Looking Back at 2018 - Highlights

Woodland photo-shoot October 2018.

Woodland photo-shoot October 2018.

I love the start of a new year as it focusses my mind on projects and commissions for the coming year, I can reflect on the past year and make changes and improvements to the areas that would benefit most and to be able to engage with you, my lovely customers and readers.

My passion is my work and I’m always up for new challenges and adventures, especially as I celebrate 22 years with SMS Creative Photography.

There have been significant changes during my professional career in the world of photography, if someone had told me back in 1976, when I was a photography student at art college, it would one day be possible to take a photograph and to be able to view it within seconds on the back of my camera, I doubt I would have believed them, let alone to be able to share it worldwide instantly! Back then I was photographing with a roll of film with either 12, 24 or 36 exposures that took at least a week for processing and printing, how times have changed for us all.

What a wonderful thing this is and so powerful too, but we mustn’t loose sight of the importance of printing and saving our images, to share with future generations about how life was back in the day, and to seek the services of professionals to keep the art and craftsmanship of imagery alive.

Looking back at 2018 there were many of photography highlights, including studio and location portraits as well as commissions to photograph during the British Grand Prix in July and other exclusive events that showcase on my ‘Stella’ Lifestyle Photography website.

Below are few images from the past year to reflect on, the coming year is going to be an interesting one for me as I collaborate with others on exciting new projects, read on to see more…

World Champion racing driver Nigel Mansell at the London Classic Car Show in February 2018 where he was presented with the Icon Award for services to motor racing.

World Champion racing driver Nigel Mansell at the London Classic Car Show in February 2018 where he was presented with the Icon Award for services to motor racing.

A lovely family amongst the bluebells in April 2018.

A lovely family amongst the bluebells in April 2018.

A photo-shoot for an adorable pug 2108.

A photo-shoot for an adorable pug 2108.

Happy couple in a wonderful private meadow in June 2018.

Happy couple in a wonderful private meadow in June 2018.

Family photo-shoot in a local Kent vineyard in July 2018.

A selection of images from Masterpiece 2018 which is held over four days on the site of the Chelsea Flower Show, London, at the end of June and beginning of July.

Lance Stroll showing his golf swing during the Live Sky Broadcast on the Thursday pre-race and press day at the British Grand Prix 2018.

A selection of images from Silverstone Classic July 2018 both track side, garage side and on the podium.

Photographing at Salon Privé at the end of August 2018 held in the spectacular grounds of Blenheim Palace.

Birthday celebrations at Hever Castle in August 2018.

Birthday celebrations at Hever Castle in August 2018.

The glass and implements contents of a Sevres travel box for a magazine feature 2018.

The glass and implements contents of a Sevres travel box for a magazine feature 2018.

Refurbishment and re-opening of the much-loved Bull Inn, Limpsfield in November 2018.

Refurbishment and re-opening of the much-loved Bull Inn, Limpsfield in November 2018.

The South Bank - 28 February 2018 during the coldest day since records began.

The South Bank - 28 February 2018 during the coldest day since records began.

Thank you for reading my highlights from 2108 - if you would like to follow my monthly newsletter round-up please subscribe at the end of this blog.

To read blogs from my sister website ‘Stella’ Lifestyle Photography please follow this link.

Last but not least, if there is an event, project or commission you have in mind please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Stella

 
 

Gasometer - The Changing Face of Oxted

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It’s a new day it’s a new dawn and it’s coming down!

The long awaited dismantling and demolition of our Gasometer here in Oxted has started!

Over the past few years I have photographed this majestic structure, that stands in our town centre, from various viewpoints - it has been part of our landscape for so long now that we have taken it for granted and hardly notice it anymore - that’s until now, with the activity of fluorescent safety clothed workmen and the hustle and bustle associated with any new development.

The Gasometer will be replaced over the next two and a half years by a wonderful development of 111 luxury apartments with landscaped podium gardens and parking on site, the development is due to be completed in the Summer of 2021.

I’ve got my steel toe boots, fluorescent boiler suit and hard hat at the ready together with my cameras to photograph the long process for posterity.

Hold on to your hats and read on to find out more…

The photograph above was taken in 2016 showing our mammoth landmark bathed in a pool of afternoon sunlight.

The photograph above was taken in 2016 showing our mammoth landmark bathed in a pool of afternoon sunlight.

16 January 2019 - the demolition process begins.

16 January 2019 - the demolition process begins.

The demolition process is scheduled over the next 5-6 months, during this time I’ll be photographing the progress on site and from further afield too, I want to document our social history and to be a part of something new and exciting as we watch new blood being built into our town by Berkeley Homes.

The first stage of the demolition process is to remove the interior ‘roof’ or ‘moveable cap’ that now sits on the floor of the structure that use to raise when it filled with gas, it will then be deconstructed piece by piece from the top down.

The landscape is going to look empty once it has been taken down, it has been part of our view for so long, come rain, shine or snow!

Follow my monthly blogs during the next two years to see the progress via Facebook and Instagram or sign up to my newsletters via the ‘subscribe to our newsletters’ button on the footer below.

I’ll be back next month with the next instalment.

Thanks

Stella

Stage one of the demolition process 18 January 2019.

Stage one of the demolition process 18 January 2019.

 

New Studio Opening Hours for 2019

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The New Year has begun and so has the thought process to implement all that has been swirling in my head for the past few days, so with much excitement I can put into action my new SMS Creative Photography Studio Opening Hours for 2019.

