Thursday, 31 January 2013


I thought that I would write a blog about my feelings towards Instagram. It is now 15:46 and nearly dark outside, Dave (my wonderful other half) left around two hours ago, and after spending two days with him, it is safe to say that I am feeling pretty lonely again. It's weird when you spend a few days with someone and then they have to leave, it is like there's something missing that should be there. There will be no more movie nights with popcorn, crisps and biscuits for a while now.

Anyway, Instagram is an application that smart phones and android phones such as Sony Erricson, and the iPhone have the ability to download if they are connected to the internet. It gives the owner of the phone the creativity to make photographs of anything and everything they see. However, you will be able to notice a huge difference in the quality of the images that both of these products produce. External from photographers, some people merely want to 'snap' away the things that they see daily, and are not bothered about the quality of the images. The ability to produce photographs using smart phones has defiantly seen a high increase recently due to the technology that is becoming available to all. According to during September 2012, the iPhone 5 sold 5,150,000 phones.

As a photographer, this figure might tell me that a large majority of the public have now started to use their phone as their primary camera. Some even class themselves as a 'photographer' after a few images of leaves, or cups of tea. It is becoming very hard to break into the industry with so many people claiming themselves to be photographers, and wanting experience when their portfolio is merely built on Instagram images. Instagram is dangerous in this respect as it is putting a huge demand on photographers as a whole unit. In exhibitions, you will probably see signs stating 'no photographs', however, these 'photographers' tend to ignore these signs and take images anyway. If a real photographer were to take their camera out of its bag, would they also get ignored making images? Or would they get told off as the security guard would be able to see their image making equipment plan in sight? However, Instagram also has its advantages, it is fun to experiment with the different filters that you can add to your images, but I believe that as a photographer, these photographs will not be taken as seriously as images that are made using a digital DSLR and will be taken no further than social networking sites. I believe that there is a time and a place to make Instagram images.

I thought that I would show you a few snaps...

The image on the left was taken by my boyfriend, Dave, of my hair yesterday when we went exploring in Newport. It was taken using an iPhone 5. I added the 'Rise' filter to this photograph. (Please ignore the bottles, and the fact that I was networking at the time of this image). The image on the right was taken around an hour ago using a Sony Erricson Xperia-Ray. I added the 'Amaro' filter to this image. I wanted to document the little note that my boyfriend had left for me just before he left this afternoon. It is the little things that make me smile, and seeing this note will always have that affect.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Newport, South Wales

So today my boyfriend and I decided to visit Newport in South Wales after I had received my grades from my latest university project. The main centre of Newport is around a fifteen minute bus journey on route 27 from Caerleon Campus. Caerleon is a very beautiful and peaceful village, and during recent visits from my boyfriend we have visited most of the attractions and things to see including the Roman Remains and the Amphitheatre.

Newport City is a very interesting place to visit, both for its positives, but also for its negatives. It is renowned for its variety of night clubs including 'Delilahs' and 'Revolution' which both supply cheap alcohol on a Wednesday night for students 'student night'. A few months ago Newport was the main subject of a television documentary program entitled "Bouncers" on Channel 4. The documentary showcased Newport's night life in a very negative, but also truthful manner. People drinking, being sick, and starting fights due to a different state of mind. However, on the other hand, Wales have produced a number of successful talents including Katherine Jenkins (Singer), Tom Jones (Singer), Catherine Zeta Jones (Actor), Newport County AFC (Blue Square Bet Premier League) and Newport Gwent Dragons (Rabo Direct Pro 12).

Anyway, we did a bit of window shopping and stopped for some lunch, and then went exploring. I soon picked up on the fact that a lot of shops have now closed down, gone into administration (HMV, Commercial Street) or gone into liquidation. I decided to document the numerous amount of shops that have received this treatment as a large majority of the shops everywhere are quickly disappearing so this is a matter that the public are now having to deal with on a daily basis.

The photograph to the left is the last remains presence of Internactionale, Commercial Street as the shop was empty. The shop is positioned to the left of Starbucks, a well known international coffee company.
The photograph to the right is Topman. The sign states that it will close on the 17th March, however the shop was already empty and abandoned.

The two photographs below are signs that were stuck to one of the Sports Direct windows. Sports Direct is positioned on Commercial Street around a five minute walk from the Kingsway Shopping Centre.

