Studio Photography

'Celebrating 20 Years In Oxted Town'

You're invited to join us for a glass of bubbly

on

 Saturday 11 February 12pm - 3pm

at

SMS Creative Photography

I can't believe how fast the years have flown by, sometimes I have to stop and think how it all began, from an early age I always wanted my own business.

 In 1984 at the age of 24 I got married, however at the age of 34 with 3 small children in tow I found myself newly single, homeless, jobless and penniless. This was my PERFECT opportunity to pave the way to create a business to provide for myself and children. 

With absolutely nothing to lose and having worked in the photographic industry, a photography studio seemed the natural choice. Fast forward 3 years to February 10 1997 - my 4th child SMS Creative Photography was born.

My philosophy was, and still remains, to offer quality with a first class personal service photographing local families and beyond. 

Over the years commissions have taken me far and wide, covering the World Cruise on the QE2; photographing Boyzone and Cher opening the Harrods sales; the infamous Jeremy Clarkson for an exclusive book on Ferrari; Metallica and Iron Maiden at the Sonisphere Festival and most recently the ITV newscaster Alastair Stewart as Patron of the Brooke Charity.

I've loved meeting so many families and being part of the community.
A very big thank you for trusting my team and I with the preservation of your family history, we have enjoyed sharing the evolution of photography with you.

Look forward to seeing you soon.

Bye for now, with love

Stella

and the SMS Creative Photography Family

First Photograph of 2016

With the new year in full swing, people filled with motivation and resolutions for a prosperous and healthy year. One thing I always look forward to is the first picture of the year, it's the starting place for me.This studio shoot of Jess and Jack is particularly poignant, I've known their mum for over 12 years (when she first met their dad), capturing their joyful journey, engagement, wedding... The below iPhone pictures lead you to the one I took.

From Start 'Come on Jack, give your sister a kiss and cuddle'.

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For all camera gurus and enthusiast, I used a Nikon D750 body with a Nikon 50mm lens with a wide open aperture to create that lovely shallow depth of field. This particular fixed-focus lens is one I have owned since I started my career in photography in the 70s, you have to manually focus it so I had to be super quick.

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To Finish ahh, so cute, a lovely expression of sibling love, makes my heart melt. I love the relationships I have with my customers, watching their families grow and evolve and to welcome new families too.

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I'll be back every month with a newsletter about what's happening at SMS Creative Photography, I also write a monthly newsletter for my classic and supercar photography branch of the business called 'Stella', just follow this link if you would like to find out more.

Thanks for reading.

Stella

Capture the Present, to Create the Past, for Future Generations...

Quick and Easy In this amazing, disposable, digital, instant age we now live in, isn't it remarkable we can capture a moment on our smart phone and share and post for all to be a part of that emotion?

We can record some special times with a click of a button without the hassle of carrying a camera - but do we ever stop - stop and savour that moment, do we ever appreciate it, or are we too concerned about photographing to share on social media?

Don't get me wrong I'm a firm believer that we share these times, with our smart phones we become so connected, but don't let them replace the importance of professional photographs. Now is a good time of year to make time to let a professional capture landmarks in your life, from my experience everyone has been so pleased they did.

Immortalize I love commissions to photograph moments that can never be repeated. My work is my passion, I get to meet so many interesting people who allow me into their lives to capture their families to reflect on and to safeguards their family history.

By going that extra mile, you are capturing the present, to create the past for future generations. In years to come, with printed photographs there will still be that suitcase in the attic full of prints for future generations to rummage through, just to see what great grandma or grandpa looked liked. It's that moment of realisation when you spot a distant relative who looks just like a member of your family.

Then and Now The selection of photographs below show examples of the photographs taken during the early years of when I opened my studio in 1997 to present day.

If I have photographed you before and you would like to recreate the pose, or you would like to start your family visual history, just give us a call, or come into our friendly studio to find out where to start.

Photographs below taken 'Then' in December 1999 and 'Now' in December 2014

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Photographs below taken 'Then' in September 1997 'Now' April 2015

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Photographs below taken 'Then' in September 2002 and 'Now' February 2015

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Photographs below taken 'Then' in December 1998 and 'Now' January 2015

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Photographs below taken 'Then'  December 1998 and 'Now' October 2014

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Thanks for reading, I'll be back in two weeks with more to share. Enjoy the sunshine! Bye for now.

