21-Year-Old Photographer Documents Taylor Swift

How’s this for an opening act to a photography career? 21-year-old photographer Emily Tebbetts enjoyed the opportunity of a lifetime when she won Sony’s “Up Close” contest and had the chance to spend the day as Taylor Swift’s personal photographer. She co-stars in a commercial featuring the 23-year-old singer/songwriter that has been airing since November.

Tebbetts was selected in a Sony Electronics contest that drew more than 2,800 applicants in the mere 80 hours the contest was live. After being voted through to the top 100 by her peers, Tebbetts was still standing as the pool was whittled down to the final five to be interviewed, Tebbetts’ name was the only one that appeared on each of the lists of Sony’s panel of judges, which included Sony Artisans of Imagery Matthew Jordan Smith, Brian Smith and Nigel Barker.

The self-taught photographer said the experience was invaluable. From seeing how an entire day of work is edited down to a 30-second commercial to working with professionals and observing how numerous moving pieces come together, Tebbetts, said working with Sony’s equipment was eye-opening as well.

While shooting the Grammy award winner, Tebbetts used Sony’s new NEX-5R camera, which she said was easy to use and just as sharp but much less bulky than her usual “huge” camera that can quickly become a literal pain in the neck. Since the commercial, Sony has continued to partner with Tebbetts by asking her to serve as a camera assistant for the hitRECord Tour, featuring actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Tebbetts has also had the chance to test drive some of Sony’s newest cameras, including the Sony A99.

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