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Sophie Hart

While most of friends were starting university, Sophie Hart decided to step out of her comfort zone and take a completely different path: start her own photography business. Now her business is thriving and she is making a living doing what she loves best. Here, she tells Lifestyle News her story.

Q: What started your passion for photography?

A: When I was 14 I got my first ever DSLR camera as a Christmas present and immediately fell in love with photography.

Once I had my starter camera I took photos of everything all the time, everyone I knew was forced to be a model, including my cats!

I’ve always loved taking photos of animals, so I was obsessed with wildlife photos to begin with. I was mostly self-taught with a few classes in high school and lots of youtube videos.

After learning the basics I won a couple of local photography competitions which inspired me to keep going and taking more photos.

Q: What made you start a business at just 17?

A: I did a photoshoot for a friend of my parents when I was 15. The photoshoot was so much fun and I was able to get some really beautiful and natural photos.

From that first family shoot, I knew I wanted to keep working with families and take more photos. As soon as I got my driver’s license I set up a Facebook page and asked for families to model for me in exchange for free photos.

I don’t think I had properly considered the business aspect of it back then, I just knew it was something I really enjoyed.

As a high school student, it was nice to be able to earn a bit of extra money on the weekends without having to stick to someone else’s schedule. I was also studying ATAR at the time and loved having something creative to do when I wasn’t studying.

Q: What was the hardest thing about starting your own business?

A: I’ve found the hardest thing was feeling alone in it. All of my friends graduated high school and went to university.

Although I’ve found this incredible opportunity I often felt as though I’m not making as much progress as my peers.

I also don’t have anyone my age that I can relate to when I come into wins or losses with my business. My family absolutely supports me but it would be great to have people my age who really get it!

I also received a lot of criticism about choosing to run a business rather than going to university. There are a lot of risks with starting your own business, there was always a chance that I could lose all the money I invested into getting started.

happy family
Photo: Sophie Hart Photography

Q: What advice would you give to other young people wanting to start their own business?

A: I would say to invest in education as early as you can. Once I found a mentor for my photography business everything fell into place for me.

There’s only so much that you can learn by yourself. By starting off with education you can save yourself so much time and money by getting it right the first time.

I’d also tell other young people to be brave! It’s so terrifying starting your own business but it’s really important to not let the fear of failure stop you from an amazing opportunity.

The most exciting things happened when I stepped out of my comfort zone.

Q: Are you glad you took this path - is running your own business harder than you thought?

A: I am absolutely glad I chose this path. I will admit that I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started. I knew I liked taking photos and editing but there’s so much more than that to running a

photography business.

I’m a photographer but I’m also a social media manager, administrator, accountant, content writer, marketer, and more!

I love every single part of my job but it is absolutely consuming. When you run your own business you can’t just come home from work, you’re constantly thinking, planning, and responding to clients.

Despite this, I wouldn’t change a thing. I feel so grateful that I can make a living by doing exactly what I love.

Two children hugging
Photo: Sophie Hart Photography

Q: What type of photographs do you take?

A: I mainly take photos of family! I also do maternity, newborn and occasionally extended family shoots with the cousins, grandparents, and kids all included!

Those are chaotic but so full of love. All of my photoshoots are outside in the golden sunset lighting. My style is very natural and candid.

I love capturing authentic interactions between the little ones and their parents! I always include lots of games in my photoshoots, like swinging the kids around or playing chasey!

I try to make it a fun experience for the family rather than a sit-down and say-cheese type of photoshoot. I also get to take photos of dogs sometimes which is obviously adorable!

Q: What is your message to others thinking of doing the same?

A: Don’t let age discourage you! I was so worried people wouldn’t take me seriously because of my age when I first started out.

It was completely in my head,.I was booked for my first wedding at 17 and trusted with an incredibly important day. As long as you are always trying your best then be confident and don’t doubt yourself.

Find out more about Sophie here.



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