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Check Out Sophie Thornhill’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sophie Thornhill.

Hi Sophie, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
As far as my hand-lettering/design business is concerned, it kind of fell into my lap! I started hand lettering for fun when I was super young & some friends saw me doing it, then asked if I’d be willing to design prints for their little home decor booth on Main Street. I believe I was 14 at the time. As time went on, those friends pulled back from their home decor booth & I ended up taking over with a booth of my own. That’s when A.M., Ink began, officially at least haha! I expanded beyond prints to yearly calendars & other complimentary products. My products are sold at happy camper clothing co on Main Street + Long Row Lavender out in Wright city. I do design work for both businesses as well! — it’s going strong to this day

As for photography, being a wedding photographer has been my goal since I was a… sophomore, maybe a freshman in high school. Somewhere around there. I’m definitely a creative-minded person — so the moment I found out that I could make a living taking pictures I was determined to make it happen. After saving pretty much everything I made for a year, I bought my first camera my junior year in high school. a few months later I had my senior pictures taken by a very successful wedding photographer… who kindly let me ask her every question in the book the entirety of our session together.

My senior pictures ended with me getting asked to be her second shooter in exchange for her helping me with my website & so began the beginning of my career! Courtney taught me everything I know about being a successful photographer & remains a dear friend. anywho — I second shot for her + a couple of other photographers for a year before booking my first solo wedding. that was three years ago! Since then my little side hustle of a photography business has turned into my full-time job.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I started hand-lettering right as the whole calligraphy/lettering trend was taking off.

With that came a lot of competitors & lots of copying — which is a very hard thing to take as a 14-year-old who was doing everything they could to make original art, haha. As time went on, I became so much more confident in my ability (that it would set me apart) & it became more about simultaneously sticking true to my style & adapting to trends as they came & went.

Photography is a very concentrated market, especially in St. Louis. Deciding to forgo college to pursue photography full time, before ever shooting a wedding, was a challenge all its own. Then came the whole “setting myself apart” bit haha

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
A. M., Ink is known most for my stickers + my yearly calendar drop! All of my products are originally designed & illustrated by me. It’s so fun to create whatever funny sticker/inside joke I think of & make it a joke with my followers like a big girls club. “Troy Bolton wouldn’t treat me like this” is probably my favorite — as a product of the High School Musical generation, it’s hilarious to plaster that phrase on any product I think of haha. my calendars, on the other hand, are completely different every year.

I usually use them as a way to set the tone for the products I plan to create for the year. One year it was “happy things” — every month was an illustration of something that made me happy. Another year, “words, weeds & wildflowers” merged my love for photography, wildflowers & graphic design. I’m so proud of every single calendar & how much I’ve grown as the years have passed. This will be my 5th year making a calendar & I’m hoping it’s my best yet.

Weddings are my main thing, but I shoot it all! Photography is so much less about the technicalities for me — I go completely off how the picture feels. I adapt my approach to my clients & what feels right for them, then I go from there! Since it’s such a creative process for me, I love having a variety of subjects. I also think the variety keeps me sharp for my weddings! I never want it to feel like I’m just checking the boxes for my couples.

Every single wedding & couple is unique & the way I document them should be no different. Experimenting with my work comes with every session — whether it’s a double exposure, blurry picture or two, funky angles, I could go on haha. The beauty of digital photography is that there’s no cost, besides allowing yourself to be a little uncomfortable, to stepping out of your creative bubble.

We’d love to hear what you think about risk-taking.
I think anytime someone goes out on their own to be a small business owner, it’s a major risk! so any decision you make to further that goal & dream counts, in my opinion. Investing in yourself is terrifying, especially if it’s before you’ve seen any income.

Pricing:

  • Calendars – $30
  • Stickers $3.50
  • Prints $12-$18
  • weddings — starting at $3300
  • Portrait/family sessions – $350+

Contact Info:

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1 Comment

  1. Carol Peterman

    August 31, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    Sophie you are so.gifted and wise.. your work is amazing…..
    You are amazing!..God Bless you!

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