I enjoyed making these images, but it does make me question the position of the society that we live in today.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013


So at the moment my life is a bit of a whirlwind. One minute it is up, and the next it's down. It's pretty hard to keep my head in the game, but I've got my goal in sight, and I know that good things come to those who wait. One project that I am going to start working on is 'Solex Photography'. The project is a collaboration between myself and a fellow class mate and photographer Alex Compton. Solex Photography will be offering reasonably priced studio shoots in Caerleon, Newport. Alongside this project I am also contemplating starting my own business as a self employed photographer 'Sophie Elbourn Photography'. I have already started throwing myself into the business world after my father kindly purchased some business books for me.
The BFP Freelance Photography Course (left) explains more about the practical side of photography, but it is useful. The Freelance Photographer's Market Handbook 2013 29th Edition (right) is a very interesting and useful book to have as a freelance photographer. It contains names, numbers, and addresses of a large majority of businesses ranging from fashion, to sports, to newspapers, to scientific. The format is easy to read, and if you know what you are looking for, then it is very easy to read.

I know that going into business will be hard due to the current economic climate and the increasing number of the public who have named themselves to be a photographer. This, I believe, is due to the invention of high definition cameras that have manufactured into smart phones such as the iPhone. The public now have the ability to photograph anything that they want too, and the invention of Instagram isn't helping either. The world of photography is a difficult nut to break, but I have so much drive to break it. I have the ability and skills needed to compete, and even though I acquire these things, I will forever be learning new techniques, and much more in the sports field. I have to form a plan of action consisting of a business plan, a large depth of knowledge involved in the business, each spread sheet, cash flow forecast, each little detail, but I'm prepared and willing to make this work.

Sunday, 27 January 2013


So this evening I got driven back to Newport, South Wales. Driven back to the sauna of a box that the accommodation office call 'halls of residence'. My room is 23 degrees and that is without the heating turned on, it's obscene. I have so much photography equipment, darkroom equipment and photography books to try to organise, it's like trying to put together a puzzle, everything has to be in the right place in order for it to work, however in my case, everything has to be in a certain place in order for my room to seem bigger. You see my room is smaller than your average bedroom, and that is including a bathroom.

Enough rambling about my university accommodation now. The BIG NEWS that I have been wanting to share with you all day is:
I have now decided to start collaborating with one of my fellow class mates; Alex Compton. I can't wait to get stuck into this project. I first met Alex back in September 2012 when we both started on the BA (Hons) Documentary Photography degree at the University of Wales, Newport. She returned to Newport after studying on a Foundation Degree course where she produced a large diversity of photographic work ranging from recreating Sally Mann's work (one of her favourite photographers) to fashion shoots. If I could describe Alex in three words it would be:
Short. Creative. Artistic.
Alex has a brilliant eye for detail, especially when it comes to drawing, one of her many creative talents. I believe that in her drawings the viewer can really understand how much time and effort has gone into producing such beautiful pieces. The image below is a photograph of a project that took her over a year to complete, it's absolutely magnificent. 
Every little detail has helped to make this piece of work beautiful, from its originality, to the different shades involved. Some people have the ability to produce breathtaking drawings, and I think that Alex is one of them.

Alex has assisted me on many studio shoots before, and it is safe to say that without her, my work would not have been as outstanding and strong as it was. She has a great understanding of studio lighting, both on location and in a controlled environment. So we have now decided to combine our knowledge and abilities together and start collaborating on studio shoots that will be based in Caerleon, Newport, and hopefully our business will be able to branch out in the future. Our business is offering studio shoots at very reasonable prices.

Please have a look at Alex's website to view her collection of photographic work: it is still work in progress at the moment, but she is currently working towards finishing her website alongside our academic work.

To book a shoot please contact either myself or Alex via Twitter or email: or

Thank you very much.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Sky Dive

On the 10th February 2013 I will be attending a sky dive both as a photographer and as a individual. I know that it is going to be one of the most nerve racking events that I will ever have the opportunity to photograph, so I am looking forward to the adrenaline rush. You see, the reason why it is going to be so incredibly nerve racking for me, is because my wonderful other half, and the main subject of yesterday's blog post, Dave Wheatley, will be jumping 15,000 feet out of an aeroplane along with some of his fellow team mates, Gavin Foster, Lewin Cohen, Ash Hill and Matt Hyde. All of these boys play for Wells RFC, and they are taking an amazing opportunity to try to raise as much money as possible. An opportunity that they may never get again, an opportunity that will give them butterflies, make them anxious, excited, scared, but most of all, it is an opportunity that they can share and experience with their family and friends, and have photographically recorded through varies devices.

At the moment, as it stands Wells RFC has 250 junior members and only two pitches to use, so when the season turns to winter, or the weather turns sour - as it normally does in England - training, and matches are normally suspended. The club would like to raise as much money as they can in order to create a new club house with more changing rooms and additional pitches. Wells RFC are becoming more well known with each match that they play, last year, in May 2012, they were successful in playing at Twickenham Stadium against Wath-Upon-Dearne. With each match the players put as much energy into the game as they possible can, together they are united and very strong. The money raised will not only go towards the development funds for the club, but Wells RFC will also be donating a portion of all money raised to Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance.

