Sophie is a photographer and creative from Auckland. After spending 8 years living overseas and collecting experience in Melbourne, Bali, London and New York, Sophie started her creative agency 'Here Today Studio' which she runs between Auckland and Los Angeles. Working with different brands across fashion, lifestyle and hospitality. She's a woman with many creative talents, just one of which is photography. We chatted to Sophie about why she enjoys staying creative and show a few behind the scenes of our shoots with her...
All imagery taken by Sophie, find her at @sophieandreassend
Could you summarise what photography means to you?
Photography is such a powerful art form for me- it will always be skill for me to keep using & developing which is why I love it so much. Shooting has allowed me to travel to some really interesting places around the world, meet many wonderful people and has also given me purpose, new ways of looking at things and something to enjoy when I’m traveling solo and walking around cities by myself.
Annie Leibovitz famously said “One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.”
We know you’re a woman who wears many hats, and photography is just one of your many incredible creative skills! What do you do to keep your creativity flowing? Is it a conscious effort you nurture or do you feel this is a way of life for you now?
I love this quote & can truly relate. I definitely have days where I don't feel inspired and need to actively go out and seek it but for the most part, creativity really does feel it's woven into me and apart of who I am. The creative side of my mind has done its fair share of keeping me up at night over the years. I was raised by really creative parents and I think from a young age I was encouraged to look at different mediums and what potential there was to do something and create with them. I feel like I constantly have ideas buzzing around my head or I’m seeing and thinking of concepts that I want to execute whether I like it or not!
Inspiration often comes from the strangest of places, where or what do you find inspires you the most?
I get a lot of inspiration from light and Films. They’re two things I always pull from. It’s hard for me to walk around and not pay attention to the way light is hitting objects and seeing ideas or scenes in that. I look to films for inspiration, especially those from the 60’s-80’s like The Breakfast Club & An American in Paris. There’s something about the softness and colours of these kinds of films that I always seem to find ideas in.
Living in New Zealand, it must be hard not to snap every outdoor scene! Do you have a particular favourite thing to photograph?
I do love taking photos of our stunning backyard in New Zealand. I have discovered a lot of patience in capturing landscapes- especially in the South Island. I’ve done many solo road trips in Otago where I spent a lot of time waiting for the light or weather to be just right. Fashion photography is something that I enjoy the constant challenge of and figuring out how to weave a product and story together.
Photography has taken you all across the world. Have you had any memorable moments whilst travelling for shoots? And Do you find your photos from each country turn out differently?
I hold dear the moments I’ve shared with teams and people in different places- traveling for a shoot gives you the opportunity to really connect with those you’re working with. I’ll never forget crying when I saw my first elephant in the wild and a particular 5am sunrise in the North of Bali where I was lucky to be on a shoot with one of my best friends and we sat and watched the sun come up while sitting on the window sill with coffee in hand. There’s been plenty of ridiculous moments I’ll also never forget too- like running out of gas at Joshua Tree National Park on route to location and flying to the top of Mount Cook and nearly losing my fingers to frostbite which meant I wasn't able to operate my camera! I think the way I shoot differentiates from place to place in terms of what I’m seeing and the story I want to capture. There’s a particular kind of light that falls over Tokyo in the Japanese Winter that makes shooting candid images of locals doing their day to day tasks really dreamy and then when I’m in places like Palm Springs, I love being able to use different films mediums to create shots that feel like a step back in time.
Photography often involves many stages, can you briefly outline your process for taking an image from beginning to end?
I’m a big fan of a good old mood-board because it gives me a starting point while concepting and planning and a place for me to gather all the things going on in my head. It helps me decide how I’m going to execute an idea and what equipment I’m going to need to do it. I love not just using reference photos in mood-boards but also words that are going to help me achieve a certain mood or emotion that I can come back to and reference throughout the project. From here I scout locations, book models, source props and hire equipment before a shoot and tee it up with the client, making sure everything is ready to go. Shoot days seem to come and go really quick for me, I’m still surprised how quickly ten hours can fly by when you’re behind a lens. After a shoot day, a huge part of the job is the post-editing from selecting images to grading and retouching to working with brands on application and delivery.
For anyone considering getting started in photography, what are some key tips you’d give to them?
The most important thing for me has been test shooting and simply creating an idea purely because you want to execute it as passion project. Doing this has led me to develop my own style, get frustrated but learn from it, dive into the skill for the love of it and build a portfolio that's very me. It's also so important to keep shooting and keep learning, especially if you’re trying to find your style and become confident with the tools. I spent a lot of time throwing myself into learning lighting practices and processes, testing them out so that I eventually started feeling more confident and satisfied with my work. Photography will never stop being a challenge for me because there’s so many elements involved but I think having the drive to push through any unsure or growing moments - that has always lead me in the right direction.
Lastly, we had to ask, as you’ve shot nearly all of our pieces (wonderfully we may add!) Is there a particular favourite you’ve spotted down the lens?
It’s been such a pleasure to! I love shooting all your beautiful jewels. I adore all the one of a kind pieces, especially hearing about where the unique stones and diamonds were sourced from- it’s so fascinating to me and I love that the pieces all tell a story. Two of my absolute favourites have been the Rainbow Sempera Band and the Luna Diamond Necklace.
We will get in touch with you soon.