As I approach the 22nd anniversary, on 10th February, since opening the doors to my shiny and gleaming new business back in 1997 I am taking the time to change with the forever evolving 21st century and take the Bull (no, not the Bull Inn in Limpsfield) by the horns and make some positive changes to my work and personal life balance. For those that know me well my passion for work has taken up a huge amount of time with other areas taking a back seat.

With the last of my three adorable grown-up children fleeing the well-feathered nest last October and my last full-time junior employee leaving at the same time, to climb the ladder to his ever growing career, it’s also time for me to graduate too - not to pastures new because I’m not ready just yet to leave Oxted town but I am ready to expand my photographic path and explore new adventures which are forever presenting themselves. 

By changing the studio hours it means I will be working away on location projects on the days the studio is closed and spending a bit more time investing in other areas during shorter studio hours. 

We all know modern day technology means we can be in regular contact wherever we are in the world, so I can still connect with you and my regular blogs will keep you updated about forthcoming photo opportunities that I know many of you love, such as family photo-shoots amongst the bluebells and other spectacular locations including studio photo-shoots which will always continue.

As we witness the changes on High Streets nationwide including Oxted, the town I have grown to love personally and professionally, please continue to support your High Street and all the retailers who work tirelessly on their businesses to bring something new to you. 

Whilst Oxted evolves with the demolition of the Gasometer to produce 111 new dwellings to welcome new blood to our town, I look forward to photographically documenting the process over the next two years so we don’t forget, with the blink of an eye, that life is evolving and we can share our social history with our children, and our children’s children.

I am forever grateful to my loyal staff, one of whom left over seven years ago to grow a family of her own and now works for me as an expert retoucher and finisher on a freelance basis.

I will be taking time out from the studio to celebrate the 22nd anniversary on an exciting overseas assignment, more about this to follow with dates to be confirmed, we won’t lose touch as I will keep you updated with the wonders of Instagram on @StellaSMS during the assignment.

From Friday 1st February the new studio opening hours are:

Tuesday to Friday 10am - 5pm

Saturday 10am - 3pm

Sunday and Monday Closed

Location appointments available outside these hours.

Thank you!

Stella

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Discover 'Stella'

If you haven’t already discovered ‘Stella’ let me introduce you to my other website ‘Stella Lifestyle Photography’.

‘Stella’ is the lifestyle and automotive side to SMS Creative Photography that launched in 2012 as a result of the relationships built with my studio customers, they were looking for a more individual and bespoke service to cover events and on-going projects.

Commissions from the ‘Stella’ brand take me far and wide - photographing automotive events, such as Salon Privé at Blenheim Palace and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, with Formula One Racing Team, Williams for a Russian luxury lifestyle magazine called Rútage based in London.

I was commissioned to photograph Sergey Sirotkin, a young Russian driver for a feature called ‘Under the Helmet’ a behind the scenes look at him during the pre-race days - the photographs below show the end results of the photographs they chose to feature in the quarterly magazine.

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The photograph below resonated with me because amongst the busy and diverse activity at the British Grand Prix there was a moment of calm when the Ferrari engineers stopped work for a few minutes to exercise and stretch, which is all part of their daily routine, I grabbed this shot on my way to a photo-call to remind me there is always time to stop for reflection and relaxation no matter what you are doing!

This link to the Blog section of the ‘Stella’ website tells you more about these events and others.

If you would like to keep up to date with my blogs please feel free to subscribe here.

Thank you!

Stella

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Festive Opening Hours 2018

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It's at this time of year that I can reflect on the year gone by with a sense of warmth and satisfaction, that I've reached another Christmas milestone with thanks to all of you, my lovely customers, for your custom during the year and over the past 22 years since I opened SMS Creative Photography in 1997. 

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and healthy 2019.

It will soon be time for our annual holiday to relax with family and friends, below are the opening hours during the festive period and a photograph I took in February I have been saving to share with you this winter.

Thank you.

Stella

28 February 2018 - South Bank - London

28 February 2018 - South Bank - London

 

Seasonal Photo-shoots for 2019

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Over the years we have had the pick of enchanting locations for family photo-shoots, from an exclusive Kent vineyard to the Surrey woodlands and a charming private meadow.

Fortunately we are surrounded by picturesque locations that are at their best at different times of year, for example the bluebells are abundant and in full bloom late April early May depending on the rainfall.

In the summertime we are privileged to have access to a stunning private meadow with the backdrop of the North Downs, that flowers for a very short time before it goes to seed and has to be mown, this happens in either June or July, so we have to keep a firm eye out so we don’t miss it!

The vineyard we have very kindly been given permission to use looks stunning from July until harvest time in October, with the dappled light and the rows of vines it’s an awe inspiring backdrop!

The woodlands on our doorstep, on the Surrey and Kent border are available throughout the year for photo-shoots, but look particularly colourful in autumn and winter time with a huge array of interesting spots to choose from.

I also photograph in somewhere a little more personal and intimate, your garden, it doesn’t have to be a grand garden, or a work of art just somewhere you are comfortable to be photographed in, it could be a courtyard or even a flower bed, we can decide on the day of your photo-shoot.

So if any of the above appeals to you for the experience of a photo-shoot for you, your family and your pets, do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you so we can contact you as the seasons unfold so you don’t miss the opportunity that is so often fleeting.

Below is a selection of recent photo-shoots in the various locations to ponder over during the Christmas break to plan an experience for the coming seasons during 2019, or to buy a gift voucher to redeem in the New Year.

All you need to do is call the studio on 01883 722282 to register your interest, secure a booking or buy a personalised gift voucher or if you prefer you can email us on the ‘commission yours’ button below, thank you.

Stella