So please spread the word, and if you have a few spare pennies lying around, then please donate. The club are grateful to receive any donation, whether it be small or large.

Please donate here:
The club also have a Facebook group for more information:

Thank you in advance.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Work Experience/Internships

Tonight I thought that I would write a blog post about my experiences with looking, and applying for some work experience, or an internship in the photography world.

Looking for this type of work, and experience is far from easy, it takes a lot of hard work, research and networking to find things that are appropriate for you to apply for. It isn't as simple as typing a few words into Google and hoping for the best, you have to research different websites, different photographers work, their companies, their team, every little detail. You have to be able to understand the nature of their photography business and what they strive on achieving in order to ask yourself whether they might be interested in the abilities that you own. I knew that applying for work experience or an internship wouldn't be easy before I even started, as I know from experience that a lot of newspapers now use freelance photographers who work from home due to the current economy and recession, but I wanted to throw myself into the deep end and swim. I am determined to achieve it, and I know that I will be able too. I have a lot of ambition, and drive and I know that having this type of experience would be challenging, but I also know that it would be the most rewarding experience that I could ever have, so I don't plan on giving up anytime soon. Whenever I meet new photographers, I always learn something new about them, whether that be about how they found their love for picture making, or their style. I love learning new things, and I don't think that I will ever stop. 'You learn something new every day' as the saying goes.

Most photographers don't know their timetable one week to the next so that puts a massive strain on achieving such experience and work. Being a photographer isn't a 9am to 5pm job, it is a job that challenges your ability to produce photographs in the most difficult of situations. Your heart and sole has to be put into the hours as they are sometimes long and tiring, but to me, every challenge that I overcome turns me into a stronger photographer. I strive on finding challenges, and breaking them down little by little in order to accomplish them. Festival photographers normally work from the early hours of one morning, to the early hours of the next producing work. 

At such a young age I have already been so incredibly fortunate to have experience such amazing things, and I plan on achieving many more of my life ambitions yet.

If any photographers or anyone else know of any photography related work, work experience or internships available within the photography world, please send me an email on:

Watch this space.

The Day I Fell In Love With A Full Back

I thought that I would try to write a personal blog this time. Lets see how it goes...

Please let me introduce you to David Wheatley 'Wheatos'. My best friend, my boyfriend, my one and only. I know that it is very cliché to write a blog about your loved ones, and normally it is something that we see fair and few in between, but today is just one of those days. One of those days where you just need a cup of tea, some biscuits and a good heart to heart. So I thought that I would try to write a post about how bigger part of my life Dave is now, but I highly doubt that these words will ever come close to explaining it. 

I first met Dave two years ago, and since then we've been pretty much inseparable. Not clingy inseparable, just best friend inseparable. Love is a very powerful word. A word that is stronger than any word in the English dictionary, but I will never forget the day that I said 'I love you'. I've never met someone like Dave before, he's the 'perfect guy', minus how annoying he is sometimes, but then again he is a man and they're never perfect, are they? We squabble like Ben & Jerry, but then again a relationship wouldn't be a true relationship if there was no squabbling involved, that would be an untrue relationship I believe. He is the most clumsiest, most softest, most loveable rugby player that I have met, the little things that he does just justify this statement. He boought me an pink Orchid for when I returned to university back in September as he wanted it to remind me of him. He could have bought me some other flowers like roses, but no other flowers could compare to an Orchid. Its beauty, life span and originality are defiantly miles ahead of the rest. We've had many events, day trips out and special occasions, the majority of which have been recorded photographically of course. Looking back at them now, I defiantly have my favourites. 

I have learnt so much about rugby since we have been together, he's a full back for a local rugby team, very clumsy as he may be, he is very good at what he does. At 6"1 and a bit (he doesn't like being called 6"2) he's very much miles above me, but he is a true gentleman. I don't think that he understands how much he means to me sometimes, he's very silly in that respect, but he means the world to me. He is currently helping me kick a very bad habit that I have had ever since I was a child, no matter how annoying the habit may be to him, he is helping me get rid of it, and I'm very close. I can honestly say that I highly doubt that I would be close to kicking it if it wasn't for him.

I could probably write about how important Dave is to me, but I don't think a post could really explain it. It is actions that speak louder than words after all.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for being you my handsome giant, and for everything.

Te Amo, Always x

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


So I was finally ready to publish my website this evening, it has only taken me the best part of two days (and counting) but as the saying goes 'good things come to those who wait'. Making a website is definitely not as easy as I had first anticipated, I thought that it was going to be easy, but when it came down to producing it, it was nowhere near as easy as I thought, and hoped, that it was going to be. There was codes, analytics, search engine optizimations, layouts, picture sizes, every single section of my website needed a lot of thought and attention put into it, and even more so with me being the picky and precise individual that I am.

