Colour Portrait Challenge Winner - Sam Taylor

colour community documentary style family photography full house portraits swya graduates Mar 27, 2023

This month's creative challenge had two winners - the first being Samantha Taylor who wowed the community with this bright, award-winning image of her son. Sam is a graduate of the SWYA winter course and has wasted no time at all in smashing it with her award entries. 

We asked Sam to tell us a bit more about herself and her journey with photography...

Tell us about you...

I'm Sam, a 37 year old mum living in Margate Kent with my husband, 2 children and 2 dogs. I love photography, art and creating but also hot chocolate, sunflower fields, pumpkin patches and of course the beach. 

What got you into photography? Has it always been a passion or is it new to your world?

Before I had my son I was a primary school teacher and always had a passion for art and creativity. When I had my son I was quite poorly for a long time and couldn’t go back to teaching right away. Because of this I was worried that I would forget things that I desperately wanted to remember and so turned to photography to preserve as many memories as I could. I wanted to take more professional looking photos than I previously did and so taught myself as much as I could. Each photograph held a thousand words when words were a little tricky for me. Even if the photo wasn’t technically great, it held so much meaning to me. I ended up doing some photos for friends that were into fashion blogging at the time and had lots of fun practising with them, however I realised that family photography is where my heart lies. My love of photography just grows and grows - especially since having my daughter now too.

What do you love most about photography and how does it benefit your life? 

Photography benefits my life magnificently. Since having my children social anxiety is a huge thing for me but when I have my camera I feel so much more confident and able to challenge these situations more. I love capturing those family moments that seem small but mean the world to us. Children playing and having fun, spending time together and of course those memorable moments that you just don’t want to forget. I love that every photograph tells a story and it can mean something different to everyone that sees it.

What three words describe your style?

Why is this so tricky? I think I am still finding my way but Natural, Meaningful, Vibrant seem to spring to mind. 

What inspires you in the everyday that you inject into your imagery?

I photograph my family more than anything else as that is what inspires me and lifts me up the most. I love telling a story within my photography, I always want to capture the essence of that person, situation, or event in each image. Because of this so much inspires me every day, the light, the smile, the sky, the love, the moment. 

What tips would you share to get the best pictures?

I think my style is between lifestyle and documentary and so I love a relaxed and yet fun session where everyone is enjoying themselves and giving those genuine smiles and expressions. I am also a great believer in a fun looking tasty treat, you will see a recurring theme in my work of donuts, jammy dodgers and lollipops when all else fails to tempt the little ones into joining in (sometimes bigger ones too).

In what capacity will photography feature in your future?

I have been taking some photos for friends and family and a few paid for jobs through word of mouth over the years but this year is the year that I am investing in myself and following that passion for photography hence recently completing the SWYA and joining Next Level and of course the fantastic Start Now biz course. I really want to make my hobby photography more of a profession. I want to provide other families with their meaningful and memorable photographs that tell stories about their loved ones that they can cherish like I cherish mine. 

These courses have been and are a huge boost to me, they have given me a focus and are beyond inspirational. I still have to conquer a bit of that imposter syndrome but I have booked a small family wedding this year and am working at getting those family photoshoots in. 

Lens Eleven is an incredibly uplifting and inspiring community. Thank you all so much, I am super grateful.