Born of a creative family, Sydney Coffman was destined to inherit those artistic genes. Her mother, Laura, is a painter, and her father, John, a woodworker. Her parents have always been her biggest supporters in any endeavor she decided to pursue.
A Timberville resident, Sydney graduated from Broadway High School in 2019, and studied at Bridgewater College for 2 years before taking a gap year. It was then she decided to concentrate on her photography.
She first got interested in photography after a friend and she were taking photos with her friend’s DSLR camera. As she tells, “It was early fall and I was in the 6th grade, and my best friend and I were taking photos of one another with her DSLR camera. The sun was starting to set, and we decided to try to take silhouette photos; to add a creative touch, we took a butterfly shaped hole puncher and cut out a bunch of tiny butterflies. We went to the top of the hill in front of her house, where we took turns tossing butterflies into the air and photographing one another while doing so. When we looked at the pictures, I admired the blackness of the hill against the tangerine sunset and the butterflies that hung glistening in the air. Not long after that, I found myself asking my parents for a DSLR of my own.”
Working on the school yearbook staff over the years, she became photography editor in her junior and senior years. Her fascination with portraits grew, and for extra money, she started doing senior portraits on the side.
Always entrepreneurial, Sydney has taken photos, created and sold notecards with her landscape photos, grown and sold creatively packaged succulent plants. Since her junior year, she has been seen behind the counter at JJ’s Soft Serve in Timberville. This spring will be her 5th year, working with JoAnn Campbell at the popular ice cream shop. Sydney and her mother Laura, plus several of her friends, are responsible for painting the colorful murals that cover the sides of JJs and Rhodes Seafood.
A self-taught photographer, who does all her own editing, Sydney honed her skills over the years serving on the yearbook staff. “I spent countless hours photographing sports events, classroom happenings, concerts, and other school functions- this was where I learned about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and how to effectively manipulate them. Photographing events for school differed greatly from taking portraits; though I had to adjust the same settings for both types of photography, I had much to learn about posing, prompts, composition, and other important details when it came to portraiture. Today, I still strive to keep elevating the quality of my work with every session.”
Her first camera was a Fujifilm Finepix point and shoot that she still has. Sydney is a fan of Nikon and has a D3200, D3400, and a D850 which is her go-to camera.
Although starting college had Sydney “neglecting her artistic side”, once she got into the swing of things, she started scheduling portrait sessions for high school seniors, couples, and families.
“September 21, 2020 was the first time in a year and a half, I experienced tranquility with a camera in my hand. It had taken me a year and a half to realize you can’t bury the best part of yourself and expect it to simply disappear; when I finally made that realization, I was immediately graced with unexpected opportunities and encouragement from my community. I sincerely believe my eye for photography is a God-given gift, and by utilizing that gift, I can help people relive their proudest and most cherished moments.”
Now an award winning and published photographer, she was first recognized in school, in the Drexel High School Photography Contest. Last year, Sydney’s work was sought out and featured in 2 portrait inspiration magazines, HAZL Magazine and DREAMY Magazine. She was also nominated in the DNR Best of the Valley Competition, and was one of the finalists. “Being recognized alongside some of the most talented and creative photographers in the area- photographers whose work I greatly admire – and being part of that group was a great honor. One thing I love about our community is its prioritization of small businesses, and I am forever grateful for the people who continue to support my artistry.”
Although the majority of Sydney’s work is outdoors in the country, she loves taking photographs in urban locations- “minimalist, urban areas; I’ll use every stairwell, parking deck, and string of lights to its full advantage.”
The specialties of Sydney Coffman Photography are senior portraits, couples, and families. She also loves photographing pets, and “helping small businesses showcase their products….local artists, farmers, and shop owners.”
As a local success, her story is just beginning. Sidney loves her home, her family, and her surroundings. The Shenandoah Valley is the backround and setting for most of her photography. It is where she finds her inspiration.
Follow her on Facebook and Instagram, and email her with any inquiries about setting up photo sessions.
FB- Sydney Coffman Photography
Email – email@example.com