THE MNY SPOTLIGHT
Sophie Kaye, Film Wedding & Editorial Photographer
This week we talked to Sophie Kaye, a NY Based film wedding & editorial photographer. We asked her all the questions you want to know, from defining her photography style to her favorite locations to shoot in NYC and beyond!
Tell us about yourself:
Hi! I am a film wedding & editorial photographer living with my sweet & crazy French Bulldog, Olive, in New York City. I began my career as a fashion photographer in college and worked at Teen Vogue for a year before branching off on my own. I went full time just after graduation and have been working in the industry ever since! I am a huge fan of museums and travel, and spend as much time as I can soaking in inspiration through art and history (mostly virtually now, given Covid craziness).
How did you get into photography? What made you decide to focus on bridal and weddings specifically?
I started getting interested in photography when I was 16 and have been in love since then. I focused on family portraits for about 8 years before starting to shoot NYFW for a couple commercial clients. That led to shooting bridal fashion week, which I fell head over heels for. Family photography has such close ties to weddings given the age group, that all of a sudden I was shooting small weddings and fashion events - which I realized was my serious love in the photography world. I'm still happily shooting both today.
What goes into planning a Wedding photoshoot?
Wedding styled shoots are wonderful ways to connect with potential clients and others in the industry. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have been involved in so many styled shoots early on in my career, it really helped identify and curate the work I wanted to show couples and clients. Assembling a solid team of vendors you admire is probably the most important step. I like to be inspired by everyone involved in a photoshoot - it creates better work and more unique images. It's always cool to brainstorm ideas with florists, stylists, or designers to get input on how they would like to see their creations photographed and shown. I hire both professional models and real couples for my shoots depending on what we're going for. There's a lot of work leading up to the actual shoot day in terms of planning & design, but seeing the end result is always worth it.
Are there any styles/photographers that have inspired your work?
Oh absolutely! I love looking at other photographers work for inspiration. Paolo Roversi, Erich McVey, Laura Gordon, and Tim Walker are some of my very favorites. I love photographers who also have some sort of fashion element in their work, since I like including it in mine.
Where are some of your favorite locations to shoot in NYC and beyond?
I always joke that it's good I moved near Bethesda Terrace in central park, since about 90% of my couples choose it for their engagement session - but it is beautiful, so I get it! That and Bow Bridge are gorgeous spots that I love shooting at. I also love the streets of the Upper West and Upper East sides, with their beaux-arts architecture and white townhomes. Beyond NYC, I adore shooting in Ireland and France - two of my favorite countries with the most inspiring landscape and backdrops.
How would you describe your photoshoot aesthetic?
Fashion editorial inspired with an art history element. :)
In quarantine, many are looking to pick up new skills. Do you have any suggestions on how to get started with photography? What tips/tricks do you recommend to achieve a professional and creative look?
My advice is always to pick up a camera and take it with you on a walk. Playing around with actual equipment is so necessary when you're trying to get a feel of whether or not you enjoy taking pictures. Photograph your neighborhood, your family and friends, or your pets - things that inspire you. I'm a film photographer so I always recommend experimenting with different film stocks too. Shooting a scene on fuji 400h versus Kodak gold will give you vastly different results and can be super fun for people getting into photography. I love the tactile feel of film too, it's very mechanical and real feeling (changing the film, metering, exposure, etc) and I first fell in love with film photography. I didn't switch to digital until years later, and even now it's my last resort. Playing around with analog cameras is a great way to really test out the medium if you're wanting a new experience.
Have you had many brides postpone or cancel their weddings? If so, what is some advice you could give to other business owners or vendors on how to cope during this time?
Sadly, yes - and I feel for all of them. I've had 14 weddings postpone to next year, which is tough but I'm doing my best to be understanding and accommodating for every one of those couples. Thankfully they've all been the same towards me, and have gone above and beyond to check in, send payments early, or refer my name on to friends which has been amazing. I am really lucky to have such wonderful clients. :) The best advice I can give to business owners or vendors is to be open to a less traditional 2021. Allow couples a unique payment schedule, or be open to adjusting deadlines. As long as you can comfortably stay in business, people will need a bit of grace as we all navigate this strange time. Also - make sure you take time for yourself and do creative, exciting things. Taking small trips to cool places, visiting a museum for inspiration, or doing a styled shoot that allows you to expand your portfolio. This year has been so stressful and fractured, it's been wonderful getting together (safely!) and creating again.
What are some of our pieces that would be great for brides/bridal parties/mother-of-the-bride etc?
As mentioned, I love - love - fashion, so a company that prides itself on a "couture" aesthetic is so up my alley. For an engagement session i'd love a bride to wear the Pericon Midi in white/gold, Georgiana Gown in blue, or Puff Puff Dot Gown!! The Stella Metallic Chiffon in green would be a stunner for a MOH or mother of the bride, and i'd totally head to my honeymoon getaway in the Cha Cha tassel dress in blush.
What’s next for you?! What do you have planned for the 2021 Wedding season?
So many exciting things!! People are really in full swing with planning for 2021, which is wonderful. I have 23 weddings so far for next year, and so many of them are destination locations - I'm looking forward to heading to Ireland, Santa Barbara, Texas, New Orleans, Mexico, and more. I had to cancel both my workshops this year due to Covid so am hoping to get that back up and running for photographers in 2021. Spending these days totally looking towards the future and being excited about what's to come. :)