There are images which you want to dive right into and join in the festivities, or images where you quietly want to sit back and observe everything around you. As Sophie of Sophie Baker Photography says, photographs are a form of communication, snapshots in time of a bigger story of people’s lives and relationships all crystalised into one day where all the love and joy for them is expressed. When a photographer loves what they do you can see it in shots that are filled with emotion, of people being ‘in the moment’ on the best day of their lives. Here’s Sophie’s story – prepare to be inspired!
Why photography as your profession (and how has your background contributed to your decision)?
I’ve always been a creative. Growing up I was a dancer, a not-so-great musician, and I was constantly painting, drawing, experimenting and crafting. In hindsight, I guess you could say I also loved learning (and I still do) and this is what lead me to study photojournalism – it was the perfect mix between creating & information communication – I really feel like I was born to do it.
What are the personal qualities that make a good photographer?
People genuinely intrigue me. I’ve always been a ‘people watcher’, I’ve always wanted to find out the “why’s” and the “how’s”, and I’ve always wanted to communicate things within this world that other people may not see – fleeting moments, places with difficult access, perspectives not often communicated, character traits and connections so beautiful and powerful that you can feel them radiate out from an image.
How did you learn the finer points of taking photographs?
I studied Photojournalism at Griffith University, and I was lucky enough to be taught by some of the most incredible and influential photojournalists of our time. They taught me so much, and after that, I took everything I learned and expanded it as I worked, and as a member of the AIPP and a massive advocate for education, I still invest into my own education, regularly – never stop learning I say!
How would you describe the style and feel of your photos/photography?
I describe my style as a fusion between fine art and photojournalism – I want to make images that are beautiful, but at the same time, very real and raw.
What do you like about photographing weddings in particular?
Weddings are one-day documentaries with a lifetime of human connection (and beauty!) just circling around me. There are multiple narratives within the main narrative that is the wedding day. The whole day exists because of human connection and that is the biggest thing that gets my photographic fire going!
Do you have an objective each time you photograph a wedding?
My objective is always to tell the story – each day is unique to each couple – and to make images that the couple love and connect with.
When imagining or setting up a shot, what do you consider? What do you focus on?
This depends on what part of the day I’m photographing. No matter what, my first concern is always the light. I then consider content, composition and the background. Light & content are always my most important factors J
What are the best shots (the ones you end up being the most pleased with time and again)?
The images that make you feel. Almost anyone can take a pretty photo these days, I want to make images that make you feel.
What are the details that you always pick up on, whatever wedding you photograph?
Hair ties around the wrist! I’m the biggest culprit of this in day-to-day life, but ladies, on a wedding day, ditch those practical bracelets – they’re so distracting!
Does a little piece of yourself go into each set of wedding photographs you produce?
Absolutely. I’m so invested in the process, I really do care, and I definitely don’t just shoot & burn and post them out.
What inspires you to keep photographing?
People; my clients, my fellow photographers, and just that innate desire that seems to run through my veins to simply create.
Ideally do you like to shoot an engagement session with the couple so that they are more relaxed in front of the camera on the wedding day?
I sure do! But, for the way that I work, I also don’t find that it is crucial J
Do you offer packages or any special deals?
I have a few wedding packages for people to choose from, which are also customizable, and whenever a couple books a wedding package that includes an album they get a free engagement session – whee!
In your experience, what are the five things that make a wedding special?
- Having the right attitude – being able to enjoy the day, whatever it throws at you
- Doing it how you want to, not how you think you have to
- Don’t sweat the small stuff – remember the most important thing – you’re getting married!
- (From my perspective) Being adventurous with your photographer 😉
- The people!
If you had a choice, who would you love to photograph?
Oh boy, this is a good one. I think I’d like to sit down and make a captivating portrait of Sir David Attenborough – mostly so that I could hear about all his crazy stories with his epic camera crew over the years.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Stop looking at other photographer’s work. Of course I still have those handful of artists whose work I just adore and am inspired by, but, as a creative artist in a really flooded market, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of comparison. I just focus on my work and my clients – making images that I’m proud of and that my clients can love for generations.
What are you reading at the moment?
Currently, nothing. It’s wedding season! Haha.
Your favourite destination for a honeymoon or short break?
Personally I’ve never been, but New Zealand sure seems like the go!
(I’m forever ducking to Japan instead 😉 )
Thank you Sophie for sharing your story. Stunning shots to fill your wedding album and pore over with your family and friends. To find out more about Sophie’s work visit her website, Sophie Baker Photography.
All images and headshot by Sophie Baker Photography.