I've always had a passion for photography and creativity and wanted it to be my career from a very early age. I trained when I left school, with the intention of having my own business to share my passion. I was given the opportunity through adversity, to realise this dream and I wasn't going to let it pass me by. With 3 young children in tow the journey has been creative, educational, challenging and most of all very rewarding. On 10th February 1997 I opened the doors to SMS Creative Photography at 83 Station Road East, Oxted. Thanks to the local community and beyond, I have enjoyed a growing business ever since.
Where It Started
All of this started on film, either 35mm or medium format negatives. This restricted me to either 12 exposures on the medium format with my trusted Hasselblad or 24 and 36 exposures with my Nikon F1 bodies. If I wanted to shoot in colour and black and white I had to use 2 camera bodies, one for each type of film and wait a few days before I got to see the end result. I had to rely on my technical and creative ability to get it right first time, which looking back, was the best training, because it became instinctive. I was very careful not to waste an exposure and to think fast and not to miss the moment.
How times have changed. If someone had told me that within three years of opening I would be shooting digital images, would be able to see the image on the back of the camera, copy images without loss of quality - I would have thought they were joking.
When I was introduced to digital photography I was reluctant to use it, I still shot with film and did a little digital to try it out. How wrong was I! Within a couple of years I went completely digital for quality and convenience, and as they say, the rest is history. Although film has it's place, digital photography is a fantastic medium, for the freedom it gives to be able to share and archive and without doubt, post production.
What the past has taught me is how precious time is, you don't get a second chance to preserve those special moments in life that so may of us take for granted.
Then and Now
The photograph below on the left was taken on 1st March 1997 for a first birthday and was the first shoot I did in the studio, the one beside it taken last month.
The video below is a short show reel we've prepared to share some of those moments from the archives - 'Then and Now'.
Were you, or someone you know amongst the many families photographed in the early days? Do get in touch, be lovely to hear from you and reproduce your photograph.
'Guess Where In Oxted' photographic competition.
To encourage your children to be more visually aware I have created a competition, 'Guess Where In Oxted' to guess where an obscure photograph has been taken in and around the town. Children can take part if their infant and junior school in Oxted is participating. The competition can be completed during half term week 14 - 22 February. The schools taking part are, Limpsfield CE Infant, Downs Way, St. Peter's, St. Mary's, Holland and Hazelwood. The schools will issue the entry forms via their newsletter. First prize is a camera (suitable for the age of the winner) with a lesson on how to use it and studio sittings for 2nd and 3rd prizes. Please click on the photograph below to find out more.
Thanks for reading, I'll be back in two weeks time to let you know about our 18th birthday cake on Saturday 14 February to join our celebration.
Bye for now.