Stella Scordellis is one incredible woman! When faced with adversity, she opened a studio! Here is her story…

September 10, 2019

Stella Scordellis is one incredible woman!  She had the drive and vision to make her photography business a huge success and at a time of adversity, providing her family with stability and security.  

Now after 23 years, Stella closes the door on her High Street studio.  Not to slow down, far from it, but to move onto other commissions and Formula 1 & 2, and to be a guest speaker on cruise ships, touring the world.  

Stella has so much energy, it was fun to hear her life story and its great to share it with you too.

RISE:  It is very exciting to have this opportunity to talk with you Stella.  Your career spans three decades, which is really impressive. How did you start out in photography?

I left school at 16, and served a 3-year apprenticeship at Handford Photography – a photographic studio where I learnt all aspects of photography, from the aesthetics to traditional photographic skills and techniques. 

In 1979 I was awarded a City and Guilds qualification in photography, which launched my freelance career for a few years before getting married and having a family.

My children would call SMS Creative Photography my fourth child!

Then unfortunately in 1993 my husband left .  I had three adorable children, but we were left to our own devices.  We had to move from our beautiful six bedroom home in Surrey to a two bed council flat.

RISE:  We’re so sorry to hear this.  

Don’t be, it pushed me to be the woman I am today, fiercely driven and focused.  I would shoot around 40 weddings a year with one camera and one light! My Hasselblad and 80mm f2.8 lens.

RISE:  When did you first open the doors to your high street studio?

In 1997!  My children would call SMS Creative Photography my fourth child!

RISE: I assume you were shooting on film too?  Did you develop your own film?

No!  I had to travel across two counties, both 30 minutes in the opposite direction from my studio.  One developer would work with my colour film, the other my black and white!  I would pick the kids up from school and hurtle across to the developers to pick up the negs!  My children loved me for it!!!

RISE:  How did you manage the transition from film to digital?

It was a dream!  In 2001 I made the transition across to digital.  At first I didn’t think the quality was as good as film, but it improved so quickly!  

RISE:  I guess you didn’t have to travel as much to collect your negatives?  

Well actually I did, but just to one printer, instead of two.  Then in 2006 I bought my in house printer, which was a complete game changer!

Definitely learn on film first.  It teaches you the fundamentals of photography and slows you down!  It is too easy to rattle off 100’s even 1000’s of raw files. Learning on film, teaches you to see both technically and creatively.

RISE:  There is a nostalgia using film, do you ever feel the need to go back to it?

NOT AT ALL!  (laughs) It made my life so much easier!  Not only that, but it increased my sales. In 2011 I bought a piece of software – PROSELECT a viewing platform to show customers their images with multiple display options.  It changed the way I worked and increased my revenue from hundreds to thousands overnight!

RISE:  Having gone through the transition from film to digital, what advice would you give our younger generation who are learning photography today?

Definitely learn on film first.  It teaches you the fundamentals of photography and slows you down!  It is too easy to rattle off 100’s even 1000’s of raw files. Learning on film, teaches you to see both technically and creatively.

RISE:  Working with families over the years has bought you fantastic opportunities outside social photography.  Tell us how you got into shoot cars and F1.

In 2012 a customer asked if I could photograph her husband’s classic car collection.  It was great fun I loved the discipline and the spontaneity which suited the way I work. He had such beautiful cars that he absolutely loved! So we set about creating a bespoke book for his birthday.

The book very quickly became a marketing tool and I found myself shooting more cars for more people.  Then in 2015 I was commissioned to shoot the “London Classic Car Show’’ . It just grew from there and then in 2018 I was commissioned to shoot in the pits and behind the scenes for the British Grand Prix and most recently for a television documentary about the up and coming Formula 2 drivers, the champions of tomorrow

RISE:  It just sounds so exciting!  And now you have the excitement of talking of world cruise coming up.  

Yes indeed.  And although I have closed my doors on my studio, I am still full on with work, it is just a lifestyle change.   I feel like I have just left Sixth Form! Having had the security and certainty of my studio, now moving into the big bad world, with all new expectations.  I still have my client database, that will never change, but now there is more opportunity for me to explore . 

RISE: Stella it has been lovely to hear your story and even more lovely to get to know you.  You are an incredibly driven and resilient woman and photographer. Thank you so much for your time, and best of luck on your new adventures.

Connect with Stella and see more of her beautiful work

www.stellascordellis.com

www.smscreativephotography.co.uk

instagram.com/stellascordellis

www.instagram.com/stellasms

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