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SUNSTUDIOS Rental Opening Hours

Sydney - 42 Maddox Street, Alexandria, NSW 2015
Monday - Friday 7:00am - 8:00pm
Saturday & Sunday 8:00am - 4:00pm
* Early times available on request.

Melbourne - 95 Buckhurst Street, South Melbourne, VIC, 3205
Monday - Friday 8:30am - 5:30pm
* Weekends & Early Weekday times available on request.

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Tips from SEPA Lifestyle Category Judges

Tips from SEPA Lifestyle Category Judges

Presenting handy tips and hints from the SUNSTUDIOS Emerging Photographer Award Lifestyle category judges.

Meet your judges for the Lifestyle category:

  • Shannon Stoddart, Managing Director, The Kitchen Creative
  • Liz Elton, Creative Director, Gourmet Traveller
  • Sarah Norris, Editor, Broadsheet Sydney

Shannon Stoddart


My current role is: Managing Director at The Kitchen Creative Management a Sydney based photography agency and production company.

Favourite campaign/shoot/assignment to date has been?

I have been a photography agent for 18 years and in that time I have had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of photographic briefs.  I don’t know if I have a favourite, there are many memorable jobs where I have had the opportunity to travel to wonderful destinations and work with great people.  If I had to name one it would probably be many years ago where we shot in Singapore, Miami and New York.  I liked it because it was a challenging job with lots of logistics but the thing that really made it memorable was the people.  We had a good client and a great team.  It was loads of fun.

Common rookie errors you see photographers make in pitches or when executing a given brief?

I often see photographers shooting and presenting work they think the client wants to see rather than shooting and presenting work that represents them as a photographer.  As a result, many photographers start to morph into one without their own stamp or identity. 

Any tips or hints you’d offer photographers shooting for your SEPA category at the moment?

Shoot what you love and don’t overthink it.   

What do you look for in a photographer when assigning commissioned work in your category?

I’m always looking for photographers with a unique talent and style.  Something different, identifiable, interesting. 

Dream shoot you’d like to work on in the future? Why?

It is always good to get a brief that suits a photographer’s style so the photographer can be who they are and do what they do best.  A dream shoot would be one where we get the opportunity to work closely with the client to craft the imagery as opposed to being told what to shoot and how to shoot it.  From a production perspective, I like jobs that require a lot of logistics and planning.  It is more challenging.  

About Shannon Stoddart:

Shannon Stoddart graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Business in 1993. She later worked as Marketing Development Manager for Holiday Inn Australasia before moving to Prada Australia as Manager of Information Systems.
In 2000 Shannon founded The Kitchen Creative Management; a Sydney based photographic agency and production company representing some of Australia’s leading fashion and advertising photographers. The Kitchen is responsible for the production and coordination of many multi-national campaigns and offers location and international clients a one-stop shop for all photographic production services.
In her capacity as a photographic agent, Shannon recognized a need for a solution that streamlines the licensing and management of licensed content. She subsequently founded Media Register, an image licensing software designed to assist photographers and clients to track and manage copyright. She continues to own and operate The Kitchen and shares her time between the day to day running of the agency and development of the Media Register website.

Liz Elton


My current role is: Creative Director, Gourmet Traveller

Favourite campaign/shoot/assignment to date has been?

My first cover shoot for Gourmet Traveller’s re-launch for the September 2017 issue. It was the first time I had the chance to help create a cover image that really spoke to the new and future aesthetic of the magazine.

Common rookie errors you see photographers make in pitches or when executing a given brief? 

Supplying a totally unedited shoot, or supplying raw, untreated files for editorial editing. Any submitted images should always, always be supplied looking their absolute best.

Any tips or hints you’d offer photographers shooting for your SEPA category at the moment? 

Send your work out into the world! Either send something physical in the mail, or send out an email. We can’t commission you if we don’t know you’re out there to commission! Let the quality of your work speak for you.

What do you look for in a photographer when assigning commissioned work in your category?

Someone with an innate talent for framing, crop and style, and photographers who have a way of capturing imagery that is unexpected and original. Travel photography in particular can look so clichéd if not shot well, so I am always looking for photographers who can find those unique and surprising points of view.

Dream shoot you’d like to work on in the future? Why? 

I’d love to work on a poolside summer food shoot for Gourmet that has a really seventies, Slim Aarons feel to it.

About Liz Elton:

Liz Elton is one of the most respected Creative Directors in the Australian magazine industry, having worked across a number of the country’s most prestigious titles in her fifteen year career. She began her working life as a junior designer on the launch of Pacific Magazines’ Total Girl, then went on to art direct TV Hits and Girlfriend, before moving to Bauer Media’s iconic CLEO Australia. After a period working as associate art director on madison magazine and creative director of marie claire Australia, she has been the creative director at Gourmet Traveller since May 2017.

Sarah Norris


My current role is:
Editor of Broadsheet Sydney.

Favourite campaign/shoot/assignment to date has been?

We recently published this: Creative Couples: Luke Currie Richardson and Elle Evangelista. I thought it captured this cute couple well.
Also, I love this opening photo. I so want to go and hang at a place where these lovely ladies are cooking food: Lankan Filling Station is Finally Open.
Finally, Jiwon did an amazing job of taking photos of a place that was completely empty: Yulli's Brew Opens a Vegan Taproom and Restaurant in Alexandria. You wouldn’t know.

Common rookie errors you see photographers make in pitches or when executing a given brief?

We have the luxury of an extensive photo gallery to accompany all our stories and it’s the way we draw our readers in. Photographers we like working with give us a sense of place, tell a story, capture the personality and life of a venue or a person. First-time photographers often don’t nail this.

Any tips or hints you’d offer photographers shooting for your SEPA category at the moment?

Know your medium well. I’d suggest rookie photographers should look at as much published stories as they can to see what works and doesn’t. For me at Broadsheet we run stories digitally and need them to work on social media. If you want to get in this field, have this in the back of your mind when shooting. You need close ups, wide shots and everything in between.

What do you look for in a photographer when assigning commissioned work in your category?

Someone who has a good eye and who knows how to capture new spaces that are often empty. Be creative – no one wants to see a story of a café that is full of empty chairs. Additionally, we look for people who can work on a quick turn-around, who can find those quirky angles and features, and who makes people feel comfortable in front of the camera. 

Dream shoot you’d like to work on in the future? Why?

Sydney is full of such amazing, interesting, quirky identities. A shoot where we included portraits of these people would be great.

Interested in entering the SUNSTUDIOS Emerging Photographers Award? Find details on how to enter here.