Stella

Product Photography

I love the variety of work I'm presented with, I relish the challenge and find it fascinating to learn about different businesses and how I can showcase their brand with my photography.

I am often asked to photograph products and pieces for brochures and websites. Images of your products give potential customers the first message about your company - make sure this is a positive one - one that will encourage them to want to do business with you, and not your competitors.

At SMS Creative Photography we were recently commissioned to photograph a number of facial and body aesthetic machines for a company called Lipo Angel based here in Oxted, who are revolutionary in their technology.

Sally Atkins is the mastermind behind the development of the machines and says:-

"Lipo Angel Limited manufacture advanced non-surgical solutions for body contouring and face lifting, revolutionising the aesthetic market and salon industry with multi function platforms with advanced technology.As a respected UK business we felt strongly that our brand needed to be showcased with professional high quality images that would be suitable for use in catalogues as well as on digital platforms, we approached SMS Creative Photography to do the job, a local respected company with a great portfolio.  With a number of different machines, various technologies and a sitting with our Medical Ambassador. Stella and Rob looked after us impeccably, keeping us informed and involved with every step of the creative process. The results are a catalogue of images that we are very proud to showcase across all of our promotional platforms"

The Process

Let me share with you a few of the processes I use to produce top notch, high end images to convey this message.

Lipo Angel products were photographed in the studio, they were very challenging due to their reflective white surfaces, LED screens and infrared and ultra violet lights. I used a Nikon D700 35mm camera and my preferred lens a Nikon 35 -70mm f2.8with a macro feature.

Firstly - it is always essential to use a sturdy tripod, as multiple images are taken, that are later merged together, so any camera movement will affect the alignment. Secondly - the lighting is crucial to avoid harsh shadows and too many unnecessary reflections, I prefer to use bounced lighting to give a softer light. Thirdly - set the subject on a continuous white background.

A little bit of technical nitty gritty:-

  • Select a low ISO
  • Select a high aperture f16 to achieve a good depth of focus
  • Use a slow shutter speed
  • Use timer delay of at least 10 seconds to allow the camera to still itself before exposure
  • Use different exposure times to record the different sources of light the product emit

The three images below show the different exposures used, they are imported into photoshop for the finishing process to begin.

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Post Production

Rob is my highly skilled in-house digital artist, he has produced a brief description in the final photograph below of the areas worked on to achieve the end result. This is a lengthy process and can take a number of hours to complete.

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Excel London

I have just photographed a Halo Photon Light Therapy Mask - the first of it's kind in the world - which will be with Sally and her team at Excel London 22-23 February.

Thanks for reading, I'll be back in two weeks time to tell you about a stunning property I photographed in the Peak District.

Bye for now.

Stella

SMS Creative Photography Celebrating 18 Years

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.

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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.

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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.

Stella

Then and Now Photography

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Then and Now

With only six days left until Christmas I just want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. Also to thank you all for your custom and support over the past year and in many cases, years.

There is still time to have a family shoot with prints ready in time for Christmas, but hurry, Monday 22nd is the last day to get your prints ready for the 25th.  A personalised gift voucher for a studio or location shoot in 2015 is always a welcome gift. Please call the studio on 01883 722282 to arrange.

Speaking of 2015, it's going to be an exciting year for me as I celebrate 18 years in Oxted at SMS Creative Photography, with lots of wonderful things planned, more of that to follow as the year unfolds.

I'm especially enjoying inviting families and individuals back who I photographed in the late 90's for a 'Now' photograph. It's heart warming to watch so many families grow over this time line and a pleasure to capture the 'Now' to compare with the 'Then'.

Are you one of the many families I photographed in the early days? Would you like to take part? I'd love to hear from you! Take a look at our website to see a few who already have. Please pass this message on if you know someone who was photographed then.

We will be closing on Christmas Eve at 4pm and opening again on Saturday 2nd January at 9am. By appointment only on 29, 30 and 31st December.

Thanks for reading, I'll be back in the New Year.

Happy Christmas.

Bye for now.

Stella