March 4, 2021

Seminar with Sophie Traynor

On the 20th January 2021, I was lucky enough to sit into a seminar with guest speaker and photographer Sophie Traynor. Traynor has work in numerous genres of photography with her main focus being fashion photography whilst also working with product and food. After graduating from the University of Norwich in 2013, Traynor worked as an admin assistant in a bar which she didn't particularly like. She soon began her undergraduate degree and began working as a photography technician at Huddersfield New College.

Traynor's drive to find work in photography lead her into many small jobs such as photographing horses and pregnant women, non that she really found very interesting but continued to gain experience with every job she did as well as shooting anything she could on her days off.

Traynor landed her first commercial job in April of 2014 with the brand Gorgeous Couture taking the position of a friend who previously studied fashion. Throughout the seminar, Traynor emphasised how important it is to have strong relationships with people within the industry as simply being friends with someone can get you a long way by leaving good words here and there and recommending your services to others. Over the next few years Traynor's work began to pick up dramatically with multiple brands and companies contacting her for commissions and her work began to flourish. She explained to the group how she learnt along the way picking up her own techniques whilst working on both location and a studio based environment.

From December of 2014 to now, Traynor has worked with an abundance and companies including Primark, Cath Kidson and GAP; each shoot gaining more confidence and experience working in different lighting conditions and temperatures explaining that on her shoot with Primark, it was so cold the models legs went purple!


I then got to listen to a Q&A by Sophie where I and other students got to ask her for her advice going forward in our careers and her recommendations on equipment. She explained that she doesn't believe that you need the fanciest camera on the market and you can create perfectly good images with what you've got. Traynor left university with a Canon 1300D and recommended that we gradually purchase better equipment as we gain more experience and learn to use what we've got properly.

She recommended if we were to buy any equipment to invest in two good lenses with her favourites being a 24-70mm lens and a 30mm macro lens especially if you are into beauty photography and portraiture which I am. She spoke about getting a good quality lighting setup which you can travel with. Traynor explained she bought her her first lighting kit when she left university which cost £400 and only very recently got a new one.

Being someone who always worries about making mistakes it was very comforting to hear Traynor believes mistakes are good and its all a learning curve and valuable lessons so not to be afraid of making them.