Interview: Sammie Toomer

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Sammie Toomer is a professional photographer based in Dorset. She runs a business called ST.udio. I was lucky enough to interview Samantha about her business and career plans.

Hello! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. How are you?

I am very good thank you for asking.

I adore your work. What inspired you to start taking photographs?

I have always been very creative with most aspects of art and this then lead into me creating more experimental work, followed by me studying photography for GCSE which I think was the first time I really started taking photographs.

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Have you always been into photography?

I think I have always had an interest in photography but it wasn't until i started studying it, I really got involved in the whole idea of photography being a creative format to work with.

How has your creative process changed since the start?

This is an interesting question, In many ways it has changed quite a bit. In regards to producing photographs, It has changed a lot because I used to basically live in the dark room developing prints but more recently I am more focused on digital photography. This is due to the high expense of film developing and processing. I am always learning new skills and trying out different types of photography. I used to photograph landscapes a lot but I am now focused on portraiture and product photography as this is my main business income.

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What equipment do you use for your work?

My two main cameras are Canon 5D Mark2 and Canon 7D with a variety of lenses but my favourite is the 85mm and nifty 50mm.

What equipment could you not live without?

How long can this list be? I definitely couldn't live without my Bronica medium format film camera and my Canon 5D.

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What equipment would you recommend for someone who wants to get into photography?

This is always a difficult one, but I would always recommend getting something affordable even if its a compact or bridge camera if you cant afford a DSLR. Its knowing how to take good photographs rather than the equipment that you use!

Why has social media been an important platform for you to use?

I find its a great way of staying connected with my clients and potential new clients. It also allows me to show my photography whether it's business related or personal. social media also allows others to see who I am and what I do which I think is important to be able to connect with people.

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Who inspires your work?

This is always a difficult question as I am always looking for new inspiration and different ways I can expand my skills and forever buying books to look through so it is forever changing but with that being said, I have been hugely inspired by Wayne Lawes, his lovely wife Liz Lawes who specialise in portrait photography and wedding photography. They photographed my wedding and did an amazing job! I am also inspired constantly by Georgia de Lotz an old uni friend who specialised in product photography.

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Why is photography important?

Great question, I feel photography is important because it is sometimes the only thing that we can keep for a life time that truly captures those little and big moments in our lives that can easily be forgotten. It creates a great way of connecting people and capturing their heart and soul.

This is something I strive to do in my photography. If its showing the love connection between two people for a second that they can look back on and remember those feelings and what fun they had. It also allows me to capture the personality of someones hard work and love for their creations, services and much more of their business in my brand photography.

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Do you have any favourite pieces of photography that you adore at the moment?

I am in love with Jason Lee's photography, I would love to have one of his pieces in my home or one of legend Ansel Adams landscape photographs which are stunning.

Do you have any career plans?

I have actually just changed from a full time job in a school to working part time in a camera shop. This move will definitely be great for staying creative and allowing me to have time to pursue my own photography business without jumping in with no fixed income! 

I am also putting together several different packages that I would like to offer further into 2019 which is very exciting.

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Do you have any advice for photographers?

The three pieces of advice that I always have to remind my self of is firstly we all compare our selves too much to everyone else and although its great to look for inspiration from other photographers, don't knock yourself down as we all started from nothing at some point and it takes time, experience and continuously learning to develop. So DON'T GIVE UP!

Secondly as I said earlier Its not about the equipment you have, its about knowing how to use it and thirdly analyse photographs, why do they inspire you? what light did they use, studio, natural, day, night? what props do they use? composition? by doing this it will teach you how to be a better photographer and keep on leaning and experimenting.

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What's the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?

The third piece of advice I gave above is the best advice I have received. I used to do it when I studying and when I finished my degree in photography I stopped. But now I realise when you analyse photographs It helps you analyse your own photography by growing your knowledge on constructing images and learning skills as a photographer. 

Make sure to take a look at their website ‘https://www.st-udio.co.uk’, Instagram ‘https://www.instagram.com/st.udiophotography.uk/’ and Facebook page ‘https://www.facebook.com/st.udiophotography.uk'.

Rhiannon BrittenComment