding shoots started with a bride in tears but ended with a woman who couldn’t have been happier. She recalls; “Her wedding day was remarkable. Every aspect attended to with detail. I arrived and saw my bride with tears in her eyes, the rain had been falling for days and the ground saturated. She was weighing up her options when it all became too much.” Says Sophie.

“I took her aside and held her hand and said to her “where do you want to get married,” she said ‘the gardens’. I said fine, let’s do it. So, we contacted the wedding celebrant, grabbed a pile of umbrellas from my car and went to the gardens. There were some periods of sunshine but some of the best shots were with the congregation under the umbrellas, ‘come rain, hail or shine, I make it happen’. They got married in the rain and it was one of the most beautiful things I have seen, and it was an honour to capture their day through my lens.”

Expectations.

Sophie prides herself on meeting deadlines, always delivering on time, and remaining on schedule. Her corporate background in marketing and advertising has helped anticipate how to help her clients because she doesn’t have to ask having been through many events and experiences that her clients are going through, herself. “I just know what is going on in the background and I take the photos that I wanted to have taken for me in those moments.”

Sophie’s role in photographing at all forms of events, commercial or private, is crucial to showcasing the relevant people in that critical moment or capturing that second where someone is receiving an award. “You just don’t get a second chance and it’s a responsibility I’m entrusted with. For example, during the ceremony at a wedding, there is always anticipation just before the bride and groom kiss and I have to be in a position that doesn’t block the congregation's view.”

She has also demonstrated her ability to adapt to the change in factors like weather and location. As we can all attest, despite the best plans for an event or occasion, cars breakdown, there are tantrums, weird family dynamics and Sophie has seen them all.

“I’m not a just turn up on the day kind of photographer. I fully understand expectations and find that enables me to adapt and overcome any obstacles that I may face.” Says Sophie.

“I just make things happen and deal with it. I have the confidence to take control of situations so my clients feel safe and they know that someone else has their back. I stay calm, I’m prepared, and have a contingency plan B, C and D if things do happen.” Says Sophie.

Sophie always carries a sewing kit in amongst all her camera gear. On the day of the wedding, she even has a selection of earrings and tissues for the mother of the bride in her bag.

THE CREATIVE PROCESS

“If I had to explain what I do it would resemble that of a painter. I start with a blank canvas and imagine what images I want to take and I create it from there. A long walk before the shoot helps me visualise the shoot. I imagine the types of images that I will create and anticipate how my photo session will unfold. I always think of the quote by Benjamin Franklin ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’.”
Sophie has a stringent routine in preparation for a shoot. “I clean every piece of my equipment so that it’s ready to go the next day. I sync all my cameras and the camera of the other photographer if there are two of us. I am dedicated to achieving the best results for my clients and I have a strong passion for doing things right the first time.”

Sophie’s day may end late and start early, but she is diligent in backing up files at the end of every day, as she understands just how important each individual photoshoot is. She takes that responsibility seriously. “I download, back up, back up again and back up off-site”. She is known for her knack in capturing ‘that moment’ where eyes meet, hands touch, the wind blows and the sun gleams. Whilst much of the skill and technique are crucial on the day, much of the work also happens during the edit in post-production.

After the shoot Sophie B spends hours reflecting, culling and editing. Her creative process is incredibly strategic. She starts by downloading and importing into Adobe Lightroom before culling the photos. All photos are in time order and renamed for cataloguing. “It really is like being a storyteller and creating the storybook.” Says Sophie.

There are a couple of thousand photos taken at every wedding, hundreds for portraits or products, and she is very aware and conscious of what shots she wants and needs.

“I go through each photo one by one looking at each one to determine their exposure and composition. Whilst a shot may not be perfectly aligned in the frame, I might see a portion of that photo that will be perfect if it is cropped or zoomed in. I zoom in closely and remove pilling on a suit jacket or perhaps a hair that has fallen across the face of my subject. I zoom in on the eyes and remove mascara dots underneath, or shadows from lighting. I won’t get rid of birthmarks, but if people have blemishes I am careful and consult with them to see if they want them removed. But, if the mother of the bride has her bra strap showing - I will remove it. Keep it natural and looking fabulous.”

The Best Thing about The Shire

Sophie has been a ShireWomen member since May 2019. She is grateful for the educational value and enjoys proactively networking. “The Coffee and Connect events allow me to meet new people and collaborate with other businesses in the shire. I really enjoyed the recent presentation by Jess Cook from Socially Squared about Social Media and every month I walk away learning something new that I can apply to my business. When I’m not shooting the event, I enjoy sitting with the other members and visitors. I particularly enjoy learning about the other business in the area and feel that I have grown my business connections. I enjoy the ‘organic’ approach to networking with ShireWomen rather than a ‘forced’ approach to meeting new people. Overall, the support and promotion for sole business owners has enabled me to build new relationships within the business community. “

How do you stay on top of it all?

“I am constantly improving my skills. I’m attending two workshops in the April/May 2020 focusing on Portraiture and Flash Photography. I made a commitment to myself after I finished university in the early 1990s that I would constantly learn. I have been a very active member of the Shire Amateur Photographers' Society (SAPS) since 2008. I recently published the 5th edition of 'The Book' for SAPS titled ‘Across the Plains’ - a collection of images of the members of the Society. I have a strong network of other photographers that I stay connected with. We learn from each other. I recently starting using a new Studio Management Software System that is helping me manage my leads, jobs, quotes and invoicing. It’s now all in one place. After one month of using the software, I’ve already saved so much time concerning the administrative aspect of my business. This means I can focus more on the creative areas more and more. “

Moving forward in 2020, Sophie is focused on building her commercial portfolio. In recent times she has projects for The Kids Cancer Project for their upcoming Pirate Day campaign, real-estate style photography for a window installation company, headshots for a city-based legal firm and marketing and website material for an established Financial Services company. Sophie is also working on projects for ShireWomen members, Sarah Yarrow Interiors, Socially Squared and PurpleBiz. It goes without saying, that every day is different for Sophie B!

Sophie B Photography is open to all sorts of opportunities related to photography including Weddings, Corporate (including Portraits, Events, Product and Website) and also enjoys Family and Newborn portraits. In addition, Sophie recently started to run Photography Workshops (now online) as an avenue for creativity for the enthusiastic photographer. The workshops are focused on developing their skills and immersing themselves into a hobby that helps them connect to others. Follow Sophie's Facebook Page by clicking here to find out when her next online workshops are taking place.

We’re proud to have Sophie B as a ShireWomen business member. Learn more about Sophie B Photography by clicking here or connect with Sophie by sending her an email to photo@sophieb.com.au – she’d love to hear from you.

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