Jo Hacker, part of Stella’s expanding team, speaks to Stella about her family, her love of photography and of course her ‘fourth’ child, SMS Creative Photography.
Q. What was your first big break?
I worked as a Saturday girl at Handford photography portrait studio from the age of 15. When it came to leaving school at 16 they offered me an apprenticeship within their commercial department and I was delighted to accept.
Q. Why did you decide to set-up your own business?
I always wanted to own my own photography business. Every time I considered it, I found a hundred reasons not to until my family circumstances changed and I took the opportunity to fulfil my dream.
Q. Can you remember your first customer, and if so what did they buy from you?
Yes, I can! My first customer called into the studio on the day I opened on Monday 10 February 1997 to ask for a treasured old family photograph to be copied. In those days, it was produced via a 5” x 4” negative on a rostrum camera.
Stella 'Then' in 1966 outside her parents house and 'Now' 2017 - same place and not quite the same clothes!
Q. What do you love most about your job?
I love most meeting new people and working on a diverse range of commissions. One day I am knee deep in mud photographing a family run farm, the next I am on the race track capturing beautiful cars.
Q. What has been your most challenging moment, as a business owner?
The transition from analogue to digital was initially hugely challenging, but in time has become very lucrative. I often find the hardest tasks are worth the time I spend on them in the end!
Q. You describe SMS Creative Photography as your fourth child, how involved are you other three children?
My two sons love the business but they have other work commitments, and don’t play a direct role. My daughter Nicola worked with me whilst she was at school at the weekend and as a second shooter at weddings. More recently she is supporting me with marketing.
Q. Why did you choose to name your business SMS Creative Photography?
When I was thinking about a name for my business I didn't have the confidence to call it by my name, so I took the easy option to use my initials 'SMS' for Stella Marina Scordellis, I added Creative Photography because back in 1997 this was a new style of photography. In 2012 I introduced 'Stella' a different part of the business taking me in new and exciting directions.
Q. How different is the job of a photographer different today, to when you first trained?
When I first trained there were very few women doing the job. I was one of the first female wedding photographers and as a result I was inundated with wedding bookings. The job of a photographer now is different because of the changes to digital and post production technology. This has made photography so much more accessible, I would never have thought that technology would develop to create such high-quality results so quickly.
Q. What one piece of advice would you give a budding new photographer?
Trust your intuition.
Q. What excites you about the future of SMS Creative Photography?
Developing into new areas of photography. I am also interested in limited-edition photographs which can be a great investment. Watch this space for new developments!