I had uploaded the majority of the photographs yesterday, so today my main objective was to concentrate on the minor details of the website, the text style, size, picture size and sequence. With each sequence of images I wanted them to flow without there being any 'block images', so I had to preview the website several times in order to see that what I was producing worked well together. To some people the major pieces of websites are more important, but to me I prefer to concentrate on the minor things. I have to be interested in a font type of a website in order to retain my attention, otherwise I will loose interest. I have very high standards when it comes to presenting my work to the world.

My laptop and I have become best friends recently, I have spent more time looking at images and making sure that they are the correct size and format than I have done in some time. Recently I have made over 1,000 images of the snow and weather so you can only begin to imagine how hard it was for me to narrow the selection down to just a handful, but this is a quality that I have gained recently. The best, and worst part of being a photographer is that you have to narrow down your work, not matter how much you make, in order to submit your best few, but these best few will no doubt be used several times over time.

Anyway here's a quick snap from my website... 
The mighty Professor Green. 
This image was made during his performance at Pilton Party 2012 which was held at Pilton, Somerset. This was the second time that I had the privilege of photographing 'Pro Green' in 2012, the first time being at T4 On The Beach. If you haven't seen him live and you like his music, I would definitely recommend it.

If you have some time, I would really appreciate if you could have a look at my website: Sophie Elbourn Photography

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


So today has consisted of spending some quality time with my loved ones, making photographs, contacting and updating my blog and website, but this evening has been a whole different story.

At the moment I am feeling so incredibly motivated to finally finish making my website and publishing it online once and for all. I have tried before to make a website, but unfortunately due to other commitments I was unable to see it through, but this time I have so much drive to finish it and see it go live. So this evening I concentrated on the layout of my website and making sure that it was precisely how I would like it to be (I am very picky!) and uploading photographs and text to explain who I am, my portfolio of images, and the recent work that I have been making. Making a website is a lot harder than I first anticipated, I naively thought that it was going to be easy, but it is far from it. A lot of thought has gone in to each individual part of my website, from the layout, to the text font and size. To some people the font size and text might not be seen as important, but to me as a photographer, it is incredibly important. Each part of my website reflects who I am as an individual, and as a photographer.

It is now 23:24pm and I have been working on my website for at least three hours. I have managed to finish the majority of the content, but tomorrow I am planning to work on a few of the minor pieces that are involved, such as the layout of the images, how many images on each page, and my bio. I will probably keep my bio to a minimum, as I like my work to speak for itself, not for me to speak for it.

Watch this space. More tomorrow. 

More Snow...

Late this afternoon/early evening it started lightly snowing and become increasingly heavier as time went on. It wasn't surprising as Somerset and South Wales have both received amber weather warnings, with there potentially being up to 10cm of snow overnight. People were very sceptical of this statement as a lot of opinions have recently been aired.

I have seen a lot of snow images, some better than others, but it is the more artistic and original ones that have caught my eye. It is the ones where the photographer has captured the snow falling that my eye has been drawn to, so I thought that I would give it a go during the heaviest period of the snow fall this evening. It was far more difficult than people first interpret as without knowing, the snow falls much faster than the human eye can see. The contrast between the night sky and the brightness of the snow flakes made capturing the moment a bit easier, but still it challenged my ability as a photographer.

My hometown has never looked more peaceful...


These images are far from my usual approach to making snow images, but hopefully I will have more opportunities to make snow images during the 'big freeze'. Snow doesn't prevent anyone from making photographs, it creates new opportunities.

Monday, 21 January 2013

A Snowy Start To The Year... And My Blog

I needed to start documenting my adventures and telling the readers all about my journey. So this is just the beginning...
Yesterday my mother drove us through '9 Squares' forest on the way back home, and we decided to stop at the 'Forest Lodge'. 'Forest Lodge' is a little forest by our hometown with lots of different viewpoints and photographic opportunities which is situated around ten minutes from Street, Somerset. 
The viewpoints were breathtaking from the very edge of the forest as the stretched as far as the eye could see. It was outstanding how a few inches of snow could have such a dramatic impact on the beauty of the landscape.
The image below is one of my favourite images from the forest. Sometimes the best photographs that can be achieved are made through unusual angles such as this one. I have been wanting to make an image like this for sometime where the eye is drawn to the middle of the image by the darkened branches. 
If you haven't been there already, I would definitely advise it before the snow totally disappears, it's a beautiful landscape.
It is not all the time that I am photographed making an image, but thank you to my mother for taking this quick snap.

I have also updated my Flickr page, so feel free to have a look: