Sam is a talented lifestyle and wedding photographer based in the Eastern Suburbs. She's worked with cult brands such as In Bed, The Beauty Chef and The Boathouse Group and is a "documenter of beauty & everyday life". I sat down with Sam to chat all things freelance, work/life balance and working with clients you love.
You’ve worked with cult brands like In Bed, The Beauty Chef and The Boat House group. How does it feel to work with clients that you know and love?
It's always been a little incentive for me with each year that passes, to work with brands and businesses I have admired for a long time. I like to think of it as a challenge to try and work with “…” in the coming year, and usually because I’ve articulated it and made it a goal, it seems more tangible. In saying that, there are definitely set backs, not hearing back from brands I love. In the end, it’s worth that small moment of vulnerability to meet and connect with new clients. I love the people I work with, I wouldn’t have my business if it wasn’t for there support.
For many years you juggled a part-time job with your freelance photography work. At what moment did you decide it was time to go all in?
I dabbled in fashion and family photography to begin with, alongside working my retail job at Aesop. For me, it really came down to choosing between working 30+ hours a week for x amount or winging it and potentially earning the same amount in 4 hours of shooting with the rest of the week free to edit at home. It's a huge gamble and creating relationships with clients you love and who support your business is essential to creating success. I feel very lucky for the relationships I have.
Your approach to photography is effortless and relaxed, I love that you describe yourself as a “documenter of beauty and everyday life”. Have you always worked with this style in mind?
For a long time I struggled with defining my “style” and feeling unique in a very image saturated industry and world. I think when I stopped trying so hard to achieve a certain look, I was able to let myself go a little and just embrace that each day is going to bring a different element to the images I take. Whether thats the lighting, the setting, the people or the mood. I’m not sure if I strive to be effortless and relaxed I think it may just come with trying a little less and just taking photos for the joy of it.
You regularly feature photographs of your beautiful home, what steps have you taken to create a space that fosters creativity and inspires you to work? Do you find it difficult to work from home at times?
I think I can blame the cleanliness and order of my home on my OCD. I sometimes let the home go a little wild and it crawls under my skin and everything about my week or day reflects back on the mess of my house. So having a neat, inspiring home is really important to me. I’m also a massive home body so working from home is bliss. I can write emails in my pjs, edit photos whilst binge watching Netflix and have lunch breaks down by the water, which is 10 meters from my house; it’s pretty awesome! I also think I’ve grown out of IKEA and I now love to invest in antique pieces that add character to my home. This helps me style the rest of the house using these pieces as a focal point.
"I think when I stopped trying so hard to achieve a certain look, I was able to let myself go a little and just embrace that each day is going to bring a different element to the images I take".
Can you let us in on your morning routine, How do you like to start your day?
I’m not too much of a routine girl but I usually roll out of bed and make a delicious banana smoothie with tons of yoghurt, then check my emails on my computer. I do a little work if I have a burst of energy, write a to-do list for the day, cuddle my cats and then get cracking with it.
Do you have any advice for other women looking to become a full-time freelance photographer?
Decide if you can handle inconsistent pay. One week you will be rich, the next a poor man. You'll also need to get used to keeping up with regular payments/business expenses with inconsistent pay, this has probably been the biggest challenge for me and running my business.
Finally, I’d love to know a woman who inspires you.
So many! I would have to say at the moment my friend Joanna Luhrs. We met while working at the pub together 4 years ago and pursued our freelance careers at the same time. She’s incredibly hard working, humble, generous and extremely talented. She has been flown to the Amalfi Coast, India and Uluru in the last year for work and its so inspiring. I hope one day, I